A Veritable Repository of Knowledge
One day in the rainy month of September (2005), when I was preparing my PhD thesis proposal and had newly acquired my Calcutta University Central Library membership card, I decided to have a look at an actual PhD thesis. I went to the top floor of the Central Library, which then housed the theses collection, and was asked to select the name of a thesis from the catalogue. While browsing through the mammoth index I suddenly came across a familiar name – a name that I distinctly remembered I had heard in the university's staff room as well as seen in the online list of faculty members of the English Department. The name was Sinjini Bandyopadhyay and her thesis was titled "The Novels of Evelyn Waugh: The Art of Paradox". When I got the handsome copy of the thesis in my hands, it was less to get some critical insight into the works of the author of Brideshead Revisited than to have a visual and tactile feel of the hard-bound dissertation itself. That was my first acquaintance with a PhD thesis and the memory of it is still vivid.
Last year (2009) after I finished writing my PhD thesis, I again consulted a few theses from the same repository to garner some technical details. This time I had the online catalogue (http://www.caluniv.ac.in/opac/OPAC3.HTM) to search for the latest theses of the department. I found post-colonial explorations in Sujas Bhattacharya's thesis titled "The Fading of the 'Shadow Lines': Identity and the Fiction of Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and Bharati Mukherjee". I found feminist concerns in Nayna De's thesis titled "Real and Imagined Women in the Feminist Fiction of Virginia Woolf and Fay Weldon" (the thesis has a number of plates to make it visually rich). One of the latest theses submitted was rather interesting – it was Sanmita Ghosh's thesis titled "Enchanted Spaces: Representations of Female Domains in a Selection of Victorian Fairy Tales by Women Authors". But the one thesis that can vouch for the variety and the range of research work going on in the English Department was Burosib Dasgupta's thesis titled "New Media, New Poetics: The Changing Interface". It argues how the triple pillars of innovation - connectivity, hypertextuality, multimedia – have developed new media and a new society. It raises the question whether the new poetics of globalization, the public sphere and the internet is leading towards new forms of aesthetics.
Now when I am on the verge of appearing for my Viva, I expect my thesis to be added soon to this awe-inspiring storehouse of research work and hence I feel so privileged. Maybe someday some other researcher like me will consult my thesis in turn and feel much the same way as I feel now. I wish that future researcher all the best.
[Researchers can also consult http://indcat.inflibnet.ac.in/indcat/]