|JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY|
“International Conference on "Changing Global Profile of Japanese Studies: Trends and Prospects”
The Centre for Japanese, Korean and North East Asian Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, organized a 3 day International Conference on "Changing Global Profile of Japanese Studies: Trends and Prospects" from 6 8 March, 2009. Professor B. B. Bhattacharya, Vice-Chancellor, JNU, inaugurated the conference in the presence of H. E. Hideaki Domichi, Ambassador of Japan, and Mr. Nao Endo, Director General, Japan Foundation New Delhi. Professor Savitri Viswanathan, retired professor of Japanese Studies in Delhi University and one of the pioneers of Japanese studies in India, and Professor Kazuhiko Komatsu, a renowned professor of cultural anthropology and folk culture studies in Japan, delivered keynote addresses, representing India and Japan respectively.
Funded by the Japan Foundation and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, this conference was aimed;
To bring eminent scholars and academics of Japanese Studies (including Japanese arts, society, language, linguistics, literature, culture, economic, history, foreign policy, etc) from various countries to a common platform to discuss the status of Japanese studies in their respective countries and to share their experiences in the light of changing profile of Japanese Studies abroad.
Experts of Japanese Studies from France, Greece, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and India participated in this conference. Forty research papers were presented in a total of ten academic sessions. State and prospects of Japanese Studies in various countries around the world, Japanese language education and teaching methodology, comparative linguistic studies, Japanese literature, grammar, society, religion, art Japanese popular and high culture, Japan's foreign policy, cultural diplomacy, Japan's relations with India, Korea, Russia, Europe etc were the major focus of discussions during this conference.
The conference was concluded with an enlightening valedictory speech delivered by Professor K. V. Kesavan, yet another pioneer of Japanese studies in India.
P. A. George, Conference Director,
Symposium on “Recent Developments in Quantum Condensed Matter”
The School of Physical Sciences organized a three-day national symposium on "Recent Developments in Quantum Condensed Matter" from 5-7 March, 2009. Dr. Brijesh Kumar coordinated the symposium with the help of Dr. Satyabrata Patnaik and a group of dedicated student and staff volunteers. This was the first major academic event organized in the new SPS building.
Condensed matter physics is a huge and very active of area of research, concerned with the understanding of physical properties of materials. A number of important properties that materials exhibit are strictly quantum mechanical in nature. For example, magnetism, known to us for a very long time, is a truly quantum phenomenon. Or, the fact the copper conducts electricity while diamond does not could be systematically understood only with the help of quantum mechanics. Superconductivity, which if realized at room temperatures will hugely reduce the energy consumption, is an important example of the quantum properties of matter. Quantum condensed matter studies thus constitute the investigations of all such and related systems. A number of faculty members in SPS are actively researching on some of these problems.
The three days of the symposium saw very enthusiastic participation with undiminished intensity and liveliness. Apart from the invited guests from various institutions such as IISc, TIFR, IITs and others, a large number of participants were from academic institutions within Delhi (IITD, Jamia, IUAC, NPL, and DU) and the entire SPS faculty and students. The invited speakers consisted of a set of very eminent eminent Indian physicists, working on a variety of important and contemporary quantum condensed matter problems.
Professor Rupamanjari Ghosh, Dean, SPS, started the symposium by welcoming all the participants. Professor T. V. Ramakrishnan (FRS, Padma Shri) delivered the inaugural lecture on the issues concerning the strongly correlated electrons. It was followed by a number of exciting talks on different topics. The evening ended with a session on superconductivity in newly discovered Iron-Oxy-Pnictides (actively investigated by Dr. Patnaik's group in SPS). The successive days saw very active sessions with lively discussions. The School also organized a poster competition for the students, showcasing the research done in different labs of the School, running through the first two days. The Symposium finally concluded with a thoughtful summary by Professor G. Baskaran from Chennai, followed by the distribution of awards to the Poster-Competition winners and the announcement of the Gold Medal for the MSc Students.
Brijesh Kumar, Assistant Professor,
“Fourth International Symposium on “Frontiers in Molecular Medicine”
The fourth International Symposium on “Frontiers in Molecular Medicine”, was jointly organized by the Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, JNU and Uppsala University, Sweden.
The symposium started with an 'Introduction & welcome address' by Prof. Rajendra Prasad, Rector, JNU followed by address by Dr. Rakesh K. Tyagi Chairperson SCMM, JNU, and Dr. Santanu Dasgupta, Uppsala University, Sweden.
B. K. Bachhawat Memorial Lecture was delivered by eminent scientist Dr. Amit Ghosh (Emeritus Scientist, NICED, Kolkata). He presented his lifelong contributions and experiences under the title 'Growing genetic diversity among toxigenic vibrio cholerae strains: evolution towards higher virulence?' The V. K. Ramalingaswami Memorial Lecture was delivered by renowned physician Dr. Anoop Misra (Department of Diabetes & Metabolic Diseases, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi) under the title 'The metabolic syndrome: scourge for modern India'. 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. Two 'Special Lectures' were presented by Prof. Anindya Dutta from University of Virginia, USA and Prof. Anuradha Lohia from the Bose Institute, Kolkata.
The two day symposium covered a whole range of topics and included sessions on Infectious Diseases; Protein: Structure and Function; Genomics, Proteomics and Systems Biology; Immunology; Centre Biology; Pathogen Biology and Role of Nutrients in Diseases. Active researchers who have made significant contributions in their areas of expertise were invited from Uppsala University, Sweden and various Indian basic and medical institutes and universities of repute.
Dr. V. M. Katoch, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research , New Delhi and Prof. Samir K. Brahmachari, Director General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research addressed the delegates of the meeting with their views and perspectives and the role of their respective organizations in Indian Science. Prof. Samir K. Brahmachari discussed the importance of “Open Source Drug Discovery” a new initiative taken by CSIR. Prof. Rajendra Prasad delivered a lecture on the evolution of JNU with time, with special emphasis on achievements, facilities available and future requirements for cutting edge research in JNU. The symposium concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr. Suman Kumar Dhar, faculty at the Centre for Molecular Medicine.
Like the previous symposia organized by SCMM, the fourth symposium was also highly appreciated by all the participants and they looked forward to more such occasions where basic and clinical researchers can come forward and share their data, research experience with the young and the experienced researchers alike.
Centre for Molecular Medicine gratefully acknowledges the financial support from JNU and Swedish Research Council (SIDA) for an ongoing collaboration between Dr. Suman Kuamr Dhar from JNU and Dr. Santanu Dasgupta from Uppsala University, Sweden.
Rakesh K. Tyagi, Chairperson,
Discussion on "Contestations on Bhagat Singh: The Political Legacy"
On the eve of martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, Punjabi Students Association, JNU organized a discussion on "Contestations on Bhagat Singh: The Political Legacy". Gagan Preet Singh. President, Punjabi Students' Association, JNU started the proceeding by welcoming all the distinguished guest speakers.
Prof. Chaman Lal Chairperson, Center of Indian Languages, SLL&CS, JNU and Prof. Pritam Singh, Brookes University, London, UK were the speakers on the occasion. Prof Harjit Singh, Dean, School of Social Sciences, JNU inaugurated the function and Prof. Emeritus Gurdarshan Singh Bhalla chaired the function.
On this occasion a book written in Hindi by Prof. Chaman Lal titled "Bhagat Singh" published by Medha Publishers was also launched by Prof. Emeritus Gurdarshan Singh Bhalla.
Prof Chaman Lal elaborated on the various aspects of political life of Bhagat Singh. He mentioned how the image and the sayings of Bhagat Singh had been appropriated to take political leverage before the death of Bhagat Singh and after the death of Bhagat Singh. He also elaborated on the political ideas of Bhagat Singh and how he tried to propagate the idea of socialism through his writings and his field works.
Prof Pritam Singh also elaborated on the political appropriation of Bhagat Singh's image and how different pressure groups, separatist movements, political parties tailored the heroism of Bhagat Singh to fit it into their own interest. His lecture was more on the contemporary distortion of Bhagat Singh’s image.
The talk was followed by a documentary on Bhagat Singh titled "Inquilab" directed by Gauhar Raza. The program concluded with a vote of thanks by Gurmeet Kaur, General Secretary, Punjabi Students Association, JNU.
Chaman Lal, Professor,
“Kabir Memorial Lecture ‘Urdu in post-independence India: Present Scenario and Future Prospects’”
The Centre of Indian Languages, focused on the condition of Urdu language in post partition India recently. Kuldip Nayar eminent journalist, social activist and former High Commissioner of India to U.K., delivered the Kabir Memorial Lecture on the theme-'Urdu in post-independence India: Present Scenario and Future Prospects'. Speaking in beautiful Urdu, Kuldip Nayar referred to Urdu as language of common people during the freedom struggle which was promoted by national personalities like Mahatma Gandhi. He said that Mahatma Gandhi wanted Hindostani to be national and link language of India, which was inclusive of vocabulary from various Indian languages, but the Constituent Assembly adopted 'Hindi' as national language by the difference of one vote. Thus the Constituent assembly of free India defeated Mahatma Gandhi's favored language, which could have become the real unifying language of such a vast country. Kuldip Nayar spoke about his close association with the great Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, who also was from his home town Sialkot of pre-partition Punjab. He also referred to the genius of Iqbal, whom he considered as worthy of the Noble prize and who was no less than Tagore in his literary works. Incidentally Iqbal was also born in Sialkot. Kuldip Nayar shared with the audience that he started journalism with an Urdu daily 'Anjaam' from Delhi, after his migration from Lahore, and he covered Mahatma Gandhi's assassination in 1948. He later shifted to English journalism, seeing the bleak future for Urdu in country. Kuldip Nayar expressed his anguish over the deteriorating condition of secular ethos in the country, which affected Urdu language as well, which has been tagged to Muslims alone. He underlined the need of linking Urdu to employment, which could help the growth of Urdu.
Dr. Devinder Issar, Urdu and Hindi writer also spoke on the occasion, while the Chairperson of the Centre, Prof. Chaman Lal, referred to the potential of Hindostani as having the capacity to include the vocabulary of various Indian languages and thus becoming a Creole or real link language for this vast multi-lingual and multi-cultural nation like India. Prof. Shankar Basu, Dean, School of Languages, Literatures & Culture in his remarks appreciated the brilliant ideas expressed by Kuldip Nayar. Prof. Shahid Hussain and Prof. M. Jinabade also spoke on the occasion.
A day earlier, the Centre of Indian Languages, organized a screening of the documentary-'Urdu hai Jiska Naam', conceived by Sohail Hashmi. 'Dhhop Chhaon', Urdu collection of Ghazals by USA based Manmohan Aalim, was released on the occasion. Urdu website of Dr. Khwaja Ikram of Centre of Indian Languages was also inaugurated on the occasion by the Dean of the school. Discussion was held on the film.
Chaman Lal, Professor,
7th Annual Research Festival, "Biosparks 2009”
The School of Life Sciences organized the 7th Annual Research Festival, Biosparks 2009, on 6-7 of March, 2009. The event is primarily a student's research festival with participation from research scholars and post graduate students from various parts of the country. The inaugural session was held on the 6 March, with the presiding Chief Guest being Dr. Virander Chauhan, Director, ICGEB. The festival was declared open by the Chief Guest and also present to do the honours were Prof. Rajendra Prasad, Rector, JNU; Prof. R. Mudhubala, Dean, School of Life Sciences and Prof. R. K. Kale, Vice-Chancellor, Gujarat University. Dr. Chauhan gave a brief lecture summarizing the activities in the malaria division in IGGEB, and the present status of research. This was followed by the plenary lecture by Dr. Jerry L. Workman, from the Stowers Institute of Medical Research, U. S.A.
The events for students included oral presentations, research proposals and poster presentations as well as a panel discussion. The theme for the panel discussion was Indian Science in the 21st Century, Where are we lacking? The panel was chaired by Dr. Andrew M. Lynn, SIT, JNU and the accompanying distinguished panelists were Dr. Shahid Jameel, and Dr. Dinkar Sahal, ICGEB and Dr. Rohan D'Souza, SSS, JNU. The discussion lasted an hour with both the panelists and students voicing their opinions about the intrinsic and systemic problems facing scientific research in India.
The oral presentations included presentations from M. Phil and Ph.D students who discussed their scientific research work and the event was won by Ms. Sreoshi Chatterjee, School of Life Sciences, JNU on her presentation titled "Evolution of starvation resistance in Drosophila melanogaster population selected for faster pre-adult development and extended reproductive longevity". For the research proposals, students were required to present their ideas on a relevant research topic of interest which merits further understanding and their approaches to solve the questions involved. The event was won by Mr. Pankaj Prasad from the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, BHU, Varanasi, for his presentation entitled "Sonic Hedgehog: The new molecular targets of Cancer Therapy". For the poster presentation event, students were asked to present data from their research work and the event was a tie between Mr. Vibhor Gupta, Ms. Ashima Bhaskar, and Ms. Malika Singh, SLS.
The event hosted a number of invited eminent speakers from various research institutes such as NLL, NIPGR, ICGEB, AIIMS and IGIB in New Delhi as well as speakers from Delhi University and Jamia Hamdard University. The two day event concluded with a valedictory function with Dr. B. C. Tripathy, SLS, awarding prizes in the abovementioned events.
R. Madhubala, Dean,
National Seminar on “Education Policy and Practice in India: Emerging Scenarios”
Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, organised a two-day National Seminar on 'Education Policy and Practice: Emerging Scenarios' on March 13-14, 2009. The seminar deliberated on the contribution of social sciences to the understanding of education policy and its making in India. This assumes importance as the neo-liberal economic policies introduced in the early 1990s have altered the very organisation and structure of education in India, as also other developing countries. Amidst these changes, what is missing is a systematic review of the education policy-making in the light of fast changing global as well as national scenarios in order to develop a country specific response to the forces of globalisation. Further, education policy studies have not received any serious attention so far from the social scientists in India. Analysis and deliberation of education policy in India has largely remained an exercise of the political establishment and policy-making bureaucracy.
In all, there were 24 speakers from across the country grouped into seven sessions under different themes, namely, 'State, Society, and Education Policy in India'; 'Education Policy Making: Contexts, Processes, and Dynamics'; 'Access, Equity, Quality focus in Education Policy'; 'Globalization and Education Policy Shifts'; 'Educational Governance, Regulation and Policy issues'; 'Education Policy Studies: Social Science Perspectives'; and 'Education Policy- Politics and Processes'. The inaugural session started with Prof. Geetha Nambissan, Chairperson, ZHCES, welcoming the participants of the seminar. Dr. Saumen Chattopadhyay introduced the theme of the seminar, its objectives and an outline of technical sessions. The inaugural address was delivered by Prof. G.K. Chadha who tried to establish linkages between economic development and education. Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat, Chairman, University Grants Commission, delivered the keynote address. He expressed concern over the insignificant involvement of academicians in the policy formulation. While speaking on the complementarity amongst different sectors of education he highlighted that higher education is a resource which provides not only teachers for school education but also creates knowledge through research. He mentioned that higher education is a semi-public good which generates externalities, therefore everybody needs it. Since market is not efficient enough to provide it to the masses it is the responsibility of the state to ensure higher education for the people.
In the first technical session, 'State, Society, and Education Policy in India' there were two presentations by Professor Karuna Chanana and Dr. Parimala Rao. Providing a historical perspective, Dr. Parimala V. Rao spoke on the attempts made during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for introducing compulsory education in India by some Indians and British officials and the complex interplay of socio-cultural forces in providing direction (or misdirection) to the colonial education policies. Looking at the contemporary education policy, particularly from the vantage point of recent XI Plan proposals, Prof. Karuna Chanana reiterated that higher education is shifting to a corporate profit culture from its traditional image of an agent of social change and social mobility.
In the technical session II, 'Education Policy-making: Contexts, Processes and Dynamics' Prof. Vaidyanathan spoke on the emergence of private sector in education covering a wide spectrum from elementary to higher professional education. Prof. Sudhanshu Bhushan indicated general lack of discourses on education policy making particularly from a multidisciplinary perspective. He spoke on regulated control vs. autonomy in education. Prof. Bhushan highlighted the need to understand the underlying assumptions behind the policy documents. Dr. Archana Mehendale spoke on the policy dynamics behind making elementary education a fundamental right. Dr. Vinod Raina also spoke on education policy making with particular emphasis on the impediments to making elementary education a fundamental right.
The session III focused on 'Globalisation and Implications for Policy and Practice'. With the help of NSSO data for the state of Uttar Pradesh, Prof. Sachidanand Sinha tried to prove that the burden of illiteracy falls on those social groups or castes that have been deprived for long such as the ST and ST Hindus, and the social groups or castes that have been in the mainstream are less illiterate today in comparison of other social groups. In her presentation, Prof. Geetha Nambissan policy networks in the era of globalization that have negative implications for the state's role as a policy maker. Citing the work of Tooley, Prof Nambissan discussed networks of people involved in educational entrepreneurship throughout the world and looks at India as a big market with huge potential for business. These networks advocate for bringing investment companies and venture capitalists in education. Based on the NSSO data, Professor J.B.G. Tilak provided an analysis of different kinds of inequalities in access to higher education in India.
In the Session IV, 'Educational Governance and Policy Issues' there were four presentations. Professor. R. N. Mukhopadhyay's paper aimed to evaluate the school system in India in terms of qualitative and quantitative aspects, to compare the current practice with ideal situation as envisioned in policies, to diagnose deviations and to examine the changes in policies. Dr. Saumen Chattopadhyay in his presentation argued that the Government wants to achieve the goal of inclusive expansion but its neo-liberal approach towards education, particularly higher education and its treatment as a quasi-private good is contradictory. He discussed the pros and cons of the programmes like education loans and cost-sharing. Dr. G. Naga Raju presented a paper on the political economy of education policy reforms with reference to Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Rahul Mukhopadhyaya in his presentation pointed towards a general lack of the analysis of the policies in terms of intent as well as actual practice from a micro perspective from Karnataka.
In the technical session V, 'Access, Equity, Quality focus in Education Policy', Dr. S. Srinivasa Rao spoke on dilemmas of excellence and equality within the education policy contexts. According to him, the dilemma seems to be emanating from the liberal democratic ideology and the social democratic ideology. Mr. Arshad Alam demolished the myths of looking at muslims as a homogeneous category, particularly in the light of the Sachar Committee Report. Dr Minati Panda in her presentation observed that the Right to Education Bill does not recognise the importance of cultural resources in the learning process of the children. According to her, the Bill ignores multi-linguality, and destroys the role of mother tongue in developing multi-linguality.
The session VI discussed 'Education Policy Studies: Social Science Perspectives'. In her presentation, Prof. Poonam Batra cited the failures of the policy makers to recognise the existing realities of teaching-learning on the ground and the failure of the educators to monitor. Prof. Dhruv Raina spoke on the dynamic relationship between science, scientific theories and higher education in a historical perspective tracing the philosophical assumptions behind. Prof. Avijit Pathak began his presentation by defining sociology as a discipline of connectedness between individuals and the facts of social life, between private troubles and public issues; and sociology of education as connecting society through education curriculum and ethnography of school.
The seminar ended with a valedictory panel discussion on 'Education Policy: Politics and Processes'. Prof. R. Govinda observed that the Constitution provided a framework for education policy in the early years of its formation. He dissented from the prevalent view that we have good policies but lack in proper implementation. Prof. Shantha Sinha shared her experience of working with the NGOs and also as a Chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Prof. Arun Kumar shared some thoughts on the politics of education policy making. According to him, education, especially higher education, still remains elitist, bureaucratic and hierarchical.
The seminar was organised collectively by Dr. Saumen Chattopadhyay, Dr. S. Srinivasa Rao, Mr. Arvind K. Mishra, and Dr. Parimala V. Rao, with the active cooperation from the Chairperson, Professor Geetha B. Nambissan and all other faculty members of the Centre.
Perveen Kumar, Research Scholar
Seminar on “Disarmament as Humanitarian Action”
On 18 March 2009, the Centre International Politics, Organisation, and Disarmament (CIPOD) of School of International Studies, in collaboration with the Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI), New Delhi, organized a commemorative conference celebrating ten years of the Entry into Force on 1st March 1999 of the Antipersonnel Landmine Ban Treaty of 1997. This was the first disarmament treaty to be conceived and campaigned for the civil society. While these civil society initiatives were supported by a few governments they were opposted by other powerful state governments including the US. The successful conclusion and implementation of Landmine ban has since encouraged similar new initiatives including Arms Trade Treaty and Treaty for Ban on Cluster Bombs and so on.
The Landmine ban is today supported by 149 countries and these ten years have achieved destruction of over 40 million antipersonnel mines. However, in spite of India's strong disarmament credentials, India's record in supporting these civil society initiatives remains wanting. India remains among a small group of countries that has not signed this treaty. It is in this backdrop that the commemorative conference wanted to encourage an open debate in India to allow civil society to participate in India's disarmament policy making.
The conference was attended by large number of students, teachers and other experts till the very end of the day. There was noticeable participation of students and resource persons with varied backgrounds of academics, policy networks, armed forces, law, diplomacy and journalism.
The list of resource persons included Prof. Yogesh Tyagi, Dean, School of International Studies, Prof. Rajesh Rajagopalan, Chairperson, CIPOD, Prof. Amitabh Matoo, Professor, CIPOD, Lt. General (retd.), Dr. BS Malik as President, CAFI, Ms. Medha Bisht, Research Assistant (IDSA), Ms. Binalakshmi Nepram, Secretary- General, CAFI, Mr. Srinivas Burra, Legal Advisor, ICRC, Major General (retd.) Nilendra Kumar, Former Judge Advocate of Indian Army, Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, Professor, SIS, Wing Cdr. Praful Bakshi, Defence and Strategic Analyst, Mr. Bharat Dogra, Journalist & Social Activist, Ambassador Satnam Jit Singh, Diplomatic Advisor to ICBL, Ms. Reena Mutum, Coordinator, Manipur Women Gun Survivor Network.
The conference included the following sessions: on Debating Disarmament Treaties The Emerging Role of Civil Society and The Need for India to take a lead in the Disarmament as Humanitarian Action, a part from the welcome and the valedictory sessions.
Presentations and Debates
The chair of the inaugural session, Dean of SIS, Prof Tyagi set the tone as he described the theme of the conference as "ambition, accomplishment, and plans of action." Recognizing the role of civil societies in the disarmament process he stated that landmine ban treaty is an unprecedented success, never before had civil societies done something more remarkable than this. Lt. Gen Malik, then said that military solutions to counter new threats should not cause humanitarian problem. This was followed by a short documentary "Make it Happen" by Werner Anderson which is a photographic portrait of the human suffering caused by the cluster munitions.
Session II began with a presentation by Ms. Medha Bisht who revisited the making of the Antipersonnel Landmine Ban Treaty which has since transformed the contours of diplomatic practices. Ms. Binalakshmi Nepram underlined how "everyday thousands of people around the world are tortured, injured, or displaced by force armed with deadly weapons." She concluded by sharing the inspiring story of Jody Williams who was the main force behind Landmine Ban Treaty. Mr. Srinivas Burra explained the humanitarian law with respect to disarmament. He said, "Since World War II, the nature of conflicts has changed from international armed conflict to internal armed conflicts based on certain mandates."
Session III began with Maj Gen Nilendra Kumar outlining contours of ten years of journey since the Landmine Ban Treaty. He said that "non use of anti-personnel mines is now the international norm. However, India still has extensive minefields along its Western borders besides having stockpiles of millions of landmines." Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, took a hard political position on landmines and emphasized that" there is a need to broaden the concept of national security to include human security. "She stated that" banning anti-personnel mines is no doubt a humanitarian and political question. Efforts should be made to resolve border issues by joint agreements". Wing Cdr. Praful Bakshi, explained why India should take a lead in disarmament. He pointed out that 88 per cent of the arms are manufactured by five permanent members of the UN Security Council. This was followed by the screening of second documentary, this one on landmines, made by SARD and ICRC titled "Mind your steps".
The concluding session was chaired by Prof. Amitabh Mattoo. He outlined how "civil societies are playing a vital role in disarmament process. The Mine Ban Treaty was negotiated in entirety in 12 months." In his Valedictory Address, Ambassador Satnam Jit Singh, said "this treaty has translated pious promises into concrete action, making substantial difference on the ground and giving real hope for the future when mines will no longer contaminate countries around the world, when there are no new victims and when the very thought of landmine is but an issue of historic note."
Swarn Singh, Professor,
National Seminar on “Contemporary United Arab Emirates and the Emerging Indo-UAE Ties”
The Gulf Studies Programme organized a national seminar on "Contemporary United Arab Emirates and the Emerging Indo-UAE Ties" on 23 March, 2009. The seminar was inaugurated by Sh. S. Nihal Singh, Senior Journalist, who was editor of Khaleej Times.
The inaugural session was presided over by Sh. S. Nihal Singh and other two sessions were presided by former Ambassadors Sh. Ishrat Aziz (GSP Visiting Faculty) and Sh. K. P. Fabian (Former Visiting Faculty, GSP). The Director, Gulf Studies Programme highlighted the concept note and proposed a vote of thanks. A number of diplomats from the Gulf/West Asian region alongwith other retired diplomats and well-known scholars and journalists and other scholars attended the seminar alongwith students of the University.
The seminar emphasized the need for closer Indo-UAE ties in political, economic and cultural fields. There are over 1.7 Million (17 Lakhs) Indian workers in UAE and their welfare and human rights were emphasized. In view of the bilateral trade of over 20 billion US dollars, India's participation in the Free Trade Zones was noted. It was noted that there should be political contacts at the highest level. It was also emphasized that UAE has been cooperating with India on a number of issues including efforts to tackle terrorism. The emerging security and defence ties were appreciated while substantial potential exists in this field for further future cooperation. There was also a need felt for greater efforts on India's part to offer facilities to students from UAE in Indian educational institutions. There was consensus that UAE has made a successful attempt at Arab unity and the UAE federation has a bright future. UAE's moderate foreign policy especially its attempt to solve problem with Iran peacefully was noted with satisfaction. India's growing ties with UAE have become a model for the entire Gulf region. This is the first seminar which was organized by the GSP and perhaps in India on UAE which would give a boost not only to greater research on UAE in India but also pave the way to strengthen bilateral relations.
A.K. Pasha, Director,
National Seminar on “Right to Reputation and Human Rights”
The Centre for Promotion of Human Rights Teaching (HURITER), JNU, organized a National Seminar on Right to Reputation and Human Rights at the School of International Studies (SIS), on 31 March, 2009. The seminar deliberated upon the practice and praxis of "right to reputation" in India in the context of the recent judgment of the apex court in the Deepak Bajaj Case. Among the legal luminaries present on the occasion was the Hon'ble Justice Markandey Katju, Supreme Court of India. The full day seminar witnessed the exchange of a plethora of perspectives on human rights from lawyers and academicians, who discussed the implications of the Supreme Court judgment and the relevant precedents.
Professor Yogesh K. Tyagi, Director of HURITER and Dean, School of International Studies inaugurated the seminar. Dr. V. G. Hegde, Associate Professor, Centre for International Legal Studies (CILS) welcomed the gathering.
The first session was presided over by Emeritus Prof. R. P. Anand and Mr. K. D. Singh, former Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Sciences Research, Prof A. R. Vijapur, Department of Political Sciences, AMU offered different perspectives on the dimensions of reputation in relation to all classes of persons including women and minorities and the practical issues involved in implementing it as a right. Mr. K. D. Singh pointed to the potential implications of the judgment in relation to preventive detention cases and wondered whether the judgment would curtail the freedom of police action in law enforcement.
Speaking on women's right to reputation, Dr. Ranjana Kumari raised the issue of 'honour killing', which one of the scholars catapulted as 'dishonour killing'. Prof. Vijapur spoke about the apparent conflict between the freedom of expression and right to reputation in situations where racial prejudice and religious bigotry fans the venom of class hatred. He went into various provisions of International Human Rights Instruments such as ICCPR. Beginning with an exposition of the Ashokan edict on respecting the reputation of 'others', Prof. Vijapur contrasted the situation in recent times where entire communities are being vilified by vested interests in the name of freedom. He particularly referred to the controversy over Salman Rushdie's freedom of expression and the recent cartoon controversy in Denmark. The session concluded with the observation of Prof. Tyagi that 'right to reputation is often a hostage of state action as it is the discretion of state to act or not'. While the 'margin of appreciation' is important, to stretch the limits of the 'margin' would be counter productive.
Prof. Yogesh Tyagi presided over the post lunch session. Mr. Abhishek Awasthi, lawyer with the Superme Court of India, presented his assessment on the implications of the Deepak Bajaj Case judgment. Mentioning a number of precedents, Mr. Awasthi highlighted the case of State of Bihar v Lal Krishna Advani and others in which it was laid down that strictures can not be passed against a person without him being present as it would violate his right to reputation. He expressed his apprehension that there is lack of clarity on the legal and jurisprudential basis of the right of reputation, which reflects in the uneven and diverging opinion of the court on cases before it.
Mr. Robin Majumdar, lawyer, also offered his views on the judgment. Dr. V. G. Hegde criticised the judgment. He pointed out the various flaws in the judgment. He also criticised the adversarial form of adjudication that exists in our system. In a repartee to it, Prof. Tyagi said a criminal has 'more rights' to be exercised in the form of Art 20 & 22 to which seminar burst into peels of laughter. Dr. Hegde cautioned that the judgment does not augur well for the highest court of appeal. Prof. R. P. Anand said it was a poorly drafted case, in line with Dr. Hegde holding it unarticulated and not coherent. If this judgment of right to reputation is followed in conjunction with all other rights of criminals, then, the possibility of revamping the judicial system would be very difficult.
The valedictory session was graced by the presence of Hon'ble Justice Markanday Katju of the Supreme Court. For the benefit of the distinguished guest and the audience, Prof. Tyagi summarized the proceedings of the day. Justice Katju spoke about the evolution of the concept of 'due process' of law in the Indian and American legal systems. Justice Katju explained the penumbra of rights and how this system of rights came into existence in major legal orders of the world. He stated that 'reputation' is an intangible property of a person and an intrinsic aspect of his personality. The judiciary seeks to protect this right through creative interpretation of the law in an evolving society. He further added that preventive detention under Article 22 is an exception to Article 21. He quoted from the Bhagvat Gita: 'for a self respecting man, death is preferable to dishonour.' A lively 'Question and Answer' session followed, in which various research scholars raised wide ranging issues relating to various aspects of the working of judiciary in our democracy.
Mohit Kumar Gupta, Research Scholar,
National Workshop on “Financial Crisis and Recession”
A national workshop on "Financial Crisis and Recession" was organized jointly by Centre for International Trade and Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University and India Development Foundation on 17 March, 2009. The objective of the workshop was to discuss the genesis of the financial crisis, varied experiences of different countries, regulation of the financial sector in the industrialized countries and emerging economies, link between financial crisis and recession, transmission of the crisis from developed countries to emerging markets, impact of the crisis on India, and policy initiatives to mitigate the effects of the financial crisis and the recession.
Prof. Yogesh Tyagi and Dr. Sangeeta Bansal opened the workshop by welcoming all the participants. The first session was chaired by Prof. Satya Das and speakers including Prof. Bibek Debroy, Prof. Sugata Marjit, Dr. Mathew Joseph and Gurbachan Singh deliberated on the ongoing crisis and its impact on India. The second session was chaired by Prof. Krishnendu Ghosh Dastidar and included speakers like Prof. Jayati Ghosh, Dr. N. R. Bhanumurthy, Dr. Surjit Bhalla and Dr. Abhijit Sen Gupta.
The broad conclusion reached by the speakers was that while the crisis originated in the developed countries, it has had a profound impact on India. However, it needs to be kept in mind that India was already slowing down from the high growth rates achieved during the previous years even before the crisis had hit India. It was broadly agreed that growth in India would significantly slow down over the next couple of years and appropriate monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies need to be put in place to offset some of this slowdown. There was also a discussion on the impact of the various possible policy measures and the long run macroeconomic implications of initiating such policies.
The workshop also discussed the theory of banking crisis. What is the genesis of the banking crisis? What are the appropriate policies in this context? These questions were examined.
The final session was moderated by Prof. Shubhashis Gangopadhyaya and was an interactive session among the speakers and the other participants. A number of issues including the extent of the crisis in India, the appropriateness of the various policy measures etc were discussed during the session.
Sangeeta Bansal, Chairperson,
Lecture on “Limits of Democracy in South Asia”
On the occasion of the Dr. Lohia Centenary Programme, a special Lecture on "Limits of Democracy in South Asia" was organized by Prof. Anand Kumar in School of Social Sciences on 16 April 2009. The guest speaker was distinguished Political Scientist Prof. Paul Brass from Washington University, USA.
The lecture began with a vivid description of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia's political career by Prof. Anand Kumar. Prof. Kumar also suggested how Dr. Lohia, together with Jai Prakash Narayan got initiation into politics by their political and ideological guru Mahatma Gandhi. Prof. Kumar also highlighted Prof. Brass's erudite engagement with Lohia's movement and politics.
Prof. Paul Brass began his argument with the statement that going by the broad definitions of democracy, all the states in South Asia have a deficient democracy which he equated with unitary and military rule. All the states have dealt harshly with the minority groups reflecting their intolerance towards them, given the fact that many have been killed in euphemistically labeled riots. And this phenomenon is true for both India and Pakistan.
In his talk, Dr. Brass considered the democratic claims of South Asian states, which are based on independence from common colonial rule gave transition to democracy, presence of unitary/military rule and prevalent civil and military relations. In terms of common colonial pasts in South Asia out of five states only three i.e. India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had British regime. while Bangladesh and Nepal never experienced direct British rule. Transition from British rule to independence was mediated by nationalist movement and culminated in partition at the same time. It affected internal development and external relations, thus, retarding development in the region. This common legacy also had different meanings attached by different states.
Prof. Brass told that the nationalist movement also affected the two states of South Asia- India and Pakistan-as while it led to non violent movement by Gandhiji and militant Pak by M.A. Jinnah. The nationalist movement itself was non inclusive as the largest party- INC- did not have participation of all the sections. All the three newly independent states, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, arrived at independence with centrality of state in development process, which has been most in India, followed by Sri Lanka, but with a total lack of it in Pakistan. Almost in all the states, except in India, original commitment to Secularism has not been adhered to. India has experienced dramatic change from one major political party to multi-party democracy, universal framework and large voters turn out. There has been frequent passing of power from one government to another, this has strengthened the civilian control over the military. Popular participation has been intensified with peoples' movement, gradual incorporation of middle and lower class population in the polity and vibrant political party system.
However, flip side of this political scenario is that money and muscle power are used to gain control of public office to enrich oneself, the criminalization of politics and mobilization of violence. Also Prof. Brass terms Indian political system as characterized by process of caste succession. He referred India as "patronage democracy", characterized by high cohesiveness with castes.
In the case of Pakistan, however, no political party emerged and absence of political leadership has led to predominance of military rule. The inability of civilian leadership to institutionalize relations with military is a major issue; competitive elections are violated by violence, killings and coups. In the case of Bangladesh, democratic tradition has not been in a linear fashion due to intervention by corruption and military coups. Even though election is considered the only way to power, corruption in the process has marred democratic development. Also, the strong bureaucratic structure and its linkages with the political parties has been a major hindrance.
Sri Lanka, despite an unbroken history of civilian government has not emerged as liberal democracy due to human rights violations by ruling parties, voting irregularities, nepotism, corruption and dynastic competition. In Nepal, fundamental change has been taking place in political arena. Movement of power from religious domain to secular, inclusive democracy seems promising.
Prof. Brass suggested the idea of federalism is important in any democracy. While India considered this idea due to emergence of strong regional parties, Pakistan and Bangladesh have totally rejected it, and Sri Lanka has resisted it.
Prof. Brass concluded his lecture saying that concepts such as patronage democracy, illiberal democracy and greatest democracy are all misleading and it is difficult to judge the complex political processes taking place in the South Asia.
To sum up the lecture Prof. Kumar rightly said that Prof. Brass has given the factual description of political processes in South Asia without being either optimistic or pessimistic about it.
Ketaki Dwivedi, Ph. D. Scholar,
Lecture on “Genetic diversity in Indian populations and its implications in health and disease”
Abstract of Lecture:
Our study on nearly <10,000 individuals belonging to more than 200 ethnic populations of India, using Y chromosome and mtDNA markers, revealed that the tribal populations of Andaman Islands are probably the descendants of the first modern humans migrated out of Africa about 65,000 70,000 years ago. Our very recent study using 1 million autosomal SNPs further confirms that the Andamanese are very unique, and possibly contributed to the origin of Australian aboriginal and Southeast Asian populations. Further, we have also found that several novel mtDNA haplogroups have originated within India and some of them might be the source of mtDNA and Y chromosome lineages found in South East Asia.
As each Indian population is unique in its genetic composition, etiologies of genetic diseases are often different from other global populations. For example, in Indian populations, we identified an ancient deletion of 25 bp in the cardiac myosin-binding protein-C gene (MYBPC3) that is associated with heritable cardiomyopathies as well as with an increased risk of heart failure. Its prevalence was found to be high (`4%) in the general population from the Indian subcontinent. However, this mutation is completely absent among the people from the rest of the world. Mutations in SRY and SOX9 were found to be the main cause for the sex-reversals, but when we analysed several familial cases of sex-reversal, we found a novel region on Xp 11 involved in the etiology of the disease. Similarly, we have observed novel variations in DAZ, SPINK1 genes in individuals associated with infertility, fibrocalculous pancreatic diabetes, and recurrent early pregnancy loss, respectively. These studies suggest that the Indian populations are unique in their genetic origin as well as in the mutations underlying in the susceptibility to disease. Therefore, what is true for other global populations, in terms of their genetic basis for disease susceptibility, may not be true for Indian populations.
Rajiv Bhat, Acting Dean,
Lectures on "Buddhist Madhyamika Philosophy"
On March 12, 2009 Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies hosted two lectures on the Buddhist Madhyamika view, by Venerable Khenpo Kalsang Gyaltsen, and Professor Ani Kunga Chodron. These lectures were chaired by Prof. Shankar Basu, Chairperson, SCSS and were coordinated by Dr. C. Upender Rao, SCSS.
Venerable Khenpo Kalsang Gyaltsen, who is a learned Tibetan monk, and Abbot of the U.S. Seat of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism in the United States spoke on the topic "Bodhicharyavatara and Madhyamika Philosophy". After a short explanation of the Buddha's life, Khenpo Kalsang drew various parallels to show how the Buddha's personal life demonstrated the Madhyamika, or the middle way approach to life, choosing to live on the middle ground avoiding both the luxury of a king and the extreme of asceticism.
Venerable Khenpo Kalsang explained that Madhyamika philosophy is the integration of the ground, path, and result. On the ground level, it integrates the two truths, which are relative truth of the law of karma, and the ultimate truth of emptiness. On the path level, the 'Madhyamika view' equally emphasizes the accumulation of merit and wisdom, as the two wings of a bird which allow it to fly. On the level of the result, the 'Madhyamika view' makes it possible to achieve perfect 'Buddhahood' which is the integration of the two aspects or 'Kaya' of a perfectly enlightened Buddha, which are the 'Rupakaya' and the 'Dharmakaya'. Due to the accumulation of merit, the 'Rupakaya' is achieved; due to the accumulation of wisdom, the 'Dharmakaya' is achieved. In this manner, the 'Madhyamika' view is the basis of the Buddhas' ability to provide infinite benefit for countless sentient beings.
Reverend Professor Dr. Ani Kunga Chodron, who is an Assistant Professorial Lecturer in the Department of Religion at the George Washington University in Washington, D. C. spoke on the topic "Dealing with Difficult People: Advice from the Madhyamika Masters". Professor Kunga's talk opened with a comparison of Western folk psychological theories of anger and clinical psychological approaches to dealing with difficult people. She found santideva's advice in the Bodhicharyvatara to be much more sophisticated philosophically and psychologically, and also of greater practical utility in dealing with difficult people in ordinary life.
Professor 'Ani Kunga' explained numerous verses from the "Patience" chapter of the 'Bodhicharyvatara', which demonstrates that anger is an emotion that brings suffering to oneself as well as to others, thus it is a state to be overcome through the development of patience. santideva's skillfully demonstrates that the true enemy is one's own anger, not exterior conditions or 'enemies.' Her lecture analyzed the major types of anger described in the 'Bodhicharyvatara' and presented the meditations for overcoming these. She concluded with santideva's famous verses:
Unruly beings are like space,
The programme concluded with the vote of thanks by Dr. Ramnath Jha, Assistant Professor of the centre.
C. Upender Rao, Associate Professor
WEEKLY SEMINARS AT SCHOOL OF PHYSICAL SCIENCES
"Some Remarks on Entanglement" by K.R. Partharathy, ISI
"EPR Paradox: Local Reality and Separability" by S. M. Roy, SPS
R. Ghosh, Dean, School of Physical Science
© 2005 Jawaharlal Nehru
University. All rights reserved.