Psychology and Crime by Ms Sramana Majumdar

Criminal psychology sounds boring, I don’t want to attend the talk,” said no one ever. So it’s redundant to mention how the talk on Psychology and Crime by Ms Sramana Majumdar, a research scholar from Jamia Millia Islamia, was well attended.

The seminar room of the New Building packed when our esteemed speaker was introduced to us by the Secretary of our Union. Younger than what I think many of us expected, Ms Majumdar was friendly and sat only a few feet away from the first row of students. This informal style, coupled with her short self-introduction, only served to relax everyone further.

Most of us are enamoured with criminal psychology and criminology, but few are actually familiar with it. Ms Majumdar seemed aware of this, and kicked off the session with an informal and interactive Q-and-A session.  She addressed the common misconceptions about her field, and outlined what criminology entailed. She then proceeded to walk us all through the legal procedures involved in the investigation of crimes, as well as the basics of criminal law.

She went in a step-by-step manner, with patient explanations about how psychology was applicable in each stage. We covered not only legal psychology, but also about the working of the judicial process, the history behind certain laws, the use of psychology in criminal investigations, and many other exciting areas. Everyone’s interest was riveted on the array of topics being discussed—”truth serums” and “lie detectors” (or rather, “narcoanalysis” and “polygraph tests”, as our recently educated selves now know) were only the tip of a fascinating iceberg. We discussed profiling psychopathic murderers, brain imagining, police psychology—all which would turn those who missed the talk green with envy!

Ms Majumdar shared her personal experiences as well, adding a personal—and occasionally humorous—touch to the talk. (It’s doubtful that anyone will forget about story of the dacoit-turned-heroin-dealer in a hurry!) She connected well with the students, and patiently answered the many, many questions asked. (It seemed as if the hand-mic being circulated amongst the students was in an unending game of “passing the parcel”.) 

The discussion also took on a serious note when we moved on to discussing incarceration and juveniles. Our speaker shed light upon the conditions in jails and juvenile homes, and the desperate need for psychologists in these settings. A few students also posed some hard hitting questions related to this, and we discussed topics running parallel to many current societal issues.

As the hour progressed, all our misconceptions surrounding legal psychology were shot down one by one, and we learned the (no less interesting) reality of the field.  The talk was informal and comfortable, yet extremely informative. Students made full use of the freedom they had to ask questions—so much so that the talk ended up running late! Yet Ms Majumdar graciously consented to attending to the questions afterwards, much to our gratitude.

Ms Sramana Majumdar is a PhD holder who completed her Masters from the National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science. She was awarded a gold medal by the Ministry of Home Affairs as well, and is currently working at Jamia Millia Islamia. Despite this, she took the time out of her schedule to address a room full of enthusiastic girls this Wednesday—and it was much appreciated!

Reported By Tarang Kaur

Photos: Archisha Bhattacharjee

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