Videos

The Azim Premji University regularly organizes seminars, webinars and colloquium lectures involving members of the faculty as well as academicians, activists, artists and other distinguished personalities from a wide array of fields. This section consists of video recordings of  major events conducted at the Azim Premji University.

Reforming Public Services for Good Governance

B. P. Mathur

12/04/2017

About the Lecture

The quality of governance is a crucial factor behind the success stories of the developed world. India's dismal record in economic and social development is largely due to the poor performance of our public services. My talk will focus on the problems facing the bureaucracy, the lack of bureaucratic reform and our inability to reinvent for our times an outdated colonial system. I’ll seek to suggest appropriate reform measures based on the perspective of New Public Management so that public services are able to perform and deliver results.

About Speaker

Dr Birendra Prasad Mathur is a former member of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service. He has held several significant administrative posts including those of Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General and Chairperson, Audit Board. He has served on the Board of a number of PSUs, such as SAIL, NALCO, Hindustan Aeronautics. He has also served as Advisor to the Government of Afghanistan.Dr. Mathur holds Ph.D. and D.Litt degrees in Economics from the University of Allahabad and has widely written in the areas of Economics, Public Finance and Governance. He has penned two novels in hindi. His books include: Governance Reform for Vision India (Macmillan, 2005); Governance Accountability and Public Audit (Uppal, 2007); Ethics in Governance: Reinventing Public Services (Routledge, 2014); and An Alternative Philosophy of Development: From Economism to Human Wellbeing (Routledge, 2017). He has been Visiting Faculty at the Bajaj Institute of Management, Bombay and Punjab University, Chandigarh. He is recipient of the Paul Appleby Award for services rendered in the cause of public administration.At present he is Vice President, Common Cause and Chief Executive, Sambodh Foundation.

The Future of the Mangar Bani Sacred Grove and the Aravalli Hills of Haryana

Chetan Agarwal

31/03/2017

About the Lecture

Mangar Bani is a sacred forest grove facing considerable odds. It is located in the Aravalli hills between the capital city of Delhi, India, and the neighbouring suburbs of Gurgaon and Faridabad, a rapidly urbanizing area.The grove is reputed to be several centuries old and is protected by the local pastoral Gujar community of 3 villages, who hold that the spirit of an erstwhile saint protects the grove, and have numerous rules restricting extraction of biomass. As a result, and like many sacred groves, it is biodiverse and habitat for numerous trees, shrubs and herbs as well as avifauna. However, despite virtually complete unanimity for protecting the sacred grove in the Mangar village, urbanization and the pressures of real estate interests pose a challenge to its existence, and present a slippery slope for the commons’ stakeholders. The state government has recently declared a 677 acre area of the grove as a no construction zone. Despite the notification, the Mangar bani sacred grove faces numerous challenges.Despite its dense vegetation it is not officially a forest and the draft master plan does not acknowledge the grove. About a third of the sacred grove is owned by a real estate firm whose beneficial owner cannot be tracked and which has claimed to be growing wheat on land falling in the sacred grove. Thus land tenure, the forest and zoning regulations, and the privatization have all been stacked against the grove, and reflect the broader threat to the Aravalli hill commons in the state of Haryana, India. The presentation will walk the participants through the numerous challenges faced by the sacred grove and its stakeholders, in the face of creeping urbanization. It tracks the land tenure changes, the regulatory and zoning processes from the 1960s to the present with a focus on the period from 2010-2017 when many of these threats matured and a few stakeholders in city and village attempted to address some of these threats.  It uses the analysis to provide a window to broader questions of what is a forest, what is aravalli hills, what is a sacred grove, and how these seemingly simple questions have been hanging fire for decades  in India.

About Speaker

Chetan Agarwal is an independent environmental analyst and Senior Fellow with CEDAR (Centre for Ecology, Development and Research). He does research and consulting related to Ecosystem Services – the benefits of nature to society, such as biodiversity, groundwater recharge, etc. In Gurgaon and Haryana he has undertaken research and advocacy related to the Aravalli hills in general and the Mangar Bani sacred grove in particular. The presentation today is based on some of this work.  

Remembering Anupam Mishra: A Faithful Clerk of Ordinary People - Part I

Sopan Joshi

24/03/2017

About the Lecture

On 19th December 2016, Anupam Mishra breathed his last at a New Delhi hospital after an 11-month battle with cancer. He is best known for his 1993 book, Aaj Bhi Khare Hain Talab (Lakes are still Standing 1993). This book is a lively and exhaustively researched account of how communities managed water across the country. It has been translated into 19 languages, and has sold well over 100,000 copies. He joined the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi in 1969 as an apprentice in research and publications unit. During 1972-74, he was part of Gandhian leader Jay Prakash Narayan’s three-member team that engaged with rebels and dacoits in the Chambal Valley, and persuaded them to surrender. In 1973, he travelled to the villages of Chamoli district in the Himalaya, where ordinary village women had launched a struggle against commercial logging. He was among the earliest chroniclers of what came to be called the Chipko movement.The early 1980s drew him to Bikaner in western Rajasthan, where social activists were rallying to protect common pastures. These travels gave him a close understanding of how communities harvest rainwater and prosper in the Thar desert. His other popular book, Rajasthan Ki Rajat Boondein (Radiant Raindrops of Rajasthan 1995), is an in-depth illustration of how ordinary desert folk have valued and collected each raindrop.An understated man with a deep sense of social relations and a remarkable aesthetic sensibility, Anupam Mishra continues to live in memories of his colleagues and hundreds of friends and collaborators. At this memorial event, three of his co-travelers will trace the elements of his writing and his work.

About Speaker

Sopan Joshi worked closely with Anupam Mishra over a long period and is currently a research fellow at the Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi. In July 2016, Gandhi Peace Foundation published his book, Jal Thal Mal.Ramachandra Guha wrote his Ph D dissertation on the environmental history of the region that mobilized the celebrated resistance against commercial tree felling, Chipko. As an academic who along with Prof Madhav Gadgil charted out the environmental history discipline in India, Guha has deeply engaged with Gandhi environmental thinkers and movements.S. Vishwanath echoes the research and writing that Anupam Mishra began. Popularly known as zenrainman, Vishwanath has an avid interest in tracing the communities that engaged with open wells. Trained as a civil engineer, Vishwanath now works on water and sanitation management and governance issues in urban and rural India with equal ease and teaches an elective course on Water at Azim Premji University

Remembering Anupam Mishra: A Faithful Clerk of Ordinary People - Part II

Sopan Joshi

24/03/2017

About the Lecture

On 19th December 2016, Anupam Mishra breathed his last at a New Delhi hospital after an 11-month battle with cancer. He is best known for his 1993 book, Aaj Bhi Khare Hain Talab (Lakes are still Standing 1993). This book is a lively and exhaustively researched account of how communities managed water across the country. It has been translated into 19 languages, and has sold well over 100,000 copies.

About Speaker

Sopan Joshi worked closely with Anupam Mishra over a long period and is currently a research fellow at the Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi. In July 2016, Gandhi Peace Foundation published his book, Jal Thal Mal.Ramachandra Guha wrote his Ph D dissertation on the environmental history of the region that mobilized the celebrated resistance against commercial tree felling, Chipko. As an academic who along with Prof Madhav Gadgil charted out the environmental history discipline in India, Guha has deeply engaged with Gandhi environmental thinkers and movements.S. Vishwanath echoes the research and writing that Anupam Mishra began. Popularly known as zenrainman, Vishwanath has an avid interest in tracing the communities that engaged with open wells. Trained as a civil engineer, Vishwanath now works on water and sanitation management and governance issues in urban and rural India with equal ease and teaches an elective course on Water at Azim Premji University

Remembering the Nationalism of Republican Socialist Revolutionaries

Ashok G Choudhary

23/03/2017

About the Lecture

At a time when the nationalist debate is sought to be infused with threats and violence, we should remember that there are different streams of nationalism. The one espoused and propagated by revolutionaries of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) was anti-feudal and anti-imperialist. The ideals for which Rajguru, Sukhdev and Bhagat Singh sacrificed their lives was a Socialist Republic. These ideals were like a breath of fresh air and inspired the educated youth in the 1920s. Perhaps the concept of Republic was introduced for the first time in the nationalist struggle by this group. Later, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar developed the Republican concept in great detail and it has been enshrined in the Indian Constitution along with fundamental rights of citizens. The ideals of the nationalist stream represented by HSRA deserve to be re-visited when there is so much debate about nationalism and democracy. While we remember our forefathers in the Martyrdom Day lecture, we need to take stock of how much their ideas still inspire and how far we have to walk to ensure that their dreams are realized.

About Speaker

Ashok G Choudhary (born 1949) is presently President of Vikalp Social Organisation, Saharanpur. He has been working as a social activist in social and labour movements since the early 1970s. He has been interested in issues like land rights for landless peasantry/ agricultural labour, forest rights for the traditional forest dwelling communities, environmental & climate justice, social justice, community institute building ,women’s rights and secularism. Mr Choudhary is also General Secretary of All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Founding Member of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai and India’s Member in the Organising Committee of World Social Forum.

'Is the Whole World Becoming a Third World

Upendra Baxi

10/03/2017

About the Lecture

In this talk, Upendra Baxi shares several stories of the entire world becoming a third world. Used judgmentally, the expression cover’s a Philistine world which offers nothing but a solitary, short, nasty, and brutish life. Understood historically, the Third World is a creation of the Siamese twin of colonialism and imperialism generated by the First and erstwhile Second world. It also creates a fourth world of global impoverishment and 'disposable' peoples. Ideologically, one seeks to distinguish between the 'Third World' (of States) from a ‘Third Worldlism' (a state of consciousness of the people). If we were to romanticize a little bit, one would say the latter consists of an attitude of ethical insurgency towards the making and unmaking of the world, and of the peoples (democide). In that sense the whole world becoming a third world is a good thing, indeed!  The flip side of course is authoritarian statism, laced by popular (electoral) populism. We already see in Euroamerica an evacuation of the values fabled to have initiated development, progress, and equity measures, specially by the idea of human rights. Now we live increasingly in the 'endtimes' of human rights. Is the whole world on its way to becoming rightless? And is that a good thing? Also, what may be the future foretold by the advancing Anthropocene?

About Speaker

Upendra Baxi, currently Professor Emeritus, University of Warwick, and has been at the Warwick Law School since 1996. He served earlier as Professor of Law, University of Delhi (1973-1996) and as its Vice Chancellor (1990-1994.) He was also served as: Vice Chancellor, University of South Gujarat, Surat (1982-1985); Honorary Director (Research) The Indian Law Institute (1885-1988.) He was the President of the Indian Society of International Law (1992-1995.) Baxi graduated from Rajkot (Gujarat University), read law in University of Bombay, and holds LLM degrees from University of Bombay and University of California at Berkeley, which also awarded him with a Doctorate in Juristic Sciences. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates in Law by the National Law School University of India, Bangalore, and the University of La Trobe, Melbourne. One of the most prolific contributors to the corpus of legal writing both on India and on many contemporary global concerns, Baxi’s recent works include Future of Human Rights (OUP, 2008) and Human Rights in a Posthuman World (OUP, 2007)

Panel Discussion: India Studies Group -Part I

Probal Dasgupta

03/03/2017

About the Lecture

The panelists will share their views on the possibilities of social research on India. This discussion is the inaugural event of the India Studies Group, a new research initiative at APU.

About Speaker

Probal Dasgupta is Professor of Linguistics at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. His publications include, Inhabiting Human Languages: The Substantivist Visualization (2012) and The Otherness of English: India’s Auntie Language Syndrome (1993).Ramachandra Guha is an historian and independent scholar based in Bangalore. He has recently published, Democrats and Dissenters (2016) and Gandhi Before India (2013). Shail Mayaram is an historian at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. Her publications include Against History, Against State: Counterperspectives from the Margins (2003) and the co-edited Philosophy as Samvada and Svaraj: Dialogical Meditations on Daya krishna and Ramchandra Gandhi (2014)Ashis Nandy is among the leading cultural critics in the country and a Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. His publications include the classic, The Intimate Enemy (1983), and, more recently, Regimes of Narcissism and Regimes of Dissent (2013). Prasanna is a theatre director and founder of Charaka, a Multipurpose Women’s Handloom Co-operative in Bhimanakone.  He has written Indian Method in Acting (2013) and Shudraragona Banni (Let us Become Shudras, 2015).

Panel Discussion: India Studies Group -Part II

Probal Dasgupta

03/03/2017

About the Lecture

The panelists will share their views on the possibilities of social research on India. This discussion is the inaugural event of the India Studies Group, a new research initiative at APU.

About Speaker

Probal Dasgupta is Professor of Linguistics at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. His publications include, Inhabiting Human Languages: The Substantivist Visualization (2012) and The Otherness of English: India’s Auntie Language Syndrome (1993).Ramachandra Guha is an historian and independent scholar based in Bangalore. He has recently published, Democrats and Dissenters (2016) and Gandhi Before India (2013). Shail Mayaram is an historian at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. Her publications include Against History, Against State: Counterperspectives from the Margins (2003) and the co-edited Philosophy as Samvada and Svaraj: Dialogical Meditations on Daya krishna and Ramchandra Gandhi (2014)Ashis Nandy is among the leading cultural critics in the country and a Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. His publications include the classic, The Intimate Enemy (1983), and, more recently, Regimes of Narcissism and Regimes of Dissent (2013). Prasanna is a theatre director and founder of Charaka, a Multipurpose Women’s Handloom Co-operative in Bhimanakone.  He has written Indian Method in Acting (2013) and Shudraragona Banni (Let us Become Shudras, 2015).

Persian in India's Literary Ecology: The Case of a 17th Century Persian Ramayana

Prashant Keshavmurthy

17/02/2017

About the Lecture

Following a brief survey of the millennial life of Persian in South Asia, this lecture will offer the case study of Masih’s early seventeenth century Masnavi-i Rām va Sitā, a Persian verse translation of Vālmiki’s Sanskrit epic Rāmāyana. It opens by remarking on a shift in the study of the relations between poetics and politics of Persian translations of Indic texts. Then, purporting to complicate understanding of this relation, it takes issue with prior studies of this poem before answering the following questions these studies fail to pose: how does the prophetological metaphysics of the prefatory chapters relate to the poetics of emotion in the main body of his tale? And: what does this relation let us infer of Masih’s theological conception of translation?

About Speaker

Prashant Keshavmurthy is Associate Professor of Persian-Iranian Studies in the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, Montreal. He is the author of Persian Authorship and Canonicity in Late Mughal Delh :     Building an Ark   (https://www.routledge.com/Persian-Authorship-and-Canonicity-in-Late-Mugh..., Routledge, 2016) and is currently working on a study of Mughal Persian reading practices. His interests include pre-modern literary theory and Persian-Urdu literatures.

Riding Singularities with Second Half Technologies

Vijay Chandru

10/02/2017

About the Lecture

We are in an exceptional era in which we have the confluence of at least three technologies (mechanical automation, computing & communications and molecular biology) that have reached exponential scale. We call them second half technologies invoking the metaphor of exponential growth embodied in the fable of Paal Payasam and rice grains doubling on the squares of a chessboard. How do we work, progress and prosper in this context of brilliant technology innovations that are appearing out of the woodworks at an alarming rate? Recombinant innovation seems to be a key strategy that translational research and entrepreneurship in India can look forward to in the next decade.  

About Speaker

Vijay Chandru earned his doctorate in Decision Sciences at MIT in 1982 and joined the faculty of Engineering at Purdue soon after. He served as a professor at Purdue for the next ten years before returning to join the faculty at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. He was elected a fellow of the Indian Academies of Science and Engineering. He is the current president of the Operations Research Society of India for a two year term 2017-2018. Professor Chandru serves as an adjunct faculty member of BioSystems Science & Engineering and a visiting professor of the Robert Bosch Centre for CyberPhysical Systems at IISc.  He was a co-inventor of the “Simputer” which was India’s visionary contribution to handheld computing that was launched in 2001.  He now leads India’s leading precision medicine company Strand Life Sciences, the first example of faculty entrepreneurship in India.  He was awarded the President’s Medal of INFORMS (Institute for Operations research and Management Science, USA) and Technology Pioneer of the World Economic Forum in 2006. India Today included him in the list of 50 Pioneers of Change in 2008.