Two - day National seminar of Young scholars organized by the Center of Arabic & African Studies (CAAS), SLL&CS on 1-2 November 2014
In order to explore the rich contribution of Indian scholars to Arabic studies and to generate interest among young scholars, the Centre of Arabic and African Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, organized a two- day national seminar of young scholars on "Arabic studies in India: Achievements and Expectations" between 1st and 2 November, 2014.
The inaugural session was held on 1 November, 2014 at the Arts & Aesthetics Auditorium, JNU. Professor Mujeebur Rahman, Chairperson of the Center welcomed the delegates, teachers, scholars and participants. Dr. Md. Qutbuddin, the Director of the seminar, outlined the goals and objectives of the conference. A large number of scholars and students from JNU and other universities across India attended the session.
Dr. Zafrul Islam Khan, noted Indian Islamic thinker, Arabic scholar and editor of English Monthly The Milli Gazette delivered the keynote address. In his erudite and scholarly address, he dwelt on the deep historical and civilizational ties between India and the Arab world and the huge contribution made by Indian Scholars to the different branches of Arabic sciences in India.
On this occasion, a video presentation was made by Mr. Kareem Adli from Turkey on the esteemed Arabic Magazine Hira published from Turkey, one of the key sponsors of the event.
Prof. M.A. Islahi, Dean, SLL& CS, also addressed the session and highlighted the contribution of the Centre in the field of research and teaching of Arabic Language and Literature and appreciated the organizers for organizing such a wonderfully thought out seminar which was unique in many ways.
Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed Abdel Rahman, Cultural Counselor & Director of Cultural Bureau, Embassy of Arab Republic of Egypt, New Delhi, graced the occasion as Guest of Honour. Praising the services of Indian scholars, he acknowledged their extremely valuable contribution to the development of Arabic Language and Literature and assured that the Cultural Bureau, Embassy of Arab Republic of Egypt was ready to support the development of Arabic Language and Literature in India.
Professor Sudha Pai, Rector I, and Chief Guest for the session, appreciated the idea of a students' seminar. She also appreciated the activities of the Center. She offered her full support for such programs in future also.
Professor S. K. Sopory, Vice Chancellor, presided over the function. He expressed his deep appreciation of the wonderfully organized students' seminar and called it the need of the hour. Dr. Rizwanur Rahman proposed the vote of thanks.
The academic sessions were held in the Committee Room, SLL&CS and the Committee Room, SLL&CS Annexe building on 1 November, 2014. On 2 November, 2014, parallel sessions were held in the Committee Room and Lecture Hall, JNU Convention Center. 60 research papers were presented by the scholars of different Indian universities and colleges from across India in 10 academic sessions spread over two days on different aspects related to the theme of the seminar. The sessions were attended by students and research scholars from JNU, DU, JMI and other universities and were characterized by lively debates and discussions.
The seminar was successful in many ways. All the participants felt enriched by the deliberations. They were happy to find an avenue for presenting their research papers. It also succeeded in generating interest in research on Indo-Arabic literature which is of critical value today. It was resolved to strengthen the academic interaction between all the stake holders of Arabic teaching in India and to organize a students' seminar every year.
Director of the Seminar
Centre of Arabic and African Studies, SLL& CS
Colloquium on Philosophy, Language and the Political: Reevaluating Poststructuralism
To deliberate on the thought and practice of Poststructuralism that flourished in the last five decades, an International Colloquium on Philosophy, Language and the Political: Reevaluating Post-structuralism was held at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on 10 December,2014. The academic event was supported by JNU, L'Institut Français, New Delhi, ICSSR (Northern Region), New Delhi, and ICPR, New Delhi. Welcoming the participants from within and outside India, Franson Manjali, the main coordinator, briefly presented the context and the relevance ofthe colloquium. The inaugural session was chaired by Ayesha Kidwai, Chairperson of Centre of Linguistics. Marc Cre?pon of École Normal Supèrieure, Paris, delivered the inaugural lecture, The Invention of the Idiom: The Event of the Untranslatable. Crépon's paper focused on the relevance of the idiom in the context of the use, ordinary or scholarly, of language, and on being sensitive about all the elements that have historically sedimented in it. The paper dwelt on the task of displacing and overcoming them as part of the singularity of one's ethico-political existence. Crépon's main point of reference was Derrida's seminal work, Monolingualism of the Other, OR the Prosthesis of Origin.
This was followed by twelve sessions in which 23 scholars presented papers. The first of these had Paul Patton, University of New South Wales, Sydney and Aniruddha Chowdhary of IIAS, Shimla, speaking. Patton's paper Poststructuralism and Political Normativity: The Case of Deleuze, addressed the common criticism against poststructuralist thought, that it did not pay attention to the normative principles relating to contemporary society and government. Patton argued that, though this criticism has some relevance in relation to Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus, it overlooked the sense in which there is a formal normativity implicit in Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze's own works and that the later works of Deleuze and Guattar engaged directly with explicitly political concepts and norms that make up liberal constitutional states. The second paper, Singular History: Finitude, Temporality and Historicity in Early Heidegger by Chowdhury, explored the notion of historicity, central to the argument of Heidegger's Being and Time. He contended that finitude and singularity remained inseparable in Heidegger's analysis of historicity and historical repetition.
The second session began with a paper by Rustam Singh, Eklavya Institute, Bhopal, entitled Not This, Not That, Maurice Blanchot and Poststructuralism. Blanchot, according to him was at the very center of the Poststructuralist movement and this could be seen in the former's views on language, the work, and the fragmentary.
The last session of the day had papers by Achia Anzi, JNU, who discussed Michel Foucault's essay "This is not a Pipe" that interprets the famous painting by the Belgian artist René Magritte. His paper titled This is (not) a pipe. Offered a reading of Foucault's essay, intended to be a critique of modern art with reference to Magritte's painting. He highlighted the significance of the painting "This is a Pipe" by British graffiti artist Bansky that challenges Magiritte's painting. Jean-Luc Nancy's live video talk titled Jouïs Anniversaire! "Scenes of Inner Life" for the Tenth Anniversary of the Death of Jacques Derrida attempted to show how sexuality works in Derrida's philosophical thinking, mainly with reference to the latter' swork Glas. He discussed how the coming-to-oneself or the self-affection is closely related to the coming to sex as différance to itself. The question-cum-discussion session that followed Nancy's paper could adequately bridge the spatial distance between his speaking from Strasbourg and the audience listening to him in JNU, New Delhi.
The second day of the colloquium began with the session that comprised papers by Samir Gandesha, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, and Manas Ray, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata. Gandesha's paper, Jacques Derrida: The 'Good European,' focused on Derrida's reading of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, where Nietzsche refers to "We Good Europeans". He pointed the significance of Derrida's reading in the wake of his joint letter with Habermas in May, 2003, calling for a genuinely "European" public sphere. In the next paper, Gandhi: Antiliberal, or a Departure Within Liberalism? Reflections on his Theatre of Truth, Ray argued that Gandhi was deeply modern and a democratic thinker as against the prevalent notion of Gandhi's anti-westernism. He also contended that though Gandhi made religion the highpoint of his politics, it did not divert him from liberal modes of subject- formation.
In the next session, Soumyabrata Choudhury and Milind Wakankar spoke. With reference to the "norm of equality" declared by B.R. Ambedkar in 1927 for the first time in Indian history and relating it to the time of the French Revolution, Choudhury, in his paper The French Revolution of Indian History: Notes on Comparative Politics and Incomparable Events, analyzed the idea of the event raising the structural and originary question of the sense in which an event happens for the first time, and yet provoked thought and imagination that constitute it as a concept. Wakankar, in his paper, Religion after Religion: Plato after Badiou in the Light of Modern Indian Thought (Aurobindo, K. C. Bhattacharya, Bedekar) attempted to lay the groundwork for a political theory of the wound in the wake of primitive slavery (race, caste), where he juxtaposed Derrida/Sallis with Badiou's reading of Plato.
In the seventh session of the colloquium, Sukalpa Bhattacharya of NEHU, Shillong and Ranu Uniyal from Lucknow University emphasized the commendable role played by Hélène Cixous in understanding the question of the feminine with regard to writing. Bhattacharya in her paper Body-Reparation-Invention: Cixous and Derrida on "Feminine Writing," explored Cixous' work in relation to Derrida's, with focus on the notion of the feminine and writing. She also showed how Cixous's thought on feminine writing has a decent ring effect that expresses female fluidity that rebels against masculine economy. Uniyal in her paper "Somewhere There Must be People Who are Like Me": Reading Hélène Cixous, examined the notion of identity and belonging and the irresolvable ambivalence that continue to dominate Cixous's thought and writing.
In the next session, François Cusset of University of Western Paris, Nanterre, Prasenjit Biswas of NEHU, Shillong, and Arup Chatterjee of JNU, presented their papers. In his paper,'Can a Toolbox Go to War?' The Political Legacy of Poststructuralism, Cusset discussed poststructural thinkers' antiprescriptive and antitotalizing stances as that which fit in addressing today's global fuzzy and political situation. Aiming to interconnect certain works, he referred to three key notions namely, friendship, becoming, and vitalism discussed by Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, and Nietzsche, respectively. Biswas's paper Foucault and Derrida on Truth and Meaning: A Semantic, Political and Ethical Reappraisal, was centered on the ideas of justice, subject, truth, and meaning. Biswas juxtaposed Derridean and Foucauldian positions on justice and subject. He also elucidated Derrida's conception of truth primarily as a minimal avowal of justice in the constitutive powerlessness of oneself as a 'third party'. In his paper, Remembering the "The Purloined Letter" from the Event Horizon: Letters to My Love of Travel, Chatterjee pointed to the need for revisiting to the Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Purloined Letter" in understanding the debate between Derrida and Lacan that unfolds in a series of letters. He wanted to show how language and travel could be brought together to understand Being through the notion of travelogy.
The first session of the third and final day had three papers. Anup Dhar of Ambedkar University, Delhi, raised the pertinent question "What it is to reevaluate poststructuralism?" His paper, Cryptonomy: Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, Politics, was concerned with the question of the political in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic or the crypto-analytic that is addressed in Derrida's "Geopsychoanalysis" and the rest of the world. In her paper, The Body of Knowledge: Notes on the Stigmatext, Sandhya Devesan Nambiar of Delhi University, investigated the category of the "animal called man", in which she posited the particular category as a problem. She closely followed and discussed Derrida's views in his "The Animal that therefore I Am" and "The Beast and the Sovereign." In this context, she highlighted the Heideggerian notion of Mitsein and the Deleuzian idea of becoming-animal. Meanwhile, providing an alternative reading of Derrida, Sourav Kargupta, of CSSS, Kolkata, in his paper, Deconstruction after Marx, or two ways of thinking an Outside, touched upon the theoretical placement of the preface in both supplementing and pre-empting the text. With regard to the Marxian 'use-value' he viewed how both Jacques Derrida and Gayatri Chakravorty-Spivak read the Marxian 'use-value' and its implications in their own works on deconstruction.
The tenth session of the colloquium, which comprised papers by Anirban Das, CSSS, Kolkata, and Siby K. George, IIT, Mumbai. Analyzing a fundamental opposition between the inductive mode of reasoning active in empiricism and the irrefutable logic of deductions of Reason, Das, in his paper, The Science Question in Poststructuralism: Ethics and Politics of the Real, addressed the question of how faith and scientific knowledge remain intertwined. In reading this relationship through Derridean perspective, he discussed the questions of the being human and its relations to the generality of the structure of writing and of the trace. George's paper Constitutive Theories of Language and the Politics of Change, explored the constitutive theory of language in which word and being are considered to be intertwined, where responsive power of language is emphasized. Analyzing this idea with reference to Heidegger and Levinas, the paper argued that the ethically ambiguous dimensions of the politics of change can be understood only when the meaning comes from the other.
In the first paper of the post-lunch session of the final day, entitled Learning to Live with Specters: Hauntology, Memory and Language in Specters of Marx, Vinod K. Kalidasan, of Central University of Kerala, Kasargode, dealt with the idea of haunting and memory in relation to the question of history, with reference to Derrida's Specters of Marx. He examined how memory plays a crucial role in the process of haunting and mourning. Highlighting the significance of Derridean analysis of knowledge in relation to the idea of secret, in his paper, Of Shame and Censure: A Deconstructive Account of Knowledge, Debaditya Bhattacharya, Central University of Bihar, Patna, tried to show how the politics of shaming attempts to regulate the production of knowledge as an event of otherness. Dealing with the idea of shame in relation to the moral history of shame and its conflation with the theologico-legal ethic of guilt, he explained that feeling of shame is a default predicament of every event of self-knowledge. In the last paper of the colloquium, Wounding the Self: Writing the Other, Sanjay Kaushal and Nimmi Nalika (co-authors) of JNU, discussed the repressive and violent nature of any sort of totality that creates closures in terms of Self, and insisted on the necessity of opening up of the self to the other as an ethical exigency.
The concluding session of the colloquium was conceived as a forum for discussing the task of taking up roles and responsibilities in the academic domain to address the various issues that have been simmering in our world in relation to humanity. Several participants spoke on the necessity of opening up of all the closures that create powerful, resistant, and repressive totalities that are at work in our socio-political, religious, educational and economic domains.
Sanjay Kaushal and Nimmi Nalika
Centre for Linguistics, SLL&CS
Socio-economic Field Study in Varanasi district of Middle Ganga Plain
Especially in the works of Dubey, Ghurye, Mukharji, A. B., Mukherjee, R.K., Srinivas, specific villages were studied and regional rural life reconstructed and analysed, during the 1960s and 1970s. Over four decades of centralized planning and subsequent opening up of market in 1990s has brought about several irreversible changes across Indian villages. Keeping this in mind, the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences decided to choose 'Rural Transformation' as the broad theme for the field study this year. Specific focus was on the changing land-use and social structure in the villages of Middle Ganga Plain. A group of 39 students under the supervision of Dr. Bikramaditya K. Choudhary conducted the study in the district of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh between 31 December, 2014 and 15 January, 2015. The field study was a part of the compulsory course work RD and is has been conducted every year for the last 35 years. Three villages were selected for the purpose of this study. These two villages viz. Tilmapur and Sandaha are going to be the part of Varanasi Development Authority. The village Bhandaha Kalan is taken as a typical village for the purpose of regional reference. The students learnt about socio-economic conditions of the people, the livelihood opportunities, the level of diversification in rural employment, the nature of changing social relations and implications of these. One of the villages close to Varanasi is witnessing almost complete transformation from village life to urban sprawl. The village has now turned into an urban sprawl owing to unplanned and haphazard outward growth of Varanasi city. Almost 90 per cent of the village has undergone change in its land-use i.e. from agriculture to build-up. The land owners sold the land to the new settlers, who wanted to be urban dwellers and chose Varanasi as their destination either after their retirement across different locations in the country or just wanted to shift and start living in the urban area due to relatively better infrastructure. The majority of the residents are migrants from nearby districts of Uttar Pradesh or the border district of Bihar. Social segmentation remains the most remarkable feature of the 'would be ward' of Varanasi Municipality. Eyeing quick cash, the landowning Brahmins started selling their land to the new migrants for the purpose of construction of houses. The interesting feature remains that land close to the dalit basti located at the village periphery was sold. In the beginning, it was ensured that the land was sold primarily to Brahmins of different categories from nearby districts; service class buyers belonging to other upper castes like Kayasths and Rajputs were second on the priority list. The urban areas of the Middle Ganga Plain, thus, remain rooted in the kinship-based morphology. No sign of urban society as understood by Simmel, Lewis and others of the Chicago School is witnessed here as far as the social structure is concerned.
Bikramaditya K Choudhary
Centre for the Study of Regional Development, SSS
Exhibition Dissensus: Indian Testimonies
PC Joshi Archives on Contemporary History, JNU organized an exhibition entitled "Dissensus: Indian Testimonies" from 9 - 24 January, 2015 in the lobby, School of Social Sciences building III. The exhibition was curated by Prof. Janaki Nair and funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, South Asia. The exhibition consisted of text, photography, audio and video materials and newspaper clippings on four themes: (1) movement against the Silent Valley Hydro electric Project in Kerala, (2) the boosa incident and dalit movement in Karnataka, (3) the Mathura Rape Case and the subsequent changes in law and (4) movements for the Right To Information Act in India.
The exhibition focused on the concept of dissensus: it was developed by Jacques Ranciere to counter the idea of politics as consensual, managing a population, and as an affair of the government. This exhibition extended the term dissensus to focus on those moments in the Indian context which have elevated and altered political discourse, have changed laws to provide justice to the disadvantaged and hither to ignored social groups, and have encouraged creativity in ways that were unanticipated and unplanned. The focus here was on the enduring shifts in ways of thinking, analyzing, writing, indeed being that were enabled by the disruptive potential of dissensus.
Four such moments were discussed. The post independence assurance and conviction about "development as progress" was called into question in the campaign against the Silent Valley Dam project in the 1970s and 1980s. Unsettling challenges to a proud and long established literary culture were unexpectedly raised in the boosa earthquake in 1970s Karnataka and led to the development of a new critical aesthetic. The flash that revealed the impossibilities of justice for many under the rule of law, was the case and campaigns following the rape in Mathura. Finally, the moment emerged in the 1990s when the people inserted itself between the government of documents, and documents of governance, to reveal, expose, and thereby to question that which had rendered them speechless, in the movement for a Right To Information.
All of these moments had no final closure, but did produce unthinkable, even unexpected, effects. There is every sign that these moments, full of promise and contradiction, as well as their effects, will be buried/forgotten in the rewriting of the republic's history. This places an ethical responsibility on an archive such as the P.C. Joshi Archives on Contemporary History, JNU. Such an archive must not stifle or appropriate these moments of dissensus. It must reveal, both politically and aesthetically, the multiplicity and the precariousness of innovation.
The exhibition was opened by Prof. Sudha Pai, Rector, JNU on 9 January, 2015 at 3.00 pm at the Ground floor lobby, School of Social Sciences III building, JNU. Prof. Sucheta Mahajan, Chairperson, PC Joshi Archives on Contemporary History, JNU and Prof. Janaki Nair, curator of the exhibition, as well as Dr. Carsten Krinn, Resident Representative Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Delhi participated in the event.
The exhibition communicated new and unforeseen possibilities within the field of politics; it also urged students to ask new questions of their academic disciplines in that light. The responses of students and faculty, indicated that the exhibition elicited awareness of other political experiences that have not been given their due place in the genealogy of the Indian present. The exhibition was both appreciated and critiqued. Some people for criticized it inadequately unpacking the conceptual world of the four movements, while others saw it as saturating the viewer with information. Limitations of time prevented the realization of the full subversive potential of the narratives. Nevertheless, the exhibition was an interesting experiment with how we may place these moments in the context of contemporary Indian history using the tools of social science research. In the words of one of the students, it was an effort to combine the methodological rigour of social science research with new styles and practices of display.
Archives on Contemporary History
International Conference on Disability Studies in India: Reflections on Future
The term disability refers to socially ascribed meanings to diverse human conditions having different types of physical and mental impairments over life course in different cultural contexts. In India and much of South Asia, disability is largely seen as a product of cultural impediments such as beliefs and stereotypes as well as structural barriers like poverty, lack of development, illiteracy, unemployment and caste, class and gender asymmetry. Persons with disability (PWD) are marginalized in education, employment, health, mobility and other significant life areas.
It is in this context that the Centre for the Study of Social Systems (CSSS), School of Social Sciences (SSS) organized a two-day International Conference on 'Disability Studies in India: Reflections on Future' on 6 – 7 February, 2015. Among its objectives was to deliberate on the historical beginnings of disability studies programs in the Indian context & to examine the links between State, disability rights movements, disability studies and civil society organizations in a comparative framework. The Conference was very well attended by research scholars, academicians, activists & PWDs and was thematically divided into eight sessions to address various concerns of Disability within the framework of academia, law and legal frameworks, gender dimension and its pedagogical explorations. Out of these, there were two sessions, which focused on Disability Studies in Academia specifically and discussions on interdisciplinary lines took place. In general as well, the Conference had people from various disciplines in attendance. All in all 23 papers were presented apart from a vibrant and academically stimulating Panel Discussion which took place at the end of the Conference.
On the Inaugural Day, Professor V. Sujatha (Chairperson, CSSS/SSS) delivered the welcome address wherein she highlighted the fact that there has been a close interaction between the disability rights movement and academia and the former became more accepted to the general public through the latter. Professor Aditya Mukherjee (Dean, SSS) the chair of the session reinstated the link between rights based movements and academic engagement and cited JNU as a significant example of this tradition. The multi-layered theme of the conference was introduced by Professor Nilika Mehrotra who as the Convener of the Conference underlined the need to rigorously document and strengthen academic networks so as to build a cohesive body of literature depicting the South Asian reality of disability studies. Professor T. K. Oommen carried forward the inaugural session and outlined shortcomings in defining disability at the regional, national and global level institutions. His classification of 'aggregate collectivity' and 'organic collectivity' in the context of disability argued the need to include social disability, deviance along with physical impairment in defining 'disability'. Finally, the inaugural session was addressed by Professor Amita Dhanda, the keynote speaker. While disagreeing with Professor Oommen's distinction between 'aggregate collectivity' and 'organic collectivity', she propagated the importance of intersection-ality and lived experiences in contesting the dominant systems of knowledge which label the 'disabled' as deficits. Professor Nilika Mehrotra proposed the vote of thanks in the end of the inaugural session.
During the Conference various important themes related to the disability studies emerged. It was observed by many that the state needs to take a more proactive stand not only in terms of defining & determining the various axioms of disability and the disabled for the purpose of welfare monetary approach; rather the various machineries of the state itself should be more sensitive towards the rights & entitlements of People with Disability. Subsequently, another important issue of concern was put forth by the proponents of Universal Design / Designing within the framework of architecture. It advocated for certain modifications in the existing design of buildings so as to make them more accessible to People with Disability. In a major way, some of the papers linked disability within the theoretical schema of inclusion and exclusion and thus located the same in hierarchical social order characterized by limited accessibility and availability of resources. Coming to the problematic scenario of the gendered dimension of disability, it was highlighted that there is an urgent need to develop and sustain support structure within the society as the disabled women are more prone to violence and abuse both in the private as well as public spheres of life. Similar expressions were noted when the need and process of establishing & documenting PWDs along with disability studies in academia was highlighted and argued for. It was argued that such a task requires both sensitivity and empathy on the part of both the teacher & the student.
Papers were also presented on 'mental state of order' and how due to a lack of understanding of it by the society, it tends to isolate these people. More than often the viewpoint of both the state and society is so intensely panopticon that incidents of the mental state of order are made subservient to the medical inquiry. For this, the issue of both physical & mental disability needs to be reworked and practiced by both the civil society (NGOs) & the state.
Similar and other issues came up in the Panel Discussion moderated by Dr. Tanmoy Bhattacharya scheduled at the end of the Conference. In his address, he argued that such seminars and conferences can be located in the Habermassian notion of Public Sphere wherein there is representation of the voices of disabled persons and their aspirations subsequently moving towards formulation & implementation at the policy level. Subsequently, he highlighted three main issues emerging out of the two day engagement with Disability studies which are; the question of disability rights within the disability studies; the relation between activism (advocacy) and disability studies and the relation between domains of service and disability studies. The Conference ended on the positive note that Disability Studies and disability movement have come a long way in South-Asia and particularly in India. Far from being excluded, decried and isolated at the margins of ontology & epistemology, today we have come to a scenario wherein such voices have become too shrill and strong to be ignored both by the academia and people in general.
Nilika Mehrotra, Professor
Centre for the Study of Social Systems, SSS
Three Days workshop in JNU on social and emotional capacity building and free personal counseling to students by a panel of six expert psychologists
The Group of Adult Education, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, organized a three days Workshop from 19 – 21 February, 2015 on "Social and Emotional Capacity Building" to help students tackle stress and emotional problems that affect their career and day to day life. For the first time in the history of JNU, a panel of six expert counselors was invited to give free counseling to students to tackle such problems. JNU Rector, Professor Sudha Pai, inaugurated the Workshop and spoke about the common emotional and stressful situations that haunt students today. According to her, scarcity of employment opportunities and resulting pressure to get jobs, interpersonal relationships between males and females and consumption of alcohol are three major problems that adversely affect student life nowadays. The Director of the Group of Adult Education and the organizer of the event, Dr. Ajay Kumar emphasized that a positive attitude and individual initiatives are the essential elements of a successful career. However, he highlighted the increasing amount of arrogance among students, lack of commitment, plagiarism and unwillingness to work harder in academics as the major hindrances in the path of a successful career of today's youth. Dr. Arvind Mishra from the Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies, JNU, pointed out that understanding oneself is the beginning and end of capacity and competency building. The motive of the workshop was to enable students to build up their capabilities and lead a happy, stress-free life. The expert panel consisted of Mrs. Jyoti Uplenchwar (Vice-President, Positif), Dr. Arvind Mishra, Dr. M.G. Shanawaz, Mr. Abdul Mabood and Ms. Brijender Graewal.
Several stress management exercises – both physical as well as mental, and free guidance and counseling were the primary attractions of the Workshop. Apart from that, theoretical discussions about discovering one's innate potential and capabilities and several group activities were conducted to encourage participants to synergize their innate potential. More than 50 participants attended the Workshop. Most of them told that the workshop was quite helpful for them in dealing with stress, tensions regarding professional as well personal life, and improving concentration during studies and research. Students who went for personal counseling conveyed that the counselors guided them well and a few of them have also started appropriate medication.
Ajay Kumar, Director
Group of Adult Education
Two-Day Seminar-cum-Workshop on "the Role of Linguistics in Mother-Tongue Education in a Multilingual Classroom"
21 February, 1952 unveiled the tremendous importance of language in the life of a nation. As students in one corner of the world martyred themselves clamoring for the respect and recognition due on their mother tongue, the world awoke to a reality about the vast impact of language upon one's identity and the socio-political consciousness. Thus was born International Mother Language Day, primarily to commemorate Bangladesh's historic "Bhasha Andolan" but also to celebrate the innumerable native tongues spoken all across the globe, regardless of any hierarchy. In that very spirit the Students of the Centre for Linguistics, JNU every year organizes an event to highlight issues/challenges that are faced by Mother Languages in these hegemonical times. This year IMLD was observed by the students of the center for Linguistics, with the support of ICSSR and JNU across three days wherein each day ushered a distinctive flavor to the celebration of the large repository of languages & Culture that India collectively calls mother tongue. To mark the rich linguistic diversity of India and reimagine the power politics of language, the theme this year IMLD celebration revolved around the status of mother tongues in the domain of education. Beginning on the 20th of February and panning across to the 22 February, IMLD 2015 comprised a cultural evening, a day long graduate seminar and a day long workshop.
On the 20 February, 2015 the students of JNU brought together a beautiful mélange of performances from different regions of the world and needless to say, in a variety of languages. From Bengali songs to Rajasthani folk dances, from Malayalam songs to Syrian dances the evening saw a flurry of delightful performances.
The day long graduate seminar titled 'The Role of Linguistics in Mother-Tongue Education in a Multilingual Classroom' intended to critical evaluation of State and non-State policies on mother tongue and multilingual education in India. On the 21st of February the Graduate Seminar started with welcome note from a PhD student of the center Sujoy Sarkar who explained in detail the students motivation in organizing the event, followed by this Prof Ayesha Kidwai, Chairperson, Center for Linguistics delivered the inaugural address. Prof Rama Kant Agnihotri's Keynote address outlined the various historical and theoretical junctures of Multilingual education in India. His paper discussed in detail the shortcomings present in current multilingual education models and gave pointer that the young scholars should be looking at to resolve these issue. Apart from the keynote the student organizer have also invited distinguished experts from the field of linguistics and education: Prof Minati Panda (ZHCE,JNU) Dr. Mukul Priyadharshini (DU) Dr. Anjali Naronha (Ekalvya, Bhopal) to deliver plenary talks on the current trends in Multilingual Education in India. Followed by this the day saw successive paper presentations and discussions addressing the inherent inequality found in the mother tongue textbook and ways to overcome such blemishes using the tools of language (linguistics in general, sound, grammar and meaning system of the educational material under study, in particular). Scholars from all across the country presented papers concerning the various issues that arise in vernacular teaching. Some of the areas covered by the various presentations were Looking out for grammatical themes in school texts, Evaluating the efficacy of primary level Bengali text books like Pata Bahar, Kutmb Katamb, using bilingual modes, Socio-economic class and its influence on public school textbooks.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to a workshop that explored the role that Linguistics, and linguists, can play in remedying these inequalities by fostering mother tongue education in the domain of a multilingual classroom. The workshop began with an orientation to the workshop. During the orientation Dr. Dripta Pipali (Asst. Prof. CU) made the participants aware of the errors that are common in a multilingual classroom; Dr. Girdhar Rao (Asso. Prof. APU) outlined the importance of proverbs as tool for language teaching in a Multilingual classroom; Dr. Mukul Priyadashani (DU) highlighted the NCERT attempts in tackling the challenges of a Multilingual classroom; Prof Ayesha Kidwai (JNU) outlined the major concerns that a linguist should pay attention to in language education; and Dr. Tanmoy Bhattacharya (DU, & Workshop leader) presented a sample analysis of the class 4 MP Hindi textbook and gave pointers to various issues in the text that has to be resolved. He also spoke of the inclusive character of the multilingual education model and discussed in detail the potential of these tools to foster a inclusive society. After the workshop orientation participants were divided into seven linguistics groups namely NCERT-Hindi, Rajathani-Hindi, MP-Hindi, Bangla1, Bangla2, Dravidian group (Tamil, and Malayalam), Meitei, and one multilingual theme based group: Proverb group. Each group had a workshop monitor who guided the young scholars through theirs tasks. Each group took a certain text/theme from the given languages and analyzed it from the perspective of mother language teaching in multilingual perspective. After 4 hrs of intensive workshop each group gave a presentations highlighting the loopholes and the concerns about the texts/themes they analyzed and made suggestions where ever possible. After the presentation an open house was organized to discuss the next step and to share the experiences of the participants. The day two concluded with a vote of thanks from the organizers.
The undersigned organizers of the event would like to use this opportunity to thank Prof Ayesha Kidwai (JNU) & Asst Prof. Hari Madhab Ray (JNU) for their encouragement and timely help in raising the funds for this event. We extend our sincere gratitude to Prof. Rama Kant Agnihotri, and Dr. Tanmoy Bhattachary for their tremendous support and encouragement in bring this event together. We would also like to thank our center faculty and staff in helping us to make this event a grand success. We also appreciate the academic freedom provided in the JNU, that enables the students in organizing such events and we expect your full & equal corporation in our coming years IMLD celebration.
Hima S, Janani, Karthick, Mayank,
Meiraba, Sujoy, & Neelu
CSSP Lecture on Use of Wireless in War and Empire in Early 20th Century
The Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP) organized a lecture titled "Invisible Waves: Use Wireless in War and Empire in Early 20th Century" on 27 February, 2015 as part of CSSP Special Lecture Series.
In this talk Dr. Saxena narrated use of wireless technologies in the colonial states and during the 1st and 2nd World War. It is interesting to note that the wireless technologies started to interest the British colonial state in the late nineteenth century. It captured the imagination of the imperial powers even more dramatically during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-05. Wireless had certain inherent characteristics that made its use expedient but devious. Since it was air borne it was considered useful for establishing communication over sea and recommended itself for use during war. However, wireless was an ambiguous weapon as it encroached upon both sovereign spaces and international conventions of war. It challenged the limits of politically carved territories simply by being 'up in the air'. There was constant experimentation with new wireless systems across the world but their reliability and efficiency remained questionable. International commercial concerns, imperial interests and scientific innovation converged with wireless as they did for other communication technologies. Any company, irrespective of its place of origin, could cater to the universal imperial market. Hence, the wireless experienced an international effort to regulate and facilitate its uses. To a large extent these early manipulations tried to limit rather than enhance the various strengths of the wireless. In this talk speaker then analysed the dilemmas posed due to induction of wireless in naval warfare and in gathering news from the battlefront for the first time. She also looked at the context of military, scientific and commercial developments in the international arena that shaped these conflicts with reference to wireless. The lecture concluded after the comments of session chair, a vibrant discussion and Q&A session with the audience. Audio recording of this event is now available at www.mixcloud.com/cssp_jnu/, an open access audio channel maintained by CSSP, JNU.
Anup Kumar Das
Centre for Studies in Science Policy, SSS