#OfftoGermany Simran Chahal: A History Buff On A Political Expedition


The history buff, Simran Chahal is pursuing Honours in Social Science (majoring in History) from ISSER, PU. Being the only undergraduate among students doing Masters, Simran loves reading, especially historical works. Dance acts as her stress buster and meeting and interacting with new people is what she likes doing. Here she opens up about the Germany programme and how it materialized for her.

Q. What made you interested in this particular programme?

Actually, Prof. Sanjay Chaturvedi, who is a visiting professor at the University of Wurzburg in Germany, takes some classes at the Political Science department. He used to come for special lectures of geopolitics at our department. He is the one who encouraged me to apply, as the selection committee could take one student from graduation also. So I applied for the programme and submitted my CV and other required documents, and thankfully, got selected. But my selection process was a bit different than the others as the Director of my department nominated me as her choice. So it was up to the committee to choose either 5 of the students from the Political Science department or they could take 1 person from another department. So then they acknowledged me. I did not have to go through the interview process as the others did. I was saved from that!

Q. Having read about German politics, do you find any similarities between the political systems of India and Germany?

Incidentally, there is a professor Dr. Gisela Muller-Brandeck in the University of Wurzburg, she has visited PU twice. Both the times, I attended her lecture. One was about Germany itself and other was about Brexit and its impact on Germany, Europe and on India as well. After her lectures, I read about a lot of things, and that is how I have a fair bit of knowledge about Germany, but I will be reading more thoroughly about German politics now.  So currently, I cannot really comment on the question. However what I can say is that both the countries are really very open about making sure that everybody gets representation. I have noticed that in many countries, the political space is almost always dominated by one or two communities or groups. That doesn’t happen in Germany, from what I have gathered till now and also in India, we are making sure everyone is represented.

Q. What are you most looking forward to in Germany?

I am most excited about exploring all the monuments and things related to the World War as I am a history buff so I really like to look at everything taught in history, like the University itself. It is really old, so I am looking forward to seeing the architecture. Then obviously I am enthusiastic about interacting with the people and learning new things, new cultures, and their way of life.

Q. You have to write an essay on “How Germany has been seen and represented in Indian media?” What is your take on it?

One major thing I would try to really put across in my essay would be that how in Indian media; when I talk of media, I will divide it into two categories, one will be the popular media like TV and movies, while other will be the print media; so what is happening is that in print media, the main focus is just on their Chancellor and recently the focus has been the Indian PM’s meeting with the German Chancellor. So one of the things I’ll highlight is how we see Germany, i.e. we see it as a friend. But in popular media, and that is not just confined to India but everywhere, Germany is just associated with the Second World War. So I would try to say that the popular perception is that it was one country against the rest of the world in the World War. This is how Germany is generally portrayed.

Q. What are your future plans?

I’ll be taking up history in my 3rd year and I want to continue in history after this. However, you never know if my venture in Germany, in the department of political science and sociology, may completely change my frame of mind and I may end up doing something entirely different. But as of now, my plans are to pursue history.

We wish Simran the best of luck for this exciting journey!

Catch what Kamalpreet has to say next on #OfftoGermany.

This is our fourth release of the series #OfftoGermany dedicated to the five students of Panjab University who have got qualified to visit Germany.

About the Author:

Rupal Chopra (Dept of Economics)

Rupal Chopra (Dept of Economics)

A kaleidoscopic swirl of the luminous colours of happiness, adventure, humour, love, friendship and art is basically who I am, along with quite a strong wave of irony. Also, I am having an affair with my tv and a multitude of novels.



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