Header image        
line decor
line decor

Seminars & Conferences            HOME


"Locked in Growth Patterns: Revisiting land and disasters for the post-2015 Developmental Agenda for the Asia Pacific"

Network of Asia-Pacific Schools and Institutes of Public Administration and Governance (NAPSIPAG) is the only non-west governance research network in the Asia Pacific. It is located at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance but in consideration of the demand for interdisciplinary governance studies, it functions in collaboration with many other Centres from the School of Social Sciences, School of International Studies and some Science schools also. The three day (December, 7-9) conference of this Network organized at the JNU Convention centre has been a culmination  of the continuing efforts being made by the JNU and Asia-Pacific scholars since 2010 to create a platform of mutual learning amongst government, academia and community based organizations on issues of land and natural resources management.

The fundamental philosophy of the conference was to interrogate policies of consumerism and commoditization of nature which destroys the carrying capacity of land and water resources. The GNP/GDP based development has made the world more vulnerable to natural calamities, labeled "Natural" but mostly "manmade".

The organizing committee was drawn from various centres within JNU and several policy relevant institutes in Delhi. Prof. Mondira Dutta, Prof. Vaishna Narang, Prof. Susan Vishwanathan, Prof. Sachidanand Sinha, Prof. Bhupinder Zutshi and Prof. Saraswati Raju got together to design the framework of this interdisciplinary discourse on disasters. The Delhi based institutions which joined the organizing committee were the Haryana Institute of Public Administration (HIPA, Gurgaon), Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences (MoH,GoI), Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi University, Central Law University, Delhi, National Informatics Centre (NIC), Indian Institute of Public Administration and UNDP.

Hon'ble Minister of Rural Development Mr. Jairam Ramesh was the Chief Guest. Prof. S.K.Sopory gave the welcome address. The NAPSIPAG founder Dr. Jak Jabes gave away the awards for outstanding contribution to public administration practice and knowledge dissemination to Asian scholars and practitioners. Prof. C.P. Bhambhri, Distinguished Professor from JNU received the award from India along with Dr. K. Jay Kumar (IAS) who started the evaluation of best governance practices in government. From other Asian countries awards were received  by Dr. Md. Gazali Abas (Director, Economic Planing Unit, Prime Minister's Office, Malaysia), Prof. Agus Dwiyanto(Director,NIPA , Jakarta, Indonesia), Prof. Shamsur Rahman (Former Vice Chancellor Jat Iyo Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University at Trishal, Mymensigh, Bangladesh), Prof. Lalitha Fernando (University of Jayawardanepura), Mr. Raza Ahmad (Former ADB Governance Division, Manila), Prof. Eduardo Gonzalez (Asian Centre, University of Philippines, Manila),

Dr. Nivedita P. Haran (Addl. Chief Secretary, Kerala & Director General IMG), Prof. Shree Krishna Shrestha (Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal) and Prof. David Rosenbloom (American University, Washington DC) for his insightful critique of New Public Management as applied on Asian countries. The Young Scholar's award was given to Dr. Sylvia Yambem for having managed the network for a period of four years with exceptional competence, managerial skills and maturity. The Minister also launched the 'NAPSIPAG Young Scholars and Administrator's Forum' as a platform for  a more meaningful contribution of the young policy makers towards their land and people. 

The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Lise Grande released three books: "A Critical Impulse of e-Governance by Prof. Amita Singh (JNU), "Delhi by Heart" by Mr. Raza Ahmad Rumi (Pakistan) and 'Public Policy' by Prof. Sarfraz Khawaza.

Ms. Shandana Khan, CEO of Pakistan's largest community based organization, Rural Support Programme Network was the Guest of Honor. Prof. David Rosenbloom from the American University at Washington DC suggested the constitution of an appropriate administrative structure which could act as a vanguard of natural resources like land, rivers and forests. His Excellency Ambassador of Afghanistan Mr. Shaida Md. Abdali highlighted how ambassadors can play a guiding role in increased need for cooperation and partnerships to address cross border environmental contingencies and climate change impacts.

The conference had four plenary sessions. Justice Gita Mittal from the Delhi High Court was the key speaker in the first plenary. Co-speaker Mr. M.C.Mehta, the environmental lawyer and Dr. Nivedita P. Haran who was the administrator closely working to get the illegally occupied forest land vacated also spoke in this session.

The second plenary took place in the Rashtrapati Bhawan where the delegates could interact and participate in the innovative ICT arrangement. Mr. Suresh Yadav, (OSD) presented his work and responded to queries and questions.

The third plenary discussed the policies for disaster prevention and mitigation. Scholars from Japan, Bangladesh and Denmark and India presented papers. This session was Chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice Ms. Stuti Kakkar. The complete session planning and theme setting was done by Mr. Ajay Arora, a student from the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance.

The fourth plenary was on 'Technology based solutions for disaster mitigation and prevention". The session was Chaired by Mr. Puneet Sethi, CEO of the REI company. Mr. D.C.Mishra of NIC co-chaired the session.

This NAPSIPAG conference celebrated the 10th year of the existence of the network and more than 21 countries participated in it. 

The Valedictory Session was Chaired by the JNU Rector Prof. Sudha Pai. The Chief Guest was the Hon'ble Vice Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, Shri Shashidhar Reddy. The VC distributed prizes for the poster competition titled "LAND GRAB AND DISASTERS". The first prize – Rs.10,000/- was won by Dimple, Nandini, Nisha, Anuradha and Sonia from JDM College DU, Second Prize- Rs.8000/- won by Arpita Biswas of CESP, JNU and the two third prizes- Rs. 3000 each went to Shalini, Monika, Renu, Nehal and Karuna, Anisha, Neetu and Neha from DU. The VC  also released a book of NAPSIPAG scholars from Asia on CLIMATE CHANGE edited by Prof. Huong Ha from Singapore and Prof. Teknath Dhakal from Nepal.

Outcome of the conference:

The conference highlighted three main aspects:

  • The need for an interdisciplinary Asia-specific disaster studies centre at JNU
  • A new institutional design for convergence planning
  • The role of youth in creating networks  to conserve and protect the planet

The organizers placed on record the support that came in from UNDP, ICSSR and NDMA.  Her Excellency Madam Lise Grande's speech and knowledge management from the DG of IMG (Trivandrum) and Addl. Chief Secretary Kerala Dr. Nivedita P. Haran were much appreciated.

Amita Singh, Professor,
Centre for the Study of Law and Governance

National conference on "Pali and Indian Culture" from 22-23 March, 2014

Insightful debates and scholarly discussions were the prominent features of the two day National conference on "Pali and Indian culture" jointly organized by the Special centre for Sanskrit Studies, JNU and Indira Gandhi National centre for the Arts, New Delhi. The conference was held in JNU from 22 to 23 March, 2014 and Prof. C. Upender Rao, Professor in Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies was the Conference Director.

Inaugural session

The conference commenced with an 'Inaugural Session' on 22 March, 2014 that was chaired by the Vice-Chancellor of JNU, Prof. S. K. Sopory. Geshe Dorji Damdul, Director, Tibet House, Delhi was the Chief Guest on the occasion and Mrs. Dipali Khanna, member secretary of IGNCA was the guest of honour. Prof. Sopory in his inaugural speech expressed his delight over the conference. He said that the convening of a conference on Pali is a very innovative task and this was possible through the efforts of Prof. Rao from the Centre for Sanskrit Studies. He expressed his good wishes for the success of the conference. Prof. N. H. Samthani, former professor of Pali and the President Award winner in Pali delivered the keynote address. He said that merely becoming professor in a university is not enough; one has to work for the upliftment of ancient languages like Pali and Sanskrit and Prof. Rao is engaged in such a noble endeavour. Prof. Shashiprabha Kumar, Chairperson, Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, JNU welcomed the guests. Prof. Rao presented a detailed concept note of the conference. He said that Pali is our ancient language and an integral part of Indian cultural heritage. It is our duty to protect it. Hence a national conference is organized for the first time in JNU.

Mrs. Veena Joshi, Joint Secretary from IGNCA said that this conference was proposed by Prof. Upender Rao. A scholar in Pali and Sanskrit and understanding the depth of its subject. The IGNCA extended support for it. She said that one of the greatest contributions of Pali is the vast Theravada literature of early Buddhism. Geshe Dorji Damdul, Director, Tibet House, Delhi who was the Chief Guest on the occasion emphasized on the need for the implementation of the teachings of Buddha which are available in Pali. He said that Lord Buddha taught about the mind and several other interesting subjects. Mahamandaleshwar Swamy Dr. Gurusharananand ji from udasin karshni tradition, Mathura explained the need for Pali learning by giving deatailed notes of its grammar. Dr. Bachchan Kumar from south east-Asia wing of IGNCA delivered the vote of thanks. He said that this conference a brain-child of Prof. Rao was organized in a wonderful manner.

The conference was graced by renowned professors of Pali from all corners of India. Several dignitaries were present on the occasion among the audiences. Papers on themes varying from Dimensions in Pali language, Ethics in Pali Literature, Historical and Cultural perspectives of Pali Literature, Pali Literature and Social issues were presented in 17 sessions as a result of which an influential platform for discussion evolved and it is noteworthy that the scholars from different corners of the Nation presented their papers on several key issues of Pali.

Valedictory session

The valedictory session was chaired by Prof. Lokesh Chandra, former Member of Parliament and renowned scholar in Buddhism. Prof. Ramesh Kumar Pandey, V. C. of Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetham, Prof. N. H. Samthani and Special guest Mrs. Veena Joshi, Joint Secretary, IGNCA were also present. Scholars congratulated the participants on the success of the event.  Prof. C. Upender Rao expressed his optimism over the bright future of Pali studies in India.

A Pali movie screening on "Sharira dhatu vibhajanam" acted by Prof. C. Upender Rao was also held in the cultural programme. Dance performances by Ms. Shipra Singh, Ms. Dipika,

Ms. Sukanya and Mr. Partha Sarthi Sil made the occasion more graceful. Mantra and Stotra recitals by Rev. Panya Deepa, Rev. Chandrakirti, Ms. Niharika, Mr. Jatin, Ms. Yashoda, Mr. Deepro Chakraborty, Ms. Aparna Choudhary and Ms. Shipra Singh added a special charm to the event. Mr. V. S. Shukla from IGNCA delivered a delightful vote of thanks. He expressed his gratitude to JNU for organizing such a wonderful conference.

Plenary session

Following the proposal of Prof. Sanghasen Singh, the plenary session of the conference unanimously passed a resolution against the removal of Pali subject from UPSC mains. Prof. Rao said that any problem with the Pali syllabus could be sorted out, but the removal of the subject in totality was not acceptable. All delegates unanimously accepted the proposal and applauded the move. A decision has been taken to convey the resolution of the conference to the authorities in UPSC and other relevant departments in Govt. The conference concluded with the distribution of certificates.

Annu Sharma and Shagun Sinha
Research Scholar
Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies

CSSP Launches Open Access Audio Archive of Distinguished Lectures

The Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP) of SSS, JNU is pleased to announce the launching of web-based open access audio archive of distinguished lectures. This audio channel has included audio recordings of special lectures and interactive sessions by distinguished personalities, academics and thinkers. The collection in this audio channel will grow in the coming months and will include recorded lectures in interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research areas, and more particularly in the areas of science, technology and innovation (STS) studies. This open access audio channel is available at http://www.mixcloud.com/cssp_jnu/.

Anup Kumar Das
Documentation Officer
Centre for Studies in Science Policy, SSS

Fifth Prof. PN Srivastava Endowment Lecture on "Brains, Drains and Gains"

The Special Centre for Molecular Medicine (SCMM), JNU organized the Fifth Professor P.N. Srivastava Endowment Lecture on 4 April, 2014 at the JNU Convention Centre. The Lecture titled "Brains, Drains and Gains: Why the Successful Reinvention of Life Sciences Research in India Is Possible" was delivered by Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan. This lecture is organized annually by the university to pay tribute to Dr. P. N. Srivastava, former Prof. of JNU and renowned social scientist. Prof. S. K. Sopory, Vice Chancellor of JNU, in his welcome address welcomed Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan. Prof. Sudha Pai, Rector then formally introduced the speaker.

Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan is the Secretary in the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India and, and former Director of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the United Kingdom and recipient of the prestigious Infosys Prize in 2009 and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in 1998. He was conferred the honour of the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2013.

Prof. Raghavan started his lecture by introducing his experience with Indian institutions forging international collaborations and linkages for capability enhancement of Indian scientists. In many national laboratories, infrastructure comparable to those in western countries has been developed, particularly when it comes to collaboration with global science programmes. In his lecture, he narrated concepts of nature engineering. He opined "all life on earth is threaded together by common origins", namely, nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), shared cellular chemistry, cellular compartmentation and multicellularity. In this connection, he narrated Darwin's observations on finches, where beak size and shape (morphology) relate to the feeding habits of Darwin's finches. The speaker also wondered about nature's inordinate fondness for beetles, following their diversity in shape and size.

In this lecture, he mentioned how life scientists in Indian institutions are working in collaboration in thematic areas of nutrition, sanitation and foetal development. They primarily aim at identifying a sanitation value chain, focusing on the reinvention of a toilet programme for the masses. This toilet programme will bring practical solutions, which will be safe, affordable, appealing, user-centred and sustainable. He also analysed the need to move sanitation products and services to a higher scale for large and diversified populations. He concluded his lecture by emphasizing that life scientists should "grasp opportunities, be sceptical and self-critical, shun hubris, and collaborate with social scientists".

After his lecture, he interacted with JNU scholars in Q&A session. Prof. S.K. Sopory, Vice-Chancellor of JNU, chaired this lecture session. The lecture concluded with a vote of thanks by Prof. C.K. Mukhopadhyay of SCMM. The audio recording of this lecture is now available at www.mixcloud.com/cssp_jnu/, an open access audio channel maintained by the Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP), JNU. 

Anup Kumar Das
Documentation Officer
Centre for Studies in Science Policy, SSS

rqyukRed v/;;u ds cxSj Hkkjrh; lkfgR; dh dYiuk v/kwjh

fnukad 16&04&2014 dks t-us-fo ds Hkkjrh; Hkk"kk dsUæ ^Nk= ladk; lfefr* ds }kjk ÞHkkjrh; Hkk"kk vkSj lkfgR; ds chp rqyukRed v/;;u dh vko';drkß ij fopkj xks"Bh vk;ksftr fd;k x;kA bl fopkj xks"Bh esa Hkkx ysus okys oäkvksa esa tkus&ekus dfo&vkykspd v'kksd oktis;h rFkk

t-us-fo ds v/;kidksa esa M‚ nsosUæ pkScs] 'kQh vk;wc] v[kykd vkgku] xaxk lgk; eh.kk rFkk euthr c#ok FksA

v'kksd oktis;h us rqyukRed v/;;u dh vko';drk ij tksj+ nsrs gq, dgk fd rqyukRed lkfgR; dk mís'; lekurk ds lkFk&lkFk fHkUurk dk Hkh /;ku j[kukA ;fn lkfgR; esa ,drk ij dsoy tksM+ fn;k x;k rks çfrokn ds #i esa fHkUurk dk Hkh Loj mHkjsxk ;k vusdrk ij tksM+ fn;k x;k rks ,drk dk LojA blfy, rqyukRed lkfgR; esa ,drk vkSj vusdrk nksuksa dks leku #i ls LFkku feyuk pkfg,A rqyukRed lkfgR; ds v/;;u dh t:jr ij M‚ nsosUæ pkScs us dgk fd Hkfä dky esa ,d gh le; fgUnh esa dchj] lwj] rqylh] vlfe;k esa 'kadjnso] d'ehjh esa yynso] ey;kye esa csEeuk rFkk dUuM+ esa oklo tSls dfo;ksa us viuh&viuhs jpukvksa esa lekt ds fofHkUu leL;kvksa dks mBk;k FkkA lekt foKku ds v/;kid M‚ euthr c#ok us çxfr'khy ys[kd la?k ds  gokys ls dgk fd vle ds fo".kq çlkn jHkk us viuh jpukvksa esa vius {ks= dh leL;kvksa ds lkFk&lkFk iwjs Hkkjro"kZ dh leL;kvksa  dks LFkku fn;kA M‚ v[kykd vkgku us Qkjlh Hkk"kk dks Hkkjrh; Hkk"kkvksa dk vfHkUu vax ekuk rFkk e/;dkyhu lkfgR; ij Qkjlh Hkk"kk vkSj lkfgR; ds çHkko ls gesa voxr djk;kA M‚ 'kQh vk;wc us dgk fd orZeku le; esa fo'ks"k v/;;u dk çpyu pyk gS tcfd ,d O;fä de ls de rhu Hkk"kk,¡ vklkuh ls lh[k ldrk gSA vr% Nk=ksa dks viuh Hkk"kk lkfgR; ds lkFk vU; Hkk"kk lkfgR; dk rqyukRed v/;;u Hkh djuk pkfg,A fopkj xks"Bh dh ladYiuk dk ifjp; nsrs gq, M‚ xaxk lgk; eh.kk us dgk fd rqyukRed lkfgR; tSls egRoiw.kZ fo"k; ij ;g fopkj xks"Bh ,d egRoiw.kZ 'kq#vkr gSA bl çdkj ds vdknfed dk;ZØeksa dks fo'ofo|ky;ksa esa c<+kok feyuk pkfg,A fopkj xks"Bh dk la;kstu rFkk lapkyu Nk= ladk; lfefr ds lnL; eks- tkfgnqy nhoku us fd;k rFkk /kU;okn Kkiu iadt JhokLro us fd;kA

uhye.kh Hkkjrh] 'kks/k Nk=]
Hkkjrh; Hkk"kk dsUæ] tusfo

Lecture on "Digital Preservation and access to Manuscript Heritage of India"

An insightful and scholarly lecture entitled "Digital Preservation and Access to Manuscript Heritage of India: A Case Study of IGNCA, New Delhi" was delivered by Dr. Ramesh C Gaur, University Librarian, Jawaharlal Nehru University on 15 April, 2014 in the premises of the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, JNU under the supervision of program coordinator Dr. Sudhir Kumar Arya, Associate Professor, SCSS.

The program started with a welcome address and chaired by Prof. Shashi Prabha Kumar, Chairperson SCSS. The focus was on the Digital preservation and access to various manuscripts available all over India as well as in other foreign nations. Inclusive information about Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), its various divisions, its genesis constituted the preliminary part of the lecture.

A meticulous discussion was made on the initiatives taken by the IGNCA for the digitalization of Manuscripts, mainly the ones in Sanskrit under the National Manuscript Mission launched in February 2003 by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India with IGNCA as the National Nodal Agency. The objectives was to locate, catalogue, document and digitize the manuscripts, preserve and conserve them, promote ready access to theose manuscripts in print and electronic form, promote research and scholarship with the assistance of the Manuscript resource centres and the Manuscript conservation centres.

Dr. Gaur mentioned that the National Survey of Manuscripts estimated about 65 lakhs Manuscripts in India. By the initiative of National Manuscript Mission (NMM) more than 30 lakh Manuscripts have been documented and about 18 Lakh manuscripts have been made available with details of repository  to users for their reference on the  NMM official website- www.namami.org. 

In the concluding part of the lecture Dr. Ramesh C Gaur illustrated the various aspects, standards, methodology, future perspectives and reasons for the digitization of Manuscripts and effectively explained how one can access the microfilm/microfiche collection at the IGNCA and obtain the copy of manuscript with the permission of the concerned library from IGNCA Collection. Copies are being made available in Digital/ Microfilm / Print formats on minimum charges and consultation of all manuscripts available at the IGNCA Reference Library is free for all.

The lecture motivated the students to do research work on manuscripts available in innovative areas like- Architecture, Astronomy, Medical Science, Astrology etc. At the end of the program Prof. Shashi Prabha Kumar delivered the vote of thanks. Thus the event was very successful.

Annu Kumari, Research Scholar,
Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies

Naming the JNU SES Seminar Hall as Amrita Devi Bishnoi Hall, 22 April, 2014

School of Environmental Sciences (SES), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi celebrated the International Earth Day on 22 April, 2014 by dedicating the existing seminar room to Amrita Devi Bishnoi of the famed Bishnoi community from Rajasthan and naming it after her.

The event celebrated in the premises of the School began with the plantation of Khejri saplings, considered sacred in the Bishnoi community, in the SES Eco Garden by the Vice Chancellor Prof. S. K. Sopory, Rector Prof. Sudha Pai, Dean SES Prof A. K. Attri and the chief guest for the event Mr. Khamu Ram Bishnoi, accompanied by the faculty members, enthusiastic students and staff holding placards with slogans in their hands and enthusiasm in their hearts. This was followed by the ceremonious ribbon cutting and plaque unveiling ceremonies by the Vice Chancellor as a mark of respect to Amrita Devi Bishnoi. A historical figure not only among the Bishnois but also among many others inspired by her eco-conservation. She is known to have started the long legacy of Bishnoi communities sacrifices to save the planet. Speaking on the occasion, the Vice Chancellor said that such events not only raise awareness among our young students but also ignite the spark needed to fight for the safety of our planet, particularly at time when our planet needs us the most. He added that since the theme of the 'Earth Day 2014' is Green cities, safeguarding our environment should not be limited to just planting trees but should also include efforts to keep our cities clean and alive. The Rector further emphasized the need to understand and associate ourselves with the cultural and ecological philosophies of our enriched biodiversity and the role of women in helming environmental awareness in different sections of our society. The Dean of SES apprised the audience with the botanical and medicinal importance of the flora that the Bishnoi community have been constantly protecting and conserving selflessly. The event was fuelled with much inspiration when the invited speaker of the day, Mr. Khamu Ram Bishnoi, an active environmentalist from the Bishnoi community in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and a simple man with a strong will, spoke against the undue advantage that we have been constantly deriving from nature without paying back anything in return. He recounted inspiring tales to show his undying zeal for the environment and explained the ways in which his community has been involved in conservation, inspite of severe criticism from others. Hence there is a great need to address such issues at the grass root level. He urged the, students to not only come out of their comfort zone but to also have a perspective beyond the walls of the conference room.

Towards the end of the event, an SES student Miss Madhavi Jain presented her hand-made oil-on-canvas painting, depicting the supreme sacrifice of Amrita Devi Bishnoi. The chief guest Mr. Bishnoi was duly felicitated with a JNU souvenir and a shawl by the Vice Chancellor. As a mark of good will,

Mr. Bishnoi gifted a memorandum to the School containing the 29 principles that need to be adhered to be a Bishnoi. Finally, a vote of thanks by the convenor of the seminar committee,

Dr. Meenakshi Dua was proposed, with the hope that the legacy left behind by Amrita Devi Bishnoi shall be a constant source of inspiration for years to come for those committed to the cause of environmental protection.

Meenakshi Dua, Assistant Professor,
School of Environmental Sciences

Summary of Discussion on 'Nehru's Legacy after Fifty years'

To mark 50 years of the passing away of Jawaharlal Nehru, JNU Teachers Association organized a panel discussion on 27 May, 2014. It was chaired by Prof Sudha Pai, Rector, JNU and attended by about 100 academics, activists and students even though it was vacation time. Prof Arun Kumar, JNUTA President opened the proceedings arguing that this day had enormous symbolic significance since a new government under PM Modi was taking office and the Congress party which Nehru nurtured was at its lowest ebb. He argued that while Nehru set the framework for the building of a modern India during his lifetime, there was also a need to objectively assess his contributions since there was a growing body of people who blamed him for all the ills that afflict society. The truth lay somewhere in between. There were eight speakers who brought out the multi dimensionality of Nehru and how his vision went way beyond his time.

Sudha Pai questioned whether the Nehruvian project was a socialist one and whether it was based on borrowed ideas. She praised his leadership, the quest for scientific temper and his contribution to nation building but also wondered how the younger generation evaluated him. Sucheta Mahajan, a renowned historian who has worked on Nehru and the Indian National Congress pointed out that he was a great democrat and that his legacy continued to be with us. He saw the dangers of communalism for the budding country and did everything to check it. He followed Gandhi in this and was opposed to a Hindu state as well as a separate electorate and reservations for the minorities. He was a popular leader and a great orator and during the 1933 elections even though he was opposed to these ideas he travelled 80,000 km.

Om Thanvi, Editor, Jansatta, talked about Nehru's command over not only English but also Hindi. He pointed out that Nehru tried hard to resolve the vexed issue of national and official languages. There was a pluralistic approach and an attempt to promote language, literature and culture by setting up various institutions like the, Sahitya Academy. He was personally involved and knew the great writers and poets of his time like, Nirala and Mahadevi Verma. This was unlike the later Prime Ministers who had little feel for what was happening except in the film and entertainment world.

Muchkund Dube, the former Foreign Secretary, argued that the foreign policy framework had been largely inherited from Nehru. His foreign policy was based not only on the national interest but on the larger interest of humanity and he focussed on multilateral diplomacy. He was opposed to the capitalist world order which was unequal, exploitative and promoted hatred. He proposed a Federation of nations in the 1920s, much before the UN came into being. Again in 1948 he talked about a World Government. He saw the problems associated with the Cold War and the arms race. He was against nuclear testing and believed in Gandhi's idea of non-violence. Mr. Dube argued that we should not give up these ideas in spite of the world moving in the opposite direction.

T. K. Oommen, the renowned sociologist, argued that social transformation was difficult but Nehru attempted to bring in social transformation based on his idea of India as a diverse entity with unity in diversity. Both Hind Swaraj and Discovery of India pointed to the diversity of India and argued for its preservation. India is the only country with 22 official languages. Nehru was against the idea of one nation, one people and one culture which tends to exclude and homogenises. It was argued that the 2014 elections have weakened Nehru's Idea of India. He pointed to the different voting pattern in the North and West of India compared to the East and the South and how hindutava had been successfully propagated in the former areas which had an Indo-Aryan base.

Nitin Desai, former bureaucrat in the Government of India and the UN, discussed the difficulties of the 1950s when the nation was in its infancy and had to be stitched together. He argued that the heavy industry strategy was a way of achieving that by promoting inter connectedness in the nation. Further, independence had to be articulated in the real sense through following an independent policy in all matters like, foreign and economic policy and education and S&T. He argued that in the context of the 1950s what Nehru did was the best that was possible. He pointed out that the rate of economic growth during 1947 to 1950 was similar to that in other countries and diverged only later. Further, the later faster growth in India was based on the structures set up during Nehru's times. Nehru not only promoted major new institutions but also propagated rationality as opposed to religiosity.

N Panchapakeshan, retired Professor of Physics, pointed to Nehru as a complete man who was equally comfortable in the world of politics, literature and science. He had close links with Indian scientists of his time like, M. N. Saha, Kothari, Bhatnagar and Bhabha. He was concerned at the lack of talent in the Universities. He promoted the setting up of the various research laboratories and India's entry into frontier technologies like, nuclear and space. He made possible the green revolution. For him scientific temper was behavioural since it was linked to how things are done and why we should rise above superstition. He understood the limitations of science since it does not encompass the entire life.

R. S. Ghuman retired Prof. of economics from Punjabi University, Patiala, contextualized Nehru's policies and thought. He argued that colonization had left India as a backward and poor country which had to be rapidly developed and that is what Nehru tried. Keynesian policies were then in vogue and public sector was given a prominent role since the markets would not have delivered to the poor. He pointed to the Bombay Plan of 1944 where the industrialists themselves agreed to the creation of a large public sector. He argued that the Nehruvian economic policies were consensual.

This was followed by a few questions relating to why things did not work out and why Nehru was blamed by some. It was suggested that this was because of the lack of understanding of the context of post-independence India and the taking of a limited view of Nehru's actions and policies; he had to be seen in more holistic terms. Most suggested that the discussion was timely.

The Panel discussion ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair, speakers and the audience.

Arun Kumar, President,
JNU Teachers' Association


2005 Jawaharlal Nehru University. All rights reserved.
Phones: +91-11-26742676, 26742575, 26741557. Fax: 26742580
New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi 110067.