International Conference On "State and Democracy in India: Critical
Centre for Political Studies, School of Social sciences organized a two day
International Conference on March 23-24, 2006. The theme of the seminar
was State and Democracy in India: Critical Reflections. A number of
distinguished scholars participated and presented their papers in the
conference. In the welcome address, Prof Gurpreet Mahajan, Chairperson, Centre
for Political Studies (CPS), mentioned about the dynamic nature of the
discipline of Political Science as studied and taught at the Centre and
emphasized the need for developing critical perspectives on this subject.
The inaugural session was
chaired by Prof Andre Beteille, Chairman, ICSSR and Professor Emeritus, Delhi
School of Economics. In the inaugural address, Prof Amitabh Kundu, Dean,
School of Social Sciences, raised important sub-themes related to the broad
theme of the seminar and highlighted Indian State’s interventions in the
developmental agenda of the participatory democracy in contemporary India. Dr
Asha Sarangi, CPS and Convenor, introduced the theme, its objectives and
critical arenas to reflect upon. Dr Shefali Jha, CPS, presented vote of
The first session of the
conference focusing on Democracy as Theory and Practice had papers presented by
Rajeev Bhargava, Senior Fellow, CSDS, Delhi on Indian Democracy: A Deeply
Contested Idea? ; Bishnu Mohapatra, Program Officer, Ford Foundation, South Asia
Office, Delhi on Imbrications of Democracy and Nationalism: Issues and
Challenges, and Bimol Akoijam, Visiting Associate Fellow, CSDS, Delhi on Demos
and High Reason of State: A Social Psychology of the Political. The second
session on Social and Political Institutions and Democracy in India had papers
presented by Balveer Arora, CPS, on The Indian Federal State and Democracy: A
Multi-level Representation; E.Sreedharan, Director, University of
Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India, Delhi on Coalition
Politics in India Compared to the International Experience and Peter DeSouza,
Senior Fellow, CSDS, Delhi on Political Institutions, Trust and Democracy in
South Asia. The final session of the first day had panel discussion on Democracy
in India: Issues and Challenges with participation by Arjun Sengupta, SIS, and
currently, Member of the Parliament; Ashutosh Varshney, Department of Political
Science, University of Michigan and Dipankar Gupta, CSSS, JNU.
The second day of the
conference too had a number of very interesting papers. The fourth session
of the conference began with the theme of Law and the Democratic State which had
paper presentations by Ujjawal Singh, Department of Political Science, Delhi
University on Dilemmas of Procedural Legality: Reading Supreme Court Judgments
on Anti-Terror Laws, and Anita Tagore, M.Phil/Ph.D student, CPS, on Gendered
Identity and Rights in the Judiciary: A Case Study of Hindu Inheritance Law. It
was followed by the session on Democracy at Work: Cases from States and Regions
of India. The session had papers presented by Ananya Vajpeyi, Fellow,
Nehru Memorial and Museum Library, Delhi on The State of Exception: Bare Life in
Jammu and Kashmir; H.Kham Khan Suan, BHU, Varanasi on Stateness-
Democracy: Continuum in the Hill Areas of Manipur: Critical Reflections;
Dwaipayan Bhattacharya, Fellow, CSSS, Calcutta on Configuring Consensus in West
Bengal: Making Sense of Democracy from Field-Notes and Rajeshwari Deshpande,
Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Pune on
Limited Access to Democracy: Indian State in the 1990s. The last session
of the conference was on Identity Politics, Democracy and State in India with
papers presented by Alok Rai, Department of English Language and Literature,
Delhi University on Hindi and Democracy; Adnan Farooqui, M.Phil/Ph.d
student, CPS, on The Indian Electoral System and Muslim Representation; Manindra
Thakur, Fellow, Nehru Memorial and Museum Library, Delhi on Identity Politics
and Institutional Innovations and Valerian Rodrigues, CPS, on Democracy and
Higher Education in India. The conference ended with final vote of thank by Asha
Needless to say that the
conference debated and engaged with several important conceptual and empirical
issues to understand an extremely complex and important relationship between
state and democracy in modern India.
VC Speech delivered on 4 March, 2006
during University Court Meeting
I have great privilege to welcome all of you to the Thirty-fifth Meeting of the
Court. In particular, I extend a warm welcome to Chancellor, Dr. Karan Singh.
I am glad to say that during the current academic year, the University has not
only been able to fill in the seats meant for SC/ST students, but marginally
exceeded the statutory limit. The University has been able to attract more girls
and foreign students and admit more students from the rural areas. I must
mention that Biotechnology programme offered at JNU is rated as number one in
The student strength as on date is 5,264, representing 261 in part time
programmes of study in foreign languages, 595 in BA (Hons) of foreign languages,
1,526 pursuing Master’s degree and 2,882 pursuing research.
With the endowment from the State Government of Tamil Nadu and support
of the University Grants Commission, the University would be filling up the
faculty positions in Tamil studies and start offering teaching and research
either from the ensuing academic session or thereafter in the School of
Language, Literature and Culture Studies.
I was pleasantly surprised when I heard on joining JNU that the University had
approached the Korea Foundation to provide additional funds by way of endowment
as their earlier endowment (of US $ 42,000) was giving a return not sufficient
to meet the faculty salary and other expenditure, the Korea Foundation was more
than enthusiastic to give an additional endowment (of US $ 1,00,000). This is an
example as to how two autonomous bodies could cooperate with each other in
strengthening the bi-national relationship.
The School of Computer & Systems Sciences in gearing up to start a Master’s
degree programme in Statistical Computing, while the nascent School of
Information Technology is planning to start an M.Tech programme in Computational
and Systems Biology.
A School level programme on Programme for Studies in Discrimination and
Exclusion (PSDE) has been established in the School of Social Sciences. The
University has accepted the recommendations of the Academic Council for the
establishment of the North East India Studies Programme as an University level
programme. Initially the Dean School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies
will be coordinator of the Programme.
JNU has signed Memorandum of Understanding with 66 universities across the
globe, spread over twenty-eight countries, both developed and developing. Under
several MOUs, JNU exchanges students and teachers with partner countries for
collaborative courses and research, besides exchange of published documents.
Bilkent University, Tashkent has agreed to provide teacher to facilitate
initiating teaching and research in Turkish studies language programme in JNU.
JNU is one of the first few universities to receive the recognition of the
University with Potential of Excellence (UPOE) from the University Grants
Commission. Following is the brief description of progress made under this
* The University is creating research facilities and equipment in all Schools,
specifically major research equipment are being procured in the School of Life
Sciences and the Centre for Biotechnology.
* The University is also
supporting 43 research projects in all the Schools.
* All academic complexes are
being provided with back-up power supply.
* An air-conditioned building
for Animal House is also under construction.
* Earn As You Learn [EUL]
programme has been initiated for needy students and we have created 67
slots per year for this.
* Establishment of and
Intellectual Property Rights Cell (IPR Cell) is under advanced stage of
* A Lecture Hall Complex is
also under construction to facilitate integrated teaching.
* UPOE scheme also supports
publication activities of the faculty members, special innovative projects such
as (a) Programme for Studies in Discrimination and Exclusion (b) Digital Mapping
of Prehistoric Sites of the 2000 acre area in village Aihole in Karnataka and
(c) Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting, Check Dams
and New Sites for Ground Water Exploration in JNU Campus.
* UPOE scheme also plans to
support visiting scholars in the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Studies.
* The University is also
largely supporting the faculty members of various Schools and Centres in
organizing several national and international conferences and also several
outreach programmes, we have organized 18 conferences and 11 outreach programmes.
Various Schools and centers organized more than 200 conferences / workshops /
seminars / lectures during the 2004-2005.
JNU being the research university publications are a major activity of our
distinguished faculty members. All of us will be proud to note that during
2004-05 our faculty members have published about 555 research articles in
journals, 87 books and 224 chapters in books.
Some of our faculty members are Vice-Chancellors of academic institutions and a
few other academics are holding senior positions in the government. Some of them
* I am happy to report that one of our faculty members, Professor S.K. Thorat,
has been appointed as the Chairperson of the University Grants Commission.
* Professor S.D. Muni of the School of International Studies was conferred with
Sri Lanka Ratna by the Government of Sri Lanka in recognition of his
distinguished and meritorious services to Sri Lanka.
* Professor Kasturi Datta won
the FICCI award for R&D in Life Sciences, Agriculture and Biotechnology.
* Professor Brij Gopal is the
recipient of the Naumann Thienemann Medal 2004.
* Dr. Aparajit Chattopadhyay
received the prestigious Pablo Neruda Award, which was conferred by the
President of the Republic of Chile.
* Professor R. Madhubala was
awarded the Hari Om Trust J.C. Bose Award in the field of Life Sciences.
* Professor Dipankar Gupta has
been awarded the Malcolm Adiseshiah Award.
JNU has also the distinction in another way, that two of its alumnus is the
Vice-Chancellors of central universities. Professor Syed E. Hasnain, who is an
alumnus of the School of Life Sciences of JNU, is the Vice-Chancellor of the
University of Hyderabad and Professor Rajan G. Harshe, who is an alumnus of the
School of International Studies of JNU, is the Vice-Chancellor of the University
JNU is a unique university to set up an “Equal Opportunity Office”, the first of
its kind, to facilitate and monitor various needs of SC/ST and Physically
The University can be termed as Disabled-Friendly; it has constructed several
ramps at different places to facilitate free mobility of the disabled students.
The Library is also having special cell having computers and software’s for the
Visibly Challenged student.
JNU is the first University to institute GSCASH and the first committee
was set up as early as April, 1999. Many other Universities are taking the
GSCASH of the University as a model. We are in the process of fine tuning
the GSCASH rules and procedure.
H. E. Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, President of India and Visitor of the University
delivered a special lecture on “The evolution of enlightened citizen-centric
society” in the Campus on 12 January 2005.
Special Convocation: The University conferred an honorary degree Honoris causa
on HE Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius when he visited
Delhi/India in October 2005.
Annual Day and Unveiling of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’ Statue: On the occasion of
the Annual Day of the University, i.e. November 14, 2005, the Prime Minister of
India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, paid a visit to the University. During his visit, he
unveiled the statue of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Conference of Central Universities’ Vice-Chancellor: Under the auspices of
Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Third conference of the Vice-Chancellors of the
Central Universities was held on January 12-13, 2006. The Conference was
attended by eighteen vice-chancellor out of twenty-one central universities
besides a number of senior officials from the University Grants Commission and
the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Dr. Boutros Ghali, former Secretary-General, UN participated in a seminar on “UN
and current development in West Asia” on 7 February, 2005
President of Venezuela HE Mr. Hugo Elias Chavez Fria delivered a special lecture
on “The Challenges of Development in Latin America” on 4 March, 2005. Dr. Karan
Singh, Chancellor, JNU presided over the function.
Professor Giuliano Amato, Former Prime Minister of Italy delivered a talk on
“The EU at Twenty-Five and More: A major World Player and India” on 17 January,
Prime Minister of Netherlands HE Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende delivered a special
lecture on “ The European Union and India: Unity in Diversity” on 20
The Library is adopting Digital Library Technology in its operations.
Retro-conversion of books, journals of all languages including French, German,
Spanish, Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Hindi is in progress, and one can search all
these tittles on Web-OPAC of JNU Library. Under the UGC-INFONET E-journals
consortium, about 5,000 full text scholarly electronic journals from 25
publishers across the globe can be accessed. JSTOR an online archival journals
database for accessing back files of journals is available for the Campus
The University has invested considerable funds towards the e-governance project,
which is in a fairly advanced stage of implementation. Once the project is
completed (within a year), there will be considerable improvement not only from
the administrative angle, but also from the public perspective as the aspiring
candidates and others could access admission related issues besides the various
programmes of studies, courses offered in different semesters, etc. etc.
In conclusion, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Chancellor, Dr.
Karan Singh, the Hon’ble Members of Parliament, my distinguished academic
colleagues and officers of the University for their unstinted cooperation.
Seminar on "Cultures and Societies in Transition: India, Russia and other CIS
Countries" (February 8-10, 2006)
The last two decades have seen
a tremendous change in the world order. As political, economic and social change
sweep across the globe and geographical boundaries get redrawn, so are the
economic, social, and cultural boundaries, constantly changing. The term
’globalization’ acquires a meaning much beyond economics to represent the
globalization of culture and the search for and advent of a ’new’ culture or a
change in the established that many traditional societies, as well as those in a
state of dynamic flux, are sometimes silently and often turbulently witnessing.
As societies undergo transition, so does culture, both in its popular from and
in its deepest fabric.
The countries that formed the erstwhile Soviet Union a now constitute the CIS
have undergone tremendous geo-political, economic, social and cultural
transformation and India too has seen an enormous economic, technological and
socio- cultural change in the last decade and a half.
Keeping all this in the mind, the Centre of Russian Studies, School of Language,
Literature and Culture Studies, JNU in collaboration with the Indian Council for
Cultural Relations organized an International Seminar on Cultures and Societies
in Transition: India , Russia and other CIS Countries from 8-10 February 2006.
The importance and relevance of the Seminar is reflected in the observation of
H.E. Vyacheslav I. Trubnikov, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in India
that “the Seminar of this magnitude is a significant event indeed by its scope
and content: which territory-wise covers the vast region of Eurasia, time-wise
encompasses a crucial period full of dramatic changes and substantial
transformation, and subject-wise touches upon the core aspect of life culture,
which has impact on social transition and vice-versa, and society with its value
system, political, economy, security, ethnicity, identities, state and
governance etc. undergoing from time to time major and minor transformation.”
H.E. Mr. Kairat E. Umarov, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan lit the lamp to
inaugurate the seminar and in his inaugural address said that after the
disintegration of the USSR though the dramatic changes that the former Soviet
countries underwent brought hardships, they also brought new opportunities and
many of the CIS countries have recovered fast recorded high levels of economic
growth. Commenting on the issues of national and cultural identity and ethnicity
and socio-cultural transformation, he shared Kazakhstan’s success in securing
interethnic and inter-religious consent and harmony in a country having as many
as 130 ethnic groups and over 40 religious faiths. While wishing the Seminar
success he said that he was convinced that it would bring better understanding
of the CIS countries and help in bringing all closer.
The inauguration ceremony was presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. B.B.
Bhattacharya who also released the Seminar Souvenir and in his Presidential
Address praised the Centre of Russian Studies, for focusing through the seminar
theme on the human side of globalization and the rapid socio-cultural transition
that is occurring in the region. Other who were present at the inauguration and
spoke were H.E. Saktanbek Kadyraliev, Charge d” Affairs a.i. of the Kyrgyz
Republic to India; H.E. Prof. Sydakmal S. Saydaminov Charge d’ Affairs a.i. of
the Republic of Uzbekistan in India; H.E. Mr. Andrei Sorokin, Minister Counselor
and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in India;
and the Dean, SLL&CS, Prof. Amar Basu, and Chairperson of the CRS Prof. Sankar
Basu. Also present were Mr. Javanshir Majidov of the Embassy of the Republic of
Azerbaijan and Mr. Sadriddin Suyarov of the Embassy of the Republic of
With this backdrop the Seminar, which was a great success, provided the much
needed platform for nearly 150 scholars and experts from various regions to
meet, interact, share, exchange and deliberate. There were participants and
papers from India, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan,
Azerbaijan, Belarus, Iran, Turkey and Sri Lanka. Scholars representing fields as
diverse as history, economics, political science and international affairs,
philosophy, philology, archaeology, theology, behavioral sciences, culture
studies, mass media, cinema and theatre, made the seminar truly
multi-disciplinary in nature. With the confluence of so many different streams
at the seminar and the quality and intensity of ensuing discussions, it is
evident that the CRS has explored and expanded the horizons of conventional
language, literature and culture teaching.
There were over 70 presentations made in the 17 seminar sessions. Amongst
others, the sub themes and topics included: understanding the process of
socio-cultural transition, the impact of globalization on culture and the
dilemmas of nationalism and ethnocentricity in the era of globalization; issues
related to national and cultural identities, linguistic ethnicity,
ethnocentricity; cultural memory; society, religion and culture in the twenty
first century; cultural fusion, conflict, confluence and revivalism;
psychosocial aspects of socio-cultural transition; reforms; literature and art
in cultural dialogue, socio-cultural transition and Russian Literature, Russian
Language and the world today, language and education in the CIS today, and
globalization, socio- cultural transition and Hindi. The seminar concluded with
the valedictory address by the eminent scholar Prof. Purshottam Agarwal.
Other highlights were a Panel on Cultural Histories in the Making coordinated by
Dr. R. Mahalakshmi SSS, JNU; a Panel on India and CIS: Geopolitical and Socio
Economic Aspects, coordinated by Prof. Ajay Patnaik, SIS, JNU; and a Panel on
Social and Cultural Transition and the Mass Media led by Ms. Narayani Ganesh,
Times of India and Mr. Bal Mukund, Navbharat Times.
XIX Antonio Binimelis Memorial Lecture
(7 February 2006)
The Centre of Spanish Portuguese, Italian and Latin American Studies, School of
Language, Literature and Culture Studies organized a function on 7 Feburary 2006
to hold the XIX Antonio Binimelis Memorial Lecture. The lecture was delivered by
eminent Spanish academician Prof. Ramon Bassa i Martin from the Universitat de
les Illes Baleares, Palma, Spain on “The Shadow of the Elephant: Infuluences of
Indian Culture and Literature on Catalan Literature”. Preceding the lecture, a
book entitled Ramon Llull (S.XII-XIV) Mistic, filosof, literat (Una seleccio de
textos), edited by Prof. Ramon Bassa i Martin and rendered into Hindi by Dr.
Anil Dhingra and Dr. Prabhati Nautiyal was released by Professor B.B.
Bhattacharya, Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The function was attended by Professor B.B. Bhattacharya, Ms. Cristina Fraile,
Dy. Chief of Mission, who was the Chief Guest, Prof. Amar Basu, Dean, diplomats
from the Spanish speaking countries, faculty and students of the Centre and
(S.P. Ganguly, Chairperson, Centre of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian & Latin
Disability Act: Implementation and Implication
(7 February 2006)
A Workshop on Mass senitization and sincere struggle for equal rights for the
physically and mentally challenged was organized by JNU Disabled Persons
Association (JNUDPA) in collaboration with Association of Social Research &
Action (ASRA) on 7 February, 2006. The emancipation and equal participation in
the mainstream of about 5-6 percent of the country’s disabled or “Differentially
Challenged” population can only be achieved by sensitizing the society in
general and the efforts of the administrative machinery in particular said the
participants at a national workshop to mark the day of notification of the
The workshop on “ Disability Act: Implementation and Implication” was
inaugurated by Dr. Wajahat Habibullah (Chief Information Commissioner, Central
Information Commission, Govt. of India). He felt the need to sensitize the
masses through these types of workshops. He also compared the American Disbility
act with the Indian disability Act and stressed that the time bound
implementation of the act is required like America. The institutions in America
are being penalized if they fail to implement the disability Act. According to
him all the concerned groups/organization should initiate a composite dialog for
the welfare of the disabled people.
Associate Professor of JNU and noted human rights activists Dr. Subodh Malkar
while chairing the workshop appealed the social activists and media to
contribute actively and generously in rehabilitation of disabled person through
community development programs. He offered his services for the cause of
disabled people and suggested the disabled people should also rope all other
concerned person to achieve their rights in dignified way.
Dr. Rakesh Raman Jha, President - ASRA conducted the proceedings of the
workshop. Dr. Jha felt the need of the reservation for disabled persons in
private sectors and stressed for intense awareness campaign in rural areas too.
He also emphasized on the need for implantation of the disability act in letter
and spirit. Many other distinguished speakers and core activists of JNUDPA
including Mr. Hoshiar Singh expressed deep concern for the slow process of
adjusting disabled daily wager employees.
Concluding the workshop Sh. L. Kanniappan – General Secretary expressed his
satisfaction over the efforts of the government in providing opportunity to
physically challenged persons who have been working as daily wagers since last
fourteen years in Jawaharlal Nehru University.
(L.Kanniappan, General. Secretary, JNU Disabled Persons Association)
International Seminar on Globalisation and Millennium Development Goals
(19-20 January 2006)
A two day international seminar on “Globalisation and the Millennium Development
Goals” organised by the Centre for International Trade and Development (CITD),
JNU in collaboration with the London School of Economics was held on the 19 and
20 of January 2006 at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
Lord Meghnad Desai delivered the Keynote Address on “Why India will fail to
achieve the MDGs”. After providing the background for the establishment of MDGs
that led to a critical shift in the goals and focus of development, he stressed
that achieving MDGs was not merely a question of larger budgetary allocations
but more fundamentally a question of understanding the motivation underlying the
behaviour of poor households in developing countries. Such an understanding
would provide the basis for more appropriate government interventions for
achieving the MDGs. He also stressed the role that international migration had
played historically, particularly in the nineteenth century, in reducing
This was followed by an extensive discussion spearheaded by a Round Table. The
focus of the discussion was challenges for India to achieve the MDGs against the
background of the evolution of the world economy. Pronab Sen stressed the
heterogeneity among the states which makes difficult central planning for
achieving the MDGs. G.K. Chadha presented a broad report card of Indian progress
and stressed that apart from the poverty goal India was likely to miss the other
targets. Maxine Olson emphasized the importance of targeted development goals in
energizing governments both national and international. Javid Chowdhury stressed
the deleterious effects of the declining place of public heath institutions in
the overall health scenario in India. Jayati Ghosh stressed that the current
role of international institutions and perceptions in shaping policies militated
against the achievement of the MDGs in India. In particular she stressed the
agricultural distress that was forcing migration of a short run duration that
did not lead to durable capital formation.
The next session, chaired by Ashok Guha, dealt with the informal sector. The
paper by G.K.Chadha stressed the slowing down in the rate of employment
generation after liberalization. Much of the employment that has been created in
recent years is not permanent employment but casual and part time. He also
suggested that the employment picture was particularly sombre in the rural
areas. Neelam Singh stressed the increasing output and employment in the
automotive ancillary components and parts industry. While it was performing well
a challenge for it was to cope with the tendency of foreign auto producers to
bring the producers of ancillary items from their home country.
The session on Education next day was chaired by Tapas Majumdar and had two
papers. Eva Maria Nag, in her paper, focused on the lack of consonance between
the values underlying MDGs and the values underlying the existing structures of
primary education. Given this disconnect, it would be difficult to achieve the
MDGs unless we take a re-look at the philosophical foundations of primary
education. Alok Rai made a forceful case against market driven higher education,
pointing out the dangers that it may entail leading to a lopsided specialization
structure of higher education and research.
The next session, chaired by A L Nagar, dealt with MDGs, agriculture and
poverty. Manmohan Agarwal presented a method of aggregating the different
quantitative indicators of MDGs into a single index. His calculation of this
index for 31 developing countries displayed a high correlation between the ranks
in 1990 and in 2000 and also between the social indicators and economic
performance. G.S. Bhalla showed that productivity increases in agriculture had
slowed down almost uniformly across states and major crops in the post-reforms
period. Ross Herbert contended that MDGs were irrelevant for development and
poverty reductio in Africa as they focus on the wrong issues. He suggested an
alternative set of goals for development especially in the context of Africa.
The final session of the seminar chaired by Ashish Bose had four papers on
health. Amit Shovon Ray examined how the TRIPS agreement might affect access to
new drugs in India using an empirical study of drug launch in India and
concluded that while TRIPs may facilitate global drug discovery research, it is
unlikely to have any perceptible favourable impact on the health needs of the
poor in developing nations. Ernestina Coast focused on the importance of sexual
and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in achieving the MDGs. She argued that
although SRHR is implicit within some of the MDGs, the fact there is no explicit
MDG on SRHR may prove to be a major handicap in achieving poverty reduction and
development. Ken Shadlen’s paper, discussing the adverse effects of TRIPs on
AIDS treatment, was presented by his colleagues from the LSE. Hakan Seckinlegin
stressed the need for an appropriate structure of international governance of
AIDS that is consistent with and supported by local circumstances and civil
(Amit S. Ray, Professor, CITD, School of International Studies)
Symposium on “Frontiers in Molecular Medicine”
(19-20 January’ 2006)
The Third symposium on
“Frontiers in Molecular Medicine” was organized by the ’Special Centre for
Molecular Medicine, JNU, in the premises of the Academic Staff College, 19-20
January, 2006. The symposium started with an ’Introduction’ by Prof. Rajendra
Prasad (Rector, JNU) and followed by B.K. Bachhawat Memorial lecture by eminent
Professor I. B. Chatterjee (Calcutta University). He presented his major
contribution to Biochemistry under the title ’Vitamin C: the preventive
medicine’. The other, V.K. Ramalingaswami memorial lecture was delivered by
Prof. Indraneel Mittra (Director, BHMRC, Bhopal) with the title ’The future of
Cancer treatment’. According to the norms laid by the centre the first memorial
lecture is generally given by an eminent basic researcher while the latter by a
clinical researcher of eminence. A third lecture in the series under the
category ’Special lecture’ was given by Dr. Satyajit Rath (NII, Delhi) with the
title ’Life and death in the T cell lineage’. All the three lectures were highly
applauded by audience that included eminent researchers and students from
different institutes and universities.
A full day symposium on 20
January’2006, covered a whole range of topics falling under the theme of the
symposium and included area under sessions on Virology, Metabolic disorders,
Neurobiology & Cancer and Infectious diseases. Active researchers who have made
significant contributions in their areas of expertise were invited for the
occasion to present their recent work. These speakers are affiliated with
different institutes/universities that included National Centre for Cell Science
(NCCS, Pune), Tata Memorail Hospital (Mumbai), International Centre for Genetic
Engineering & Biotechnology (ICGEB, Delhi), National Institute of Immunology (NII,
Delhi), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS, Delhi), National Brain
Research Centre (NBRC, Manesar), National Institute of Communicable and Enteric
diseases (NICED, Kolkata) and GB Pant Hospital (Delhi). The concluding ’Special
lecture’ was given by Dr. K.T. Shenoy, Director, CERTC, University of Kerala
entitled ’Molecular Epidemiology’. The symposium concluded with a vote of thanks
by SCMM Chairperson.
Like the previous two symposium
organized by SCMM, the third symposium was also highly appreciated by all the
participants and they look forward to more such occasions where the basic and
clinical researchers can come forward and share their data, research experience
with the young and the experienced researchers alike. The symposium ended with a
positive note from all quarters.
Third Vice-Chancellor’s Conference of Central Universities
(12-13 January 2006)
The Third Conference of Vice-Chancellors of Central Universities was held in
Jawaharlal Nehru University on January 12-13, 2006. The Vice-Chancellors of 18
central universities attended the conference, which was inaugurated by Human
Resource Development Minister, Sh. Arjun Singh. The Minister highlighted the
need to bring the country’s higher education to international standards and
pointed out that the Vice-Chancellors could consider global challenges in the
Nehruvian vision while drawing a road map for higher education.
On the first day, the
conference was addressed by JNU Chancellor, Dr. Karan Singh, JNU
Vice-Chancellor, Prof. B.B. Bhattacharya, and former JNU and Delhi University
Vice-Chancellors, Prof. P.N. Srivastava and Prof. Deepak Nayyar respectively:
The second day’s discussions covered topics like funding of universities,
especially development and maintenance grants, internal resource mobilisation,
recruitment of faculty and university autonomy.
Sh. Kapil Sibal, Minister of
Science and Technology, speaking on the closing day said that unless
universities came up with alternative means of resource mobilisation, the goals
of the 21st Century would be difficult to achieve.
Translation Workshop with Internationally Renowned Scholar
(9 January 2006)
The School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, in collaboration with ’Katha’,
held a translation workshop with Mona Baker, Professor in Translation Studies at
the University of Manchester (UK) and Editor
Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Ms. Baker described translation
in the imagery of narrative and focused upon the role of translation in conflict
situations. She elaborated her arguments with examples from the Palestinian and
Kosovo conflicts. She also spoke about the role of translation in subjugating
nations by colonial powers in the past. Ms. Baker said that translation was
either romanticized or demeaned.
A lively discussion followed
her presentation, particularly in the context of interpretation as larger part
of translation studies, in which subjectivity and prejudice play a major role.
There was reference to civil courts, where the court language is different, and
ordinary peasants or oppressed people have no say whatsoever and are the mercy
of court-assigned interpreters. Prof. S. P. Ganguly, Prof. Chaman Lal, Prof.
Kumar, Prof. Shanta Ramakrishna, Dr. N. Kamala and many students took part in
this discussion. Prof. Amar K. Basu, Dean of the School, was also present.
(Chaman Lal, Professor, Centre of Indian Languages, SLL&CS)
23rd Small Meeting on Yeast Transport and Energetics
A SMYTE conferences are held
annually in different countries and are devoted to two fundamental aspects of
the life of yeast cells- transport processes and energy generation and
This year’s meet was organised
by Prof. Rajendra Prasad of the School of Life Sciences at Heritage Village,
Manesar. As usual, the number of participants was not very large (about 60
researchers from 11 Asian, European, South and North American countries). A
total of 39 lectures were presented. Some of these were devoted membrane
transport, with stress being laid on molecular properties, structure and
regulation of transporters. Other sections focused on gene regulation, with
signal transduction pathways as the topic of interest. Another major topic was
yeast drug resistance.
Two trends were clearly perceptible. The first was the gradual but inexorable
shift of intrest from traditional yeast species such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae
to non-traditional species such as Candida albicans, Debaromyces hansenii or
Zygosaccharomyces bailii. The other trend was the continuing deviation from
general bioenergetics of yeast to specialised
energy-associated processes or systems, such as the xenobiotic-transporting PDR
system of yeast plasma membrane.
(Rajendra Prasad, Professor, School of Life Sciences)
International Conference on
Multiculturalism: Public Policy and Problem Areas in Canada and India
A three - day international
conference on ’Multiculturalism: Public Policy and Problem Areas in Canada and
India’ was organised at the initiative of the Centre for Canadian, US and Latin
American Studies, School of International Studies, JNU, and the Chair in Ethnic
Relations, Centre for Ethnic Studies, University of Montreal, at the India
The conference was convened to
generate a debate on evolving innovative policy measures for immigrant/settler
societies, addressing issues of concern to various ethnic and cultural groups.
The inaugural session on
December 5 was presided over by Vice-Chancellor, Prof. B. B. Bhattacharya, and
inaugurated by the Canadian High Commissioner to India, H. E. Ms. Lucie Edwards.
Prof. Christopher S. Raj, Chairman of the Centre for Canadian, US and Latin
American Studies, provided a comprehensive profile of the conference Others who
spoke on the occasion included Prof. Marie McAndrew of the Centre for Ethnic
Studies, University of Montreal, Dr. D. K. Pabby, Secretary of the Indian
Association of Canadian Studies, and Prof. Abdul Nafey of the Centre for
Canadian, US and Latin American Studies.
The inaugural session was
followed by eight working sessions over the next two days. The themes for
discussion included ’Multiculturalism: Concept, Contours, Critique;’
’Multicultural International Conference on Multiculturalism: Public Policy and
Problem Areas in Canada and India (December 5-7, 2005) Policies in Canada and
India: Overview and Regional Variations’; ’Exploring Pluralities and their
Intersections in Multicultural Societies’; ’Negotiating Diasporic Ethnic
Identities in Canada’; ’Policies Assigning Cultural “Space” and Proffering
Economic Services to Ethnic Communities in India and Canada: Constraints and
Consequences’; and ’A Comparison of Educational Policies in India and Canada’.
The first session, chaired by
Prof. R. Narayanan, former Dean of the School of International Studies,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, with papers by Prof. Christopher S. Raj on
’Multiculturalism in Transition in Immigrant and Non-settler
States’ and Prof. Gurpreet Mahajan on ’Rethinking Multiculturalism’, set the
tone for the conference. Prof. Denise Helly, INRS, Montreal, presented a paper
on the policy of multiculturalism in Canada; Prof. Marie McAndrew presented two
papers, one on the Quebec interculturalism policy and another on ethnocultural
diversity and education; Prof. Daiva K. Stasiulis, Carleton University, Ottawa,
talked about the dual nationality among Indian Canadians and on the relationship
of multiculturalism to immigrant settlement services in Ontario; Prof. Minelle
Mahtani, University of Toronto spoke about the implications of mixed race
identity in Canada. Prominent participants included Ms. Manisha Sinha, Deputy
Secretary, Department of Culture, Government of India; Dr. Archana Ojha and Dr.
Chandra Mohan from Delhi University; Prof. Sudhir Jacob George from Hyderabad
Central University; Dr. K. Viswanatham from Dravidian University, Kuppam; Dr. V.
R. Rao the from Anthropological Survey of India, Kolkata; Prof. Paramjit Judge,
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; Prof. Harihar Bhattacharyya, University of
Burdwan, West Bengal; and Prof. A.K. Mohanty, Dr. Srinivasa Rao and Dr. Priti
Singh from Jawaharlal Nehru University.
One-Day Symposium on Society and Spirituality: A Communitarian Perspective
Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, JNU in association with Focolare Movement,
Rome (Italy) organized a symposium on “society and Spirituality: A Communication
Perspective” on 16 December 2005 which was attended by several distinguished
scholars from Delhi as well as Rome. The Focolare Movement took the opportunity
as a part of its celebration of Silver Jubilee Year in India (1980-2005).
Focolare signifies hearth, family and fireside that re-iterates the same age-old
Vedic concept of the world as ‘one nest of family’. This was the common bond
that brought two like-minded communities together to share their thought on the
dimensions of society and spirituality.
In this welcome address Prof. Satya Vrat Shastri highlight the relevance of the
theme of the symposiym and the works of Madam Chiara Lubich, founder of the
Focolare Movement. He said that this is the time to realize the importance of
the multiple value system with which the community survives and prospers and
also to liberate ourselves from compartmentalization of humanity and human
Dr. L.M. Singhvi, in his inaugural address, foregrounded the epic dialogue
between Vedic, Vedantic and Sharmanic traditions of India in the emerging world
scenario today. He emphasized the fact that the binaries like East and West are
no longer relevant. What really matters is the spirit and quality of enquiry
that is attested by the various Indic traditions of the quest for knowledge and
truth. The dialogic mode of Indian intellectual discourse, right from the Vedic
times conforms to the fact that Indian mind is tolerant and is willing to accept
the concept of ‘one’ as well as ‘many’ in life and philosophy. The epistemology
of many truths and ways of their attainment is to be accepted along with the
agenda of globalization. Dr. Shinghvi very insightfully established that
spirituality gave life to Indian ethics and ethics has enlivened the Indian
Prof. Antonio Maria Baggio contested the perception of the West as monolithic
object and highlighted the fact that it has always survived with multiple
realities. He began with the two original gods- Eros and and Zeos in the 9th
C.B.C. and throughout the ancient Greek and Roman civilization this multiple
world-view has been attested. This does not mean necessarily that people lived
with split realities. A divided man can nothing but be sick. It is always
possible to look forward for a model of harmony and love.
Prof. S.R. Bhatt talked about the Buddhist approach to society and spirituality.
He opined that the centrifugal and centripetal forces are always simultaneously
active in the Indian society and Indian mind has always aspired for the cosmic
well-being. Indian spirituality is not anti-materialistic and otherworldly but
is holistic and integral. Basing his argument on the pratityasamutpada (the
theory of mutual origination/ inter-dependent existence), one of the central
theses of Buddhism, he established the very rationale of human society. Sangha
and samaja are mutually bound and have always contributed to each other.
Spirituality in its very conception is social where we aspire to ensure
liberation for all-not for human beings along.
Prof. S.S. Noor in his very lucid and comprehensive exposition of Sikh dharma
talked about the poetic teachings of ten Gurus and their great sacrifices to
defend Hindu dharma. After the tradition of these ten Gurus, Shabada or
Gurugrantha Sahib became the Guru for all time.Prof. Noor elaborated the
significance of the central concepts like sanagata, pangata and gurudwara of
Sikhism in social and spiritual perspectives.
Dr. Lokesh Chandra began with a precautionary note that both religion and
spirituality have brought great suffering to the world and they have been
instrumental for bondage and suppression in human civilization. humanity today
needs only two things-compassion and wisdom and no God is expected to intervene
in this project. In Hinduism and Buddhism, there is no commandment; therefore,
there is still a scope for ‘becoming’ India has still retained the cosmo-centricity
of the pre-religion pagan civilization. Inner wisdom manifests itself in the
social sphere and this is how the Buddhist concept of alaya-vijnana (lit. ‘the
store-house consciousness’) has been expounded. Universal and individual
consciousness’ are constantly interactive and constitute the one being.
Prof. Piero Coda in his paper “Towards an Ethics of Reciprocity” underlined the
challenges of globalization. It is a challenge that has reached an unprecedented
radical level where it affects the very roots of human identity. It has created
a space in which the various identities expressing the human experience enter in
relation of reciprocal visibility and communication. He called for a review of
the Kantian imperative of absolute and proposed to focus on the dynamics of
reciprocal recognition of such dignity as the space in which the human person is
realized and the authentic meaning of every symbolic form of human action and
being is experienced. In this context he emphasized the work of madam Chiara
that is aimed at rediscovering the anthropological meaning of the reciprocity of
love and communication of what one is and what one has.
Prof. Kapil Kapoor, in his characteristically live and focused exposition stated
that the two key words of the symposium i.e. society and spirituality stand for
material comfort and human happiness respectively. Both are important for an
over- all significance and progress of human being. He referred it back to the
Upanishad concepts of shreya (what is good) and preya (what is merely pleasant).
Aristotle in his Ethics brings forth the same theme and says that for every act
of human being one may ask- “What for?” but we cannot ask the same with regard
to happiness. Happiness is the ultimate goal of all sorts of acts. We must learn
to desynonymise happiness and comport. The Hindu mind is not monistic. The non-
The ocentric Hindu thought has the space to choose or create a system or concept
which not necessarily derived from a superior source like God. The life of a
person is worth if it is for welfare of the community (sukha ayu and hita ayu
vide Chararka) and the personal conducts are not rooted in God but they are the
parts of four –fold goals of life- purushartha. All the three perceptions of God
as (i) formless and attributes less (ii) with form and attributes, and (iii)
formless but with attributes- are acceptable to the Hindu thought.
Dr. Anna Pelli talked on the Concept of man in the Christian Communitarian
Perspective. Long ago in the West, Protegra’s (500 B.C.) had declared that man
is measure of the world. This anthropological view of reality bears the
attestation of the sacred Scripture where man is said to be created in the image
of God (Genesis 1.26).This constitutes the rationale of the inter-personal
relationship and the philosophy of universal love and brotherhood. Secondly, the
Scriptures also confirm that the human relationship is equally liked to the
other relationship-that with the entire Cosmos.
Dr. Shashiprabha Kumar in her concluding lecture focused on the Vedic view of
Society and Spirituality. She referred to the three levels of the Being as
conceived in the Vedic thought – Vaishwanara, Virat and Adi Purusha that is the
best summation of the recurrent themes of this symposium. Thought the various
Vedic references she established that the idea of universal love and one-ness is
not only embedded in the source text of Indian thoughts but this community has
lived up to that all-embracing principle.
Dr. Roberto Catalano proposed the vote of thanks and expressed the deep sense of
gratitude to all the participants and the very receptive audience.
(Rajnish Kumar Mishra, Assistant Professor, Centre for Sanskrit Studies)