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Historiographical Engagements in India: A Symposium in Honour of Professor R. S. Sharma

The immediate decades after Independence may be seen as heralding the move beyond the colonialist and nationalist frames in historical studies on India. Over the 1950s, '60s and '70s, scholars engaged with a rigorous interrogation of the political economy and society across the premodern and modern periods. Some of the key issues that were tackled related to the evolution of social formations, the nature of transformation of societies, caste, class and region as frameworks of analysis, political institutions and structural changes, and interrogating colonial frameworks of 'knowing'.

Professor R. S. Sharma, one of the doyens of Indian history, engaged with all these issues. In his work on the Sudras in Ancient India (1958), he not merely looked at the question of caste and its evolution, but also situated the colonial context in which caste enumeration and the close linking of caste with religion occurred. Similarly, his Material Cultures and Social Formations in Ancient India (1983) was ground-breaking work on the significance of technology, and transformation of the economy. His study of political ideas and institutions in ancient India (1959) underscored the importance of state power and hegemony, its ideological underpinnings and the nature of transformation of institutional structures as revealed in early Indian sources. While Professor Sharma's analysis of Indian Feudalism (1965), the nature of the peasantry and other social changes (1969), urban decay (1978) and concomitant ruralization of the economy have been challenged by scholars in specific regional contexts, the debate he and another doyen of Indian history D. D. Kosambi before him had raised continues to trigger varied responses.

It is to commemorate the scholarship of such a giant among scholars that we proposed this seminar on historiographical engagements. Professor Sharma not merely grappled with issues related to the distant past. His engagement with contemporary concerns was also very evident, be it in his vigorous opposition to communal politics or his rebuttal of racist interpretations of history. In this international conference, we sought to explore the work of scholars who shared similar spaces as Professor Sharma, raised the levels of scholarship along with him through a critical engagement with sources and contexts, and presented a view of Indian history that continues to be relevant today.

R. Mahalakshmi, Assistant Professor,
Centre for Historical Studies, SS

Friday Seminar Series at Centre for the Study of Law and Governance

A series of lectures/ seminars were organised by the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance during Winter semester 2012. In these seminars, scholars from diverse disciplines presented their research on various socio-political challenges faced by society in contemporary times. The first lecture of series was by Deepta Chopra, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK who presented a paper on State-Society Relations in Policy-making: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. She traced the key events in the formulation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) with a view to reflect on the dynamics and interactions between the Indian 'state' and civil society that led to the passing of this Act. In doing so, emphasis was given to the inherently political and dynamic nature of these interactions. The speaker concluded that changes in state-society relations in India are underway both in terms of an unprecedented wave of citizen action and involvement in policy making, and through the adoption of a wide range of strategies for influencing the content as well as process of policy formulation.

The next seminar was by Martin Killias, University of Zurich, Switzerland on International Comparisons on Crime and Criminal Justice with Innovative Data. He argued that Surveys have considerably extended the possibilities for international comparisons on crime and criminal justice. Whereas comparisons based on police and court statistics face serious problems related to offence definitions and counting rules, surveys allow standardizing definitions, methods and rules of analysis. With innovative interview techniques (computer-assisted telephone interviews and now computer-assisted web interviews), field costs of surveys have decreased to a point where this method becomes affordable across the Globe. While giving the examples of USA and Western Europe he claimed that we can expect many more discoveries once countries beyond America and Europe participate in such projects.

In the month of February, the centre organized a special series of lectures by Prof. Robert Grey, Professor of Political Science, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, USA on the conceptions of Democracy. Prof Grey spoke on the Competing Conceptions of Democracy and How to Measure It. In this he explained the vast disagreement about the conception of democracy among the scholars. He presented the minimalist, procedural, social democratic and the utopian strands of democratic thought. Prof. Grey argued that the richer the definition, the fewer are the countries identifiable as democratic.

Robert Grey presented his views on the Cause of Democratization: Structures and Processes. Prof. Grey while defining the causes of democratization stated that scholars of democratization divide into multiple camps, the most important of which are the structuralists and the process schools. The structuralists emphasize on the importance of economic development, pre-existing democratic culture, or a supportive class or the pre-existence of a rule-of-law state whereas the Process or agency approaches criticize structural approaches as deterministic and apolitical. They argue that political actors, not structures, create democracies and focus on how new democracies have been created. They emphasize particularly relations between dictatorial governments and their opponents, negotiations to introduce elections and the compromises they see as essential to the process.

He then presented his paper on The Impact of External Factors on Democratization Processes. In this presentation he argued that Structural and Process approaches to democratization treat countries in isolation, assuming that either internal structural features or internal political dynamics lead to transitions from dictatorial rule to democratic rule. However, such a perspective is unrealistic. Countries don't exist in isolation. Powerful international actors have worked to impede or promote democratization. In addition, such international dynamics as war and peace, or democratic diffusion/imitation also have an impact.

Supriya Roy Chowdhury from the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore presented a paper on Old and New Slums in a Rich City. In this presentation she argued that informality – unregulated wages and working conditions – defines the poverty of households found in both old slums and in new migrant settlements. This presentation draws on field research in Bangalore city on two sets of poor households -- new migrants found in temporary settlements in the city's peripheries, and slums located in old inner city neighbourhoods which house second/third generation dwellers -- to reflect on the rural-urban poverty debates.

The last seminar of the semester in this weekly series was delivered by Jay Drydyk, Professor of Philosophy, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada and Fellow of the Human Development and Capability Association and Past President of the International Development Ethics Association who presented his work on Displacement by Development: Ethics, Rights, and Responsibilities. He discussed whether ethics could play any role in proposing solutions to policy standoffs between developers and stakeholders. The case of displacement by development was discussed as an example of how ethics can point to a middle ground between 'managerialist' and 'movementist' perspectives. The central question of what is owed to the oustees is addressed by considering four moral rights to be realized in policy, in project management, and more widely in the public sphere.

These lectures benefitted the students and faculty members from various schools across the University and institutions beyond in exploring new dimensions of thoughts.

Rukmani, Ph.D. Scholar
Centre for the Study of Law and Governance

Special lecture on "Diwan-e-Sufi Ahmad Ali Qandhari"

The Centre of Persian and Central Asian Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, organized a special lecture on "Diwan-e-Sufi Ahmad Ali Qandhari". The lecture was delivered by Mr. Abdur Rahmin Ghafori, General Secretary PEN Club of Afghanistan. The speaker is based in Sweden.

Mr. Ghafori said that Afghanistan was a land of pain and sufferings over the centuries. But it was also a land of Sufism. Herat, Bulkh, Takhar and Kabul are the famous cities of Afghanistan as well as centres of Sufism. Ahmad Ali Qandhari, Ahmad Cheshtia, Khawja Abdullah Ansari and others are famous Sufis from Afghanistan. A sizeable portion of Persian literature is full of Sufism. Poets and writers like Rumi, Khawja Abdullah Ansari, and Jami have greatly contributed to Sufism in Persian literature.

Mr. Ghafori introduced Ahmad Ali Qandhari as a Sufi who was born in Afghanistan and lived in India in 19th century. The Sufi left a Persian Diwan (a complete poetical work) for posterity. Very few people in India, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Europe are familiar with the work. The speaker said that he was familiar with this Diwan ever since his childhood. Ahmad Ali Qandhari was his ancestor. He added that his forefather Mulla Saif Ali had two sons, Ghulam Ali and Ahmad Ali. He migrated from Dawar to Qandhar during the reign of Mohammad Khan. Ahmad Ali went to India and lived in Amritsar. Ahmad Ali became a great Sufi of Chishtia order in Amritsar and died there in 1893 A.D. and his tomb became a shrine for both the Hindus and Muslims of India to seek solace and blessings. Mr. Ghafori's father further said that the Diwan had been edited and transcribed in Nastaliq script by one Nizamuddin Husain in India hundred and fifty years earlier. On the death anniversary (Urs) of Ahmad Ali Qandhari, people from all walks of life come to see the Diwan as darshan. Poets and writers like Shahid Ismail Balkhi, Ustad Khalilullah Khalili, Shaikh Mirza Tahir, Ustad Maail Haravi, Prof. Mir Husain Jawadi, Talib Husain Qandhari and Dr. Mohammad Husain Behroz had recited from this Diwan in the presence of his father. Despite all this, the Sufi was little known in the annals of Dari literature of Afghanistan.

Thirteen years ago Ghafori's father had placed the Diwan under his care in Sweden and advised him to publish it, Ghafori went to Amritsar in search of the tomb of Ahmad Ali Qandhari with Prof. Aziz Abbas of Department of Persian of Amritsar University and the tomb was identified by Fariba Sarhadi, an Iranian archeologist based at Pune. He saw that the tomb had become a source of solace and blessings for both the Hindus and Muslims of India. He realized that he was a member of Indo-Afghan family. He felt that Ahmad Ali Qandhari was not only his forefather but he was a spiritual master and the forefather of all the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs of North India. He said that a Hindu family was the caretaker of this tomb for three generations. He met one Suresh Sharma who maintained the tomb with his brother Manoj Sharma. Their mother Mata ji Narbut Nath whom the speaker's father had met fifty years ago was also present there. She gave a copy of the Diwan to his father. Suresh's father and his uncle had been the custodians of the tomb previously. Suresh and his bother are continuing their family tradition of looking after the tomb with utmost sincerity and devotion. The speaker again felt that he was a member of a family whose one branch was in India and another is in Afghanistan. The vision of the Sufi was beyond political boundaries, dogmatic religion and narrow concept of race and language. His poems were full of love, humanity, sincerity and purity. He ended his discourse with hope that scholars of Persian studies of India, Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan would continue their effort to research about the Sufi poet Ahmad Ali Qandhari and his works.

The lecture was presided over by Prof. Sharif Husain Qasmi of Delhi University and attended by the faculty members and students of Center of Persian and Central Asian Studies. Prof. S.H.Qasmi said that it was an honour to preside over this function. He added that Indo-Afghan relation has developed over the centuries not by the invading kings from Central Asia but by the Sufis of Afghanistan. Many people and artists of Afghanistan over the ages had migrated to India and made her their home country. Khawja Qutbuddin Kaki Aushi, a famous Sufi of Cheshtia order, migrated from Aush which was a part of Khorasan. He said that India was a Sufi friendly country and all the Sufis and Saints loved to come to India. He said that Mahmud Ghaznavi vitiated the socio-political conditions of India but the Sufis ameliorated the sufferings of the people with the balm of their love and humanity.

Dr. Syed Akhtar Husain proposed a vote of thanks to the Chair and on behalf of the Centre thanked the speaker and the audience for making the function meaningful and academically productive.

Golam Moinuddin, Research Scholar
Centre of Persian & Central Asian Studies, SLL&CS

International Conference on "Gender Poverty and Human Development in Kazakhstan"

A two day international conference on "Gender Poverty and Human Development in Kazakhstan" was held under the auspices of the Central Asia Area Studies Programme, Centre for South, Central, Southeast Asia and Southwest Pacific Studies, School of International Studies. The conference aimed to highlight the ground realities in terms of Human Development and Gender Differentials in the various sectors of the economy. The conference aimed to bring to light the achievements and challenges envisaged in achieving the millennium development goals by 2015.

A two day international conference on "Gender Poverty and Human Development in Kazakhstan" was held under the auspices of the Central Asia Area Studies Programme, Centre for South, Central, Southeast Asia and Southwest Pacific Studies, School of International Studies. The conference aimed to highlight the ground realities in terms of Human Development and Gender Differentials in the various sectors of the economy. The conference aimed to bring to light the achievements and challenges envisaged in achieving the millennium development goals by 2015.

The conference was inaugurated by Prof S K Sopory, Vice Chancellor. Prof Saifuddin Soz, Member of the Parliament and PCC President was the 'Guest of Honor'. The inaugural session was attended by Mr Dmitry Bogatskiy, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Prof Christopher Sam Raj, Dean School of International Studies, Prof Manmohini Kaul, Chairperson, Centre for South, Central, South East Asia & South West Pacific Studies, and several international delegates from Astana and Almaty (Kazakhstan), Uzbekistan and other national delegates from India.

The Dean, Prof Christopher Sam Raj, welcomed the guests and the dignitaries. Dr Mondira Dutta, Conference Coordinator and Director of Central Asia Area Studies Programme, introduced the theme and explained the purpose of the conference. She highlighted that although Kazakhstan ranks at 68th position out of 187 countries in terms of Human Development Index (HDI), 2011, there remain large areas of concern. Poverty levels are higher among women, who constitute 60% of the poor according to UNDP. They have more difficulty finding employment than do men; earn less; and have to absorb, through their own unpaid labor, cuts into social services such as child care.

Prof Saifuddin Soz discussed about the rich historical past and the warm relationship that existed between India and Kazakhstan. He stated that one should not consider the statistical figures of various reports as the only factor in understanding the ground realities. Prof Saifuddin Soz talked about the huge arenas of work that existed, including the famous silk route through which trade flourished once upon a time between India and Central Asia. Prof S K Sopory, Vice Chancellor, spoke about the vast areas of commonalities between India and Kazakhstan and said it would be worthwhile to explore possibilities of developing memorandums of understanding between institutions of higher learning and universities in Kazakhstan and India. Prof Manmohini Kaul, Chairperson of CSCSEA&SWPS gave the vote of thanks.

The technical sessions that followed covered a wide area including Recent Political Developments, the multifaceted partnership in Kazkhstan, Education, Health, Economy, Disability and other areas of human development. Prof Farkhod Tolipov, Director, Education and Research Institute, Uzbekistan chaired the first technical session on "Political Development and the multifaceted partnership in Kazakhstan".

The first technical session discussed the recent political developments in Kazakhstan and its impact on the civil society. Dr Mukesh Mishra brought forward the new identity of Kazakhstan in the post soviet world. He highlighted how an independent Kazakhstan managed to conduct major political reforms that helped in the creation of a new political system which in turn contributed towards the development of new civil society institution, such as political parties and independent media. He further elaborated how the non-governmental sector has been the most dynamic having "great opportunities to draft breakthrough ideas and capable of offering invaluable assistance to the state in solving many social problems" in the words of President Nazarbayev. Dr Yelena I. Rudenko from the Institute of Oriental Studies, Almaty was unable to come and her paper on "Disabled People in Kazakhstan: Public Issues and Social Initiatives" was presented by Dr Mondira Dutta, the conference coordinator. Dr. Akbota Zholdasbekova from the L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, Astana spoke on the "Women of Independent Kazakhstan: Involvement in Political, Economic and Social life". She stated that the tendency of strengthening of the role of women in politics, even in electing them as Presidents and Prime Ministers gradually becomes symbolic in the current times. She spoke about how statistics testified that the states having less than 25-30 % women representation in the parliament and the government bodies, cope poorly with problems of protection of motherhood and the childhood, rights of the child and social protection. Dr Sanjay Pandey presented a paper on "Kazakhstan-India Relations: A Multifaceted Partnership". He highlighted the geopolitical position of Kazakhstan at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, economic and political interests and also the existing resources and industrial potential that determined Kazakhstan's place in international affairs as a medium regional power and objectively give a multi-vector orientation to its foreign policy.

The post lunch session, chaired by Prof Sangeeta Thapliyal, was on Kazakhstan's Economy and Trade. Dr G M Shah from Jamia Millia Islamia talked about the Spatial Analysis of the Gender Variations in the levels of Human Development in Kazakhstan. His paper highlighted how the gender variations remained sharp among the non-Slavic ethnic groups like the Kazakhs, Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Turkmen residing in the central and southern provinces of the country. The Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians mostly living in the northern provinces showed a comparatively lower gender gap among the levels of human development. Dr Mondira Dutta, in her paper on "Visibility of Women's Work in Kazakhstan", stated that almost 60% of the unemployed population were women belonging to the age group of 25-54. Most of the unemployed among the literates belong to the group who had obtained secondary education. It highlighted that in most of the regions of Kazakhstan, women despite having obtained some kind of training remain unemployed barring Atyrauskaya and Akmolinskaya. Women were mostly concentrated in the sectors of Education, Health and Social Work. They were more vulnerable in the labor economy as they tend to take up jobs that did not adhere to any safety measures. Dr Nawal K Paswan presented an analysis of "Income and Employment Effects of Cross Border Trade in Central Asia with Special Reference to Kazakhstan." He highlighted the landlocked nature of the Central Asian Countries as the major challenge in restricting the movement of cross border trade in Central Asia. The Central Asia region witnesses a low level of trade flows which are directly or indirectly associated with high trading transaction cost largely as a result of the landlocked geographical position and high administrational barriers.

The technical session on "Ethnic groups and Nation-building in Kazakhstan" was chaired by Dr Ambrish Dhaka. Dr. Svetlana Shakirova, Academy of International Business, Almaty spoke on "Gender Policy and Nation-building in Kazakhstan". She questions the established notions and myths in the area of gender and post-Soviet Central Asian nation state demonstrating its ideological non-innocence and links with Soviet (Russian) legacy, global colonialism and local postcolonial society syndromes. She highlights how women's equal participation in the society is jeopardized as a result of the traditional cultural norms and conservative values in order to justify women's inequality and disadvantages in labour market, political sphere and private life. Dr Mahesh Debata presented a paper on the "Socio-Economic Development of Uyghurs in Kazakhstan". Dr Debata stated that the Uyghurs of Kazakhstan are predominantly Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi School of jurisprudence, and more particularly adhere to Sufi traditions and customary law (adat). Uyghurs constitute a very delicate issue for the political leadership of Kazakhstan due to the relation between Uyghurs and China and internal Kazakh policies towards the non-Kazakh nationalities.

The post lunch session was on "Gendering Politics and Ethnicity". This session was chaired by Prof Ajay Patnaik. Dr Roza Sarbayeva from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University spoke on the "Post-Soviet and Modern Gendering Politics in Kazakhstan". The paper highlighted that the post-soviet period shows how politics became a 'men's business', dominated by clan (zhuz) interests and tribal resource allocation. Tribalism supported the rapid masculinisation of politics and they reinstated patriarchal values, discouraged women from taking part in politics, stating that women are supposed to be the "guardians of home and hearth". Dr Sharad K Soni, spoke on the Repatriation of Oralmans and their Socio-economic Integration in Kazakhstan. He spoke about the Oralman being those who usually came under the National Oralman Program from the neighboring countries of China, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Turkey and also from countries having significant Kazakh minorities, such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He highlighted that many of the ethnic Kazakhs who have so far migrated to Kazakhstan have not had an easy time, sometimes facing serious adaptation problems, including resentment against newcomers. A paper entitled "System of Higher Education in Kazakhstan: Challenges and Perspectives" by Dr Zhanna Kulakhmetova, L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, Astana was presented by Dr Nawal K Paswan as she could was unable to come for the conference. Her paper discussed the the Bologna Declaration and becoming the 47th full member of the European Higher Education Area. It stated that in spite of the fact that the Bologna process has been initiated by European countries, its principles and objectives completely suit the interests of the newly joined countries.

The Valedictory session was chaired by Prof G N Jha. The Valedictory address was delivered by Prof Devendra Kaushik. Prof Kaushik talked about women during the soviet period and the high respect that they carried in the society. They were educated and technically qualified. Giving real life examples he emphasized on their role in the society and the significant contribution towards the economy, society and political empowerment process. Dr Sharad K Soni gave the vote of thanks.

Mondira Dutta
Conference Coordinator and Director, Central Asian Area Studies Programme, SIS

National Symposium on "Microbes in Health and Agriculture"

A National symposium on Microbes in Health and Agriculture was conducted in School of Life Sciences. Over 250 delegates from different regions of India have attended the symposium, amongst 31 were the invited speakers and 12 were the selected young scientists. Awards were given to two young women scientists. A total of 102 posters were presented by the delegates and 8 best posters were selected for awards. This conference was coordinated by Dr. Atul Kumar Johri and was held under UGC resource net working program. During this two days symposium different aspects on use and role of different microbes (fungus, bacteria, plant pathogens, and human pathogens) were discussed so that they can be used in agriculture for crop yield improvement and for the better health.

The book of abstracts was released during the inaugural function by Prof. Neera Sarin, (Dean, School of Life Sciences), Prof. T.P. Singh, Chief Guest, (Professor Emeritus, AIIMS) and Dr. Atul Johri, Coordinator symposium.

Atul Kumar Johri, Symposium coordinator
School of Life Sciences

Lecture on: "Negotiating Conflicts in Deeply Divided Societies"

School of International Studies organized second SIS Guest Scholar Lecture. On this occasion Radu Carciumaru, South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg was invited to speak on "Negotiating Conflicts in Deeply Divided Societies the abstract of the lecture is under.

Abstract: This work seeks to focus on the merits of complex and hybrid consociational power sharing systems. One of its theoretical aims is to combine the usefulness and complementariness of negotiation theory and consociational theory. The ability to negotiate non-negotiable and irrational in mitigating conflicts thus emerged. This comparative research analyzes how traditional and modern approaches lead to innovative solutions, e.g. public policy, whereas the innovative solutions thus emerging lead to legitimacy, stability, robustness and efficacy of a power sharing system. The selected case studies of the research project are India, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Moldova. Experiencing different intensities of violent conflicts they were managed by differing patterns of power sharing arrangements. In case of the European states, various degrees of involvement of international actors have taken place. I analyze the (re)action and support of domestic actors in terms of efficacy and legitimacy of and involvement with central state institutions, perceived as de facto or de jure protectorates of the external powers. Besides the following aspects, such as: 1) little systematic comparative work on consociational power sharing systems has been undertaken; 2) understudy of India's case as consociational power sharing system;3.) unsatisfactory exploration of the relatively new practice of complex power sharing, implying also the effects of international and external involvement in the making, ratification and maintenance of consociational power sharing arrangements; the effort will be to contribute to the existing research on conflict resolution, by explaining how, when and why power sharing arrangements come into being, succeed or fail their purpose. It will argue and demonstrate that success, perceived as stability, resilience, efficacy and legitimacy of institutional arrangements as well as institutionalization of the state per se is achieved by a process of hybridization of indigenous traditions/legacies with imported/ imposed policies/concepts implemented into the design of power sharing systems. Inductively, the knowledge gained from the European cases of complex power sharing could serve as a viable tool and shed a new light on mitigation and management of such seemingly intractable and protracted conflicts as Kashmir and Sri Lanka.

Bharat H. Desai,
Professor of International Law, Jawaharlal Nehru
Chair in International Environmental Law, SIS

National Seminar on "Managing Electronic Theses and Dissertations"

The JNU Central Library in association with INFLIBNET Centre, Ahmedabad organized a two-day National Seminar on "Managing Electronic Theses and Dissertations" at the JNU Convention Centre. The Seminar started with an inaugural session, where Dr. Ramesh C Gaur, University Librarian welcomed the speakers and delegates and gave a formal introduction to the seminar. He informed the audience that JNU Central Library is establishing an institutional ETD repository for digital archiving theses and dissertations submitted to JNU. He also mentioned that recently JNU has signed a MoU with INFLIBNET Centre for collaboration in respect of creation of ETDs and participation in the Shodhganga initiative. Professor Sudha Pai, Rector of JNU, delivered the inaugural address, where she stressed on the importance of availability and accessibility of theses and dissertations in electronic format. JNU scholars always strive for consulting old theses and dissertations. But some theses remain inaccessible in physical form. If the same theses become accessible from a digital archive, current and future research students will be much benefited. In this session, the keynote address titled "Managing Electronic Theses and Dissertations" was delivered by Dr. Vinod Chachra, who is Member Board of Directors, Networked Digital Library for Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), USA and the President of VTLS Inc. In his lecture, he introduced a global movement towards achieving open access to theses and dissertations, where NDLTD assumes leadership role in initiating open access ETD projects worldwide. In his speech Dr. Jagdish Arora, Director, INFLIBNET Centre introduced its ETD initiative namely "Shodhganga" in collaboration with the University Grants Commission. Shodhganga is a national level open access ETD repository, where theses and dissertations from UGC-recognized universities are systematically archived and made globally accessible.

In this Seminar, six technical sessions were organized, namely, Session I: ETDs Policy Setting and Enforcement; Session II: Shodhganga: An Opportunity for University Libraries in India; Session III: Digitization and Digital Archiving of Theses and Dissertations; Session IV: ETD Systems – Selection and Use; Session V: ETD Case Studies; and, Session VI: Copyright and Other Related Issues Concerning ETDs. In these technical sessions different technological and societal challenges and opportunities, particularly which are encountered by practitioners community, were discussed by eminent speakers. This seminar also held a panel discussion on "Preservation and Access of Theses and Dissertations: Issues and Challenges", where panelists introduced long-term digital preservation strategies and initiatives at the national and institutional level.

In the valedictory session of the seminar, Dr. R K Chadha, Joint Secretary, Parliament of India delivered the valedictory address. Dr. Jagdish Arora chaired this session. This session concluded with summary report of the seminar by Dr. Manorma Tripathi, Deputy Librarian and vote of thanks by Dr. Ramesh C. Gaur.

This seminar provided a platform and a unique opportunity to network, share experiences and discuss best practices, enabling researchers and practitioners in the area of electronic theses and dissertations. This seminar also helped in sensitizing and awareness raising of JNU stakeholders for early implementation of ETD Repository in the university.

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

International Conference on "Colonialism: Experiences of India and Korea"

An international conference on 'Colonialism in Korea and India: Issues and Perspectives' was held on 23-24 March 2012, at the Convention Centre, JNU. The conference was organised by Dr. Vyjayanti Raghavan, CJKNEAS, SLL&CS and Dr. R. Mahalakshmi, CHS, SSS. This was part of the project being done by the two scholars on the same theme, wherein the former is the Project Director and the latter the Co-investigator on the Indian history side. While the project is funded by the Academy of Korean Studies the conference was supported by ICHR and JNU.

The themes covered were historiography, the colonial state, colonialism and social transformation, colonial policies, and challenges to colonialism in the two countries. Eminent scholars of Korean History and Indian History presented papers and discussed at length aspects of the socio-political, economic, cultural, and military, legal and administrative structures during the colonial period. The scholars of Korean history were Prof. Son Chun-Il from Yanbian University, PRC, Prof. Vipan Chandra, Wheaton College, USA, Dr. Pankaj Mohan, Academy of Korean Studies(AKS), Korea, and Dr. Vyjayanti Raghavan, J.N.U. However, Dr. Vladimir Tikhonov from Oslo University and Prof. Gi-Wook Shin from Stanford were unable to attend at the last minute so their papers were read and discussed. On the Indian history side the scholars were Prof. Sucheta Mahajan, JNU;
Dr. Visalakshi Menon, DU, Dr. Alok Bajpai, Dr. R. Venkataramanujam, MCC, Chennai, Dr. Rakesh Batabyal, Academic Staff College, JNU, Prof. Shri Krishan, MDU, Rohtak, Prof. Aditya Mukherjee, Prof. Mridula Mukherjee and Dr. R. Mahalakshmi from JNU.

This is the first time that a comparative study of this kind has been undertaken. The conference has been a major step towards increasing awareness and providing a forum for the scholars of Indian history and Korean history to exchange views on aspects of colonialism in the two countries. The discussions generated a lot of interest among the students and the faculty of Korean language and history as well as Indian history. The conference promises to initiate and give momentum to joint research in this completely new field. The papers presented will form part of an edited volume that will be brought out at the end of the project period. The publication could become a good resource material for the scholars of this field of study.

Vyjayanti Raghavan, Associate Professor
Centre for Japanese, Korean & North East Asian Studies, SLL&CS

Lecture on "Creating Socio-economic Value through Open Public Data"

The JNU Central Library organized the fourth lecture in the JNU Library Lecture Series and Outreach Programme on 17 April 2012 at the Central Library Committee Room. The Lecture titled "Creating Socio-economic Value through Open Public Data" was delivered by Ms Waltraut Ritter, Research Director of the Knowledge Dialogues, Hong Kong, and a Visiting Professor in the International School of Information Management, Mysore. Professor Krishnendu Ghosh Dastidar of CESP, School of Social Sciences chaired this event.

In this lecture Ms Ritter first introduced the concept of public sector information (PSI). Public sector organizations produce, collect and share vast amounts of information, such as meteorological, traffic and socio-economic data, health and statistical data, cultural information and others. PSI is the "raw material" for new value added services, but it is often difficult for third parties to re-use it. Many countries have updated their public information laws to adapt to the new opportunities through the digitization of information.

Then the speaker introduced the concept of open public data. Open public data (OPD) help in expanding access to and promote the re-use of data worldwide. OPD can enable new businesses to deliver innovative services, improve public sector transparency and efficiency and ensure decisions by governments are based on greater evidence and insights. OPD can expand the horizon of openness, and transforms public and private sectors alike. In this context, Ms. Ritter mentioned different worldwide initiatives of OPD. The European Commission published its open data strategy in December 2011. The Government of United States launched the Data.Gov portal in May 2009 as an integrated platform of OPD. An OPD portal for India, named Open Government Platform (OGPL), was launched in 2011, in collaboration with Data.Gov as Indo-US joint initiative. OGPL aims to promote transparency and greater citizen engagement by making more government data, documents, tools and processes publicly available. At the end of the lecture, the speaker predicted that OPD will encourage new forms of public engagement and will lead to democratization of government data. The Lecture concluded with the Chair's remarks and an exciting interaction with the audience.

Earlier JNU Central Library organized three lectures in 2012 as part of the Library Lecture Series and Outreach Programme:
1st Lecture "Documentation of Oral History: Experiences at South Asian Oral History project at the University of Washington Libraries" delivered by Dr. Deepa Banerjee, South Asian Studies Librarian, University of Washington Libraries, USA on 10 January 2012.

2nd Lecture "Embedded Librarianship New ways of building relationship with Faculty" delivered by Dr. Triveni Kuchi, Director of South Asian Studies Program, Sociology & South Asian Librarian, State University of New Jersey, USA on 3rd February 2012.

3rd Lecture "E-books: Choices and Challenges" delivered by Ms. Linda K Parker, Information Resource Officer, American Centers in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka, on 20 March 2012.

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


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