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International Seminar on Reflection of Indian Culture and Civilisation in Travelogues

The inauguration of the seminar was held at the JNU Convention Centre, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Dr. Mazhar Mehdi Husain conducted the proceedings of the inaugural session of the Seminar Prof Krishnaswami Nachimuthu, Chairperson, Centre of Indian Languages, JNU, welcomed the delegates, participants and the audience. Dr Khwaja Md Ekramuddin, Director of the Seminar, introduced the theme of the international seminar.
He noted that the seminar was hosting seventeen participants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Sweden, Cyprus, and over 30 participants from various parts of India.
He said that the purpose of holding the Seminar was of course an academic interaction to stress on Indian Culture and Civilization at the primary level and the discussion on the genre of travelogue at the secondary level. Indian Culture and Civilization is very ancient and has its continuity through the ages. Ever since the time of the Mahabharata down to the present days both foreigners and Indians have written valuable accounts of India in the form of travelogue. The culture, which has evolved in the subcontinent is marked by various hues and colours, diverse patterns of life in which religions have played a vital role. Through Hinduism, the philosophy of Vedanta spread from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean, Buddhism carried the message of noble path to the Far East China and Japan, Islam brought egalitarian values of humanity to the people of India, Sikhism synthesized all the major religions of India and the Sufis and the Saints fostered love and fraternity among the people of the subcontinent. The Christian Missionaries bridged the East and the West by means of western education and the English language.

He then said that writers of travelogue – Magesthenes, Fa Hein, Alberuni, Ibne Batuta, Bernier, Quratul Ain Hyder, William Dalryple and a host of others exclaimed,- It is Incredible India. He hoped that the participants from India and abroad would help the DISCOVERY OF INDIA in the three days.

Mr Syed Mohammad Ashraf, an eminent writer and educationist, appreciated the efforts of Centre of Indian Languages to hold the international event. He explained the importance of travel in Islamic culture and civilisation. Adam was the first traveler who traveled a great distance between heaven and earth and quoted the couplets of Iqbal in which he alluded to the travel of Adam. Similarly in Jewish tradition the travel of Moses and the Jews to escape the tyranny of Pharaoh by crossing the Nile was an event of great travel of the nation. Prof Dipti S Tripathi, Director of NMM, New Delhi graced the occasion as guest of honour and she referred to the travel of Clouds in Meghduta of Kalidas and emphasized the importance of the travelogue literature as a medium to reflect Indian culture and civilisation. The chief guests, Prof Halil Tokar and Prof Amir Zikrgoo, also expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the Centre of Indian Languages in holding the event. The presidential address of the seminar was delivered by Perween Hasan, Vice Chancellor, Central Women's University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Prof Hasan expressed her pleasure that Jawaharlal Nehru University has been building academic and cultural contacts by inviting delegates from neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia etc. She said that huge sea, vast desert and great forests could not keep man from undertaking long travels and journeys through out history. Man is more blessed today than at any point of time in history when he can travel by air within two hours of a journey which he used to travel in one year. Travelogue is indeed a good medium to see the globe or any part thereof. The vote of thanks was delivered by Prof Janabade who mentioned the suffers of the sponsors thanked the delegated individually and collectively and all expressed gratitude of the centre to all the sponsors such as Ministry of Culture, Government of India; Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, ICCR and Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

There were 14 academic sessions of the seminar a special session was arranged on Indian Culture and Civilisation through the Eyes of Sufis and Saints which was co-ordinated by Dr Syed Akhtar Husain. The Dr Khwaja Md Ekramddin welcomed, guest of honour, Sri Subodh Kant Sahay, Minister of Tourism, Government of India and all the speakers of the session. The inaugural address was delivered by Prof Anand Kimar, a noted sociologist and popular faculty member of Jawaharlal Nehru University. Prof. Anand emphasized the need of organizing the seminar on the above theme in order to bring to light the role of Sufis and saints in looking at the cultural diversity of India. Sri Sahay praised the efforts of Centre of Indian Languages in highlighting the Indian culture and civilisation through travelogues a work in which the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India is engaged. The presidential address was delivered by H.H. Syed Mohammad Qasim Ashraf Sahab of Kachaucha Sharif. He was highly impressed by the interest of Jawaharlal Nehru University in the study of Sufism and the efforts of Centre of Indian Languages to develop harmony among the people by showcasing the diversity of Indian culture and civilisation which was developed by the Sufis through the ages. He admitted that Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, English and almost all the Indian languages have a good amount of Indian cultural legacy in their literary corpus and it is the obligation of the Centre of Indian Languages to study them and make them of public interest. Dr Rizwanur Rahman proposed a vote of thanks to the chair and expressed his gratitude to all the scholars and participants of the three-day international seminar. The seminar came to its conclusion in the valedictory session in which H H Mr Tariq Ahmad Karim, High Commissioner of Bangladesh at New Delhi delivered his valedictory address.

Khawaja Md Ekramuddin, Associate Professor,
Centre of Indian Languages, SLL&CS

Conference cum Workshop Jointly organized by SCIS -JNU & ICGEB on "Search for Antimalarials: Mechanism Based Approach"

The inaugural lecture was delivered by Dr Vinod Prakash Sharma which threw light on figures and facts related to malaria in India. After that Dr Chetan Chitnis showed how parasite proteins EBA175 and PfRh2a/b localized in parasite oraganelles micronemes and rhoptries facilitate erythrocyte invasion by malarial parasite when they are exposed to low K+ environment. Another speaker Dr Y.D. Sharma gave a lecture on emergence of a new mutation in dihydropteroate synthatase enzyme associated with antifolate drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum parasite population in tsunami affected Nicobar Island. Dr Pawan Malhotra's talk was about novel extracellular secretory antigens at asexual blood stages of Plasmodium falciparum and their role(s) in albumin uptake, thermal tolerance as well as immune modulation. Dr. Aparup Das's lecture was mostly on utility of evolutionary genomic tools in malaria public health. His talk focussed on evolutionary study (genome comparison, association and phenotypic characterization) of genomes of malaria parasites, hosts and vectors to identify the regions of genome that may be important for targeting in Indian malaria domain. Dr Asif Mohammed from ICGEB shed light on prokaryotic and cyanobacterial ATP-dependent protease machineries in Plasmodium falciparum asnovel drug targets. His group has identified ATP dependent proteases in P. falciparum ClpQY (prokaryotic protease) and ClpAP (cyanobacterial protease) as potential drug targets whose functional characterization proves that these are essential for parasite survival. Dr Anil K Saxena'e talk was mostly on application of ligand and structure based approaches in the design of novel antimalarials. His group developed pharmacophore models for determining the essential structural requirements for antimalarial activity from the substituted 1,2,4-trioxanes. To the model, five substituted 1,2,4-trioxanes were synthesized and screened for antimalarial activity suggesting that model may be useful for designing new antimalarial drugs. Also his group developed pharmacophore model for the plasmodium FAS-II using seven highly active flavanoids. Dr Dinesh Gupta lectured about development of novel lead like compounds of 20S ß subunit, a threonine peptidase using ligand based (Support Vector Machines) and receptor based (molecular docking) techniques. Dr Hemalatha Balaram gave an interesting lecture about crosstalk between purine nucleotide metabolism and mitochondrial pathways in Plasmodium falciparum. In P. falciparum, purine nucletides synthesis pathway consumes a molecule of aspartate and release ammonia and fumarate. Her current work has established through radiolabeled tracers and NMR spectroscopy that fumarate is metabolized to aspartate and pyruvate and fumarate hydratase, malate quinone oxidoreductase and aspartate aminotransferase are involved in this process, making them potential drug targets. Dr Swati Patankar work was on translation initiation site choice in Plasmodium. Falciparum by using genome analysis and glutathione peroxidise. Her work was shown to predict a correct start codon or translation initiation site with high specificity and sensitivity. Dr Pushkar Sharma's lecture was on Plasmodium kinome in which he highlighted around-70 protein kinases as important drug targets. Dr Suman Dhar from JNU focussed on a potential drug target for human malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum from apicoplast, DNA Gyrase. Dr Dhanasekaran Shanmugan showed us the TDR Targets database: A chemo-genomic resource for target prioritization and association with inhibitory small molecules. Dr Ajay K Saxena talk was on structure and mechanism of malaria transmission blocking vaccine candidate P25 and P28 Proteins. Dr Prasad V. Bharatam from NIPER, Mohali talked on reaction mechanism as well as molecular mechanism studies in the design of Pf DHFR Inhibitors. MD simulation and in vivo studies are being carried out for two promising leads. Dr Srinivasan Sundararaj lecture was on mechanism of activation and inhibition of cysteine proteases of Plasmodium falciparum. Lectures given by various speakers were informative and there was very effective speaker to students discussion which fulfilled the purpose of the workshop cum conference.

Indira Ghosh, Professor
School of Computational and Integrative Sciences

Workshop on "Equal Opportunities"

The Equal Opportunity Office, JNU and School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, jointly organized a two day workshop on "Equal Opportunities".

The workshop was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Vice-Chancellor of JNU, Prof SK Sopory and was attended by the Chief Advisor, EOO, JNU, Prof. Sonajharia Minz, Chief Advisor, EOC, DU, Dr. Chandra Nisha Singh, the Dean, SLL&CS, Prof. RN Menon, and Prof. Valerian Rodrigues of CPS, SSS, JNU, who gave the key-note address. This session was attended by nearly 150 participants from various categories of different centres of the School.

Welcoming the official members of the JNU community, faculty SLL&CS and the students, the coordinator Remedial Courses, SLL&CS, Dr. Meeta Narain appraised the house of the need and importance of organizing such a workshop and introduced the themes to be covered during the two days of the workshop. She mentioned that this was the first workshop on "Equal Opportunities" to be jointly organized by EOO and SLL&CS and thanked the august panel for their support and encouragement towards the organization of this workshop for the benefit of the students.

She further emphasized the fact that the SLL&CS has taken up the initiative to organize Remedial Classes in different centres as the first step towards upgradation. The workshop concentrated on the structure and content of these courses and how to make them beneficial for the students. She also informed that many centres of the school, CRS, CA&AS, CJK&NEAS, CC&SEAS, CF&FS, CGS and Centre of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian & Latin American Studies are already in the process of conducting these courses and devising different methods for making them beneficial for the students' community. The centres are also working upon methods to make these courses a part of curriculum to be followed from the beginning of the semester.

The Vice-Chancellor congratulated the School for taking up this initiative and appealed to the students to take advantage of these courses. He also discussed different devices which can be adopted to further enhance this scheme in the form of special lectures, discussions and tutorial classes to raise the standards of the students of all classes of society.

The Dean, SLL&CS endorsed the views of the Vice-Chancellor and also informed of how some centres of School like the CGS and Centre of English Studies have successfully been experimenting different modules of remedial classes which can be followed by other centres too.

The Chief Advisor, EOO of JNU spoke of devices to be adopted of how to promote such workshops on a wider spectrum by collaborating with other schools of the university, so as to have an inter-disciplinary approach towards these courses. The EOC of DU gave a brief report on the functioning of this cell in different colleges of DU and how different aspects of Equal Opportunities have been added to remedial classes (special classes for physically handicapped and visually challenged) so that the cell covers a wider section of the students' community.

Prof. Valerian Rodrigues of CPS, SSS, delivered the key-note address by giving an interesting and exhaustive picture of the importance, need and structure of Equal Opportunities at a National Level. He emphasized on the difficulties faced by the students coming from backward classes and how they can cope up with others. He suggested remedies and structural changes which can be adopted at college/university levels where there is mass interaction between the students. This was followed by an interesting question answer session and possibilities of expansion of this scheme. The session ended by the vote of thanks delivered by Dr. Ravikesh of CJK&NEAS.

The workshop was divided into language specific lectures where the participating centres formulated their time table according to the need of their students. The CRS had about 25 participants, CA&AS – 15, CF&FS – 5, CC&SEAS – 50, and CJK&NEAS – 15 participants. The concluding session was the round table discussion which was attended by the Chief Advisor, EOO, Prof. Sonajharia Minz and the Advisor EOO Dr. Neelima Mondal, who welcomed suggestions and discussed the possibilities of expanding and popularizing such courses. The students' community attended in large number and came up with their view points. The agenda for the future was adopted which emphasized on the extension of remedial courses to include workshops/weekly lecture series and search for native speakers through further interaction with embassies for enhancement of competence in foreign languages.

The workshop was indeed a success since there was a unanimous support to the need of conducting such courses and improving them. The workshop ended by the concluding remarks and thanks by the Coordinator Remedial Courses, SLL&CS, who assured the EOO of their consistent efforts towards promoting this scheme of the government and sharing their responsibility for the same.

Meeta Narain, Associate Professor,
Coordinator, Remedial Coaching, SLL&CS

Seminar on Rethinking Policy Innovations and Research Questions for Revitalizing Rainfed India

The Centre for Studies in Science Policy - Economics Research Unit (CSSP-ERU) of Jawaharlal Nehru University organized the Seminar on Rethinking Policy Innovations and Research Questions for Revitalizing Rainfed India on 5 May, 2012 at the Convention Centre of JNU. The seminar was organized as a part of the research project "Socio-economic Study of Rainfed Agriculture and Low Input Animal Husbandry in India", initiated by Centre for Studies in Science Policy of School of Social Sciences and supported by Ford Foundation.

The whole-day event was started with a roundtable discussion on Policy Dimensions for Revitalizing Rainfed India. Prior to this roundtable, Professor V.V. Krishna of CSSP, and Dr. Rohan D'Souza, Project Director, CSSP-ERU briefly introduced the ongoing project's objectives, its achievements and research findings. Dr. Kaustav Banerjee, Co-ordinator, CSSP-ERU briefly introduced the background of this seminar.

He informed the audience that CSSP-ERU has been set up with the mandate to evolve policy instruments for directing public investments to rainfed agricultural strategies and low-input animal husbandry. In effect, the CSSP-ERU has attempted to frontally address the skewed nature of existing public investment patterns in which rainfed areas (as opposed to perennial irrigated zones) and low input husbandry (as opposed to high-input) receive inadequate policy attention and in part causing the continued aggravation of regional economic imbalances. This Seminar aimed at bringing together academics and planners for a deliberation on the path ahead for rainfed India in the 12th Five Year Plan.The deliberations of this seminar would lead to raising critical policy issues and research questions by arguing for decisive restructuring public investment regimes in India, which can yield positive economic outcomes in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery.

Professor S.K. Sopory, Vice Chancellor of JNU chaired this roundtable session. In his speech, he introduced how green revolution succeeded with the help of advance technologies. Similarly, revitalizing rainfed agriculture also requires intervention of appropriate technologies and biotechnologies. Professor Abhijit Sen (Member, Planning Commission), Dr. Peter Kenmore (Country Representative India, Food and Agriculture Organization FAO); Dr. N.K. Sanghi (Revitalizing Rainfed Agriculture Network) and Dr. Rajeswari S. Raina (Senior Scientist, NISTADS) were lead discussants in this roundtable session. Professor Abhijit Sen pointed out how food security can be achieved in a diverse country like India, when effectively integrating all systems of agriculture and animal husbandry. He also introduced roadmap for policy neglect rainfed areas during the 12th Five Year Plan period. Dr. Peter Kenmore spoke about international best practices and policy interventions in different developing countries for different agricultural situations.

In this Seminar, two post-lunch sessions were held with the theme Research Questions for Revitalizing Rainfed India. In the Session One, three papers were presented: Comparative poverty analysis of rainfed India by Dr. Himanshu of JNU; Spatio-temporal analysis of rainfed India: some issues by Dr. Milap Punia of JNU, and Interlocked nature of agriculture-nutrition pathways in rainfed areas by Dr. Kaustav Banerjee of CSSP. Professor Pranav Desai of CSSP chaired Session One. In the Session Two, three papers were presented: Research questions in rainfed agriculture by Dr. P. S. Vijay Shankar of Samaj Pragati Sahayog (SPS); Energy costs of agricultural practices in rainfed areas by Dr. Nandan Nawn of NUJS; and Decadal analysis of green revolution and policy issues for rainfed India by Aditi Poddar of CSSP. Dr. Rohan D'Souza chaired the final session. These two sessions concluded with vibrant discussion and information flow from the audience.

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

Lecture on "Enabling Open Scholarship: Open Access Policies, Issues and Resources"

The JNU Central Library organized the sixth lecture in the JNU Library Lecture Series and Outreach Programme on 29 June 2012. The Lecture titled "Enabling Open Scholarship: Open Access Policies, Issues and Resources for Higher Education Institutions" was delivered by Dr. Usha Mujoo Munshi, Chief Librarian of Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, and a Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Ramesh Chandra Gaur, University Librarian of JNU introduced the speaker to the audience. Professor Andrew M. Lynn of CIS Division, JNU chaired this event. In his remarks, Professor Lynn admired the new open access initiatives of JNU Central Library, e.g., Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) Repository and JNU Institutional Repository. He also mentioned that JNU is part of CSIR's Open Source Drug Discovery project, where significant amount of research literature is now available in open access mode.

In this lecture Dr. Munshi first introduced the concept of open access to knowledge and open scholarship. Open access to knowledge refers to provisioning free and universal access to research literature. Several research funding agencies across the world support open access to make research results freely available to larger audience without any access barrier. Open access movement has gained momentum worldwide in last one decade. Several open access declarations and open access mandates make research institutions free to choose publishing research papers in open access journals, and/ or archive research literature in open access institutional or subject-specific repositories. Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities is one such declaration signed by 383 research organizations, including Indian National Science Academy. Several Indian science academies and institutions have adopted open access mode of publishing. Leading Indian academic journal publishers, such as Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Indian Academy of Sciences, and National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR) have already made all their journals freely accessible online. These journals continue publishing print editions, without loosing any print subscribers. Whereas, commercial publishers have increased manifolds their price of journals in last few years. This makes most international academic journals, published by commercial publishers, unaffordable to institutions in developing countries. Open access journals, thus, have more potential to stay and grow. A significant number of open access journals are also covered in Web of Science, Scopus and other well-known citation and bibliographic databases. Their credibility has already been established among subject experts and research communities.

The Lecture concluded with Chair's remarks and an exciting interaction with the audience. Audience was particularly interested to know the funding sources for publishing in open access journals, which follow author-pay model. Professor Lynn informed the audience that certain Indian institutions and research projects have such provision. Dr. Gaur introduced JNU Central Library's new e-scholarship initiatives and how JNU academic community would participate. He concluded this lecture session with vote of thanks.

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


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