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.

Sustainable Solutions to the Civic Issues of Burgeoning Cities

K P Singh

16/02/2018

About the Lecture

Urbanization is a reality of our times. In last 20 years, it has been rather rapid. As a result, the infrastructure to deal with civic issues has seriously lagged, resulting in all kinds of issues - scarcity of potable water, overflowing sewage, mountains of garbage and seriously poor quality of air. All of us must have seen the ad where Sri Amitabh Bachchan says that 13 of the most pollutedcities of the world are in India! We must also have heard about the garbage mountains of Delhi competing with Qutub Minar. We must also have heard about world famous lakes of Bengaluru - the lakes that often catch fire - theBellandur and Varthur lakes. We must also have read that almost 2.5 million people in India died of pollution in 2015 and almost 27% of all the deaths in India are caused by pollution. That NGT, High courts and Supreme court have been pulling up state and central governments on various civic issues is also known to most of us. Our cities indeed are facing serious civic and environmental challenges. Do we have solutions? Doable ones? Fortunately,the answer is - YES. This talk will examine what can be done to deal withthese issues in a sustainable way with example from our very own city, Bengaluru.

About Speaker

K P Singh is a civic, environmental and political activist, living in the city ofBengaluru. He has been active on the issues of Lake protection and rejevenation, rain water management, waste water treatment, solid waste management, traffic and pedestrian mobility issues of Bengaluru, from over 10 years. He has been active participant of his RWA for over 10 years as memberof Managing Committee, General Secretary and President. During this period, he had executed several pioneering initiatives in his residential colony, Rainbow Drive to make it a model, sustainable community. Prior to that he spent over 20 years in telecom R&D and internet security related product development and services. These days, he spends his maximum time in supporting the ongoing movement to secure remunerative prices for farmers and to enable them to become debt and suicide free, through a consortium called All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Commitee ( AIKSCC), of which, Swaraj Abhiyan (led by Yogendra Yadav) is a very important constituent.

A Brief Introduction to the PPST Movement

Sunil Sahasrabudhey

01/02/2018

About the Lecture

The talk offers an account of the origins and evolution of the Patriotic and People-Oriented Science and Technology (PPST) movement that was founded in Chennai in 1979. Questioning the presumed universalism of modern science, the PPST movement tried to recover scientific and other knowledge traditions within India It concludes with a discussion of the Lokavidya initiative that emerged out of the third Congress of the PPST held in Kanpur in the mid-1990s.

About Speaker

Scholar and Activist, Vidya Ashram, Varanasi.

Contextualizing Family Change in India

Sonalde Desai

19/01/2018

About the Lecture

Economic transformation combined with rising education has wrought changes in family formation around the world. This presentation will compare the Indian experience with that experienced by East and Southeast Asian nations. Explanations focus on structural and ideological changes related to socioeconomic development, cultural factors including kinship system, religion and ethnicity, and public policies. While the impact of rapid modernization and related ideational changes are evident, there are also changes, or lack thereof, that cannot be explained by development and may be attributable to historical and cultural factors that have shaped family norms in the region. Description of the commonalities and divergences between Indian and East and Southeast Asian nations will be supplemented by some analyses of the lifestyles of families in the vanguard of Indian transformation that choose to limit their families to a single child

About Speaker

Sonalde Desai is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland with a joint appointment as Senior Fellow at the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). She is a demographer whose work deals primarily with human development in developing countries with a particular focus on gender and class inequalities. She studies employment, education and maternal and child health outcomes by locating them within the political economy of the region. While much of her research focuses on India, she has also undertaken comparative studies across South Asia, Latin America, and Sub Saharan Africa. She has led the India Human Development Survey (IHDS) since 2003. The IHDS is the first nationwide panel survey in India and designed to trace changes in the Indian society in an era of rapid transformation. The IHDS is in the public domain and is being used by over 9000 researchers worldwide. Sonalde has published extensively in a variety of Indian and international journals and has also served on the editorial board of several journals. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Maryland and underwent post-doctoral training at the University of Chicago and The RAND Corporation. 

Human Rights and the Everyday Urban

Prem Chandavarkar

12/01/2018

About the Lecture

While an idealist position tends to assume the notion of human rights is established and axiomatic, our history in the universalisation of rights is very recent, and there is much work to be done on further conceptualisation.  A major disconnect is that human rights are defined and protected at the scale of the nation state but must be negotiated on a daily basis at the scale of thecity. The consequence, particularly in the case of a country like India, is that we assume models of urban planning and governance whose inherent protocols exclude, by definition, substantive portions of our urban population. The fact that we barely perceive this reveals the distance between the ideal ofrights and our imagination of the city.

To build just cities, it is insufficient to literally rescale our models of humanrights from the nation to the city. At the national level, rights are predicated on a definition of citizenship that is held relatively stable by the protocols of immigration, whereas the city thrives on migration and mobility.  Rights at theurban level will need to be based on protocols of recognition and inhabitation rather than a juridical foundation of citizenship. Once one seeks to buildhuman rights on the basis of inhabitation and daily routine, one runs up against a paradoxical relationship between the impulse to form community andthe moral standard of rights.  Both are essential to a healthy society, but community evolves on the recognition of similarity whereas rights evolve onthe allowance granted to difference. The presentation will explore theimplications of seeking to apply citizenship, community and rights to theeveryday urban; and propose some directions to be explored to redefine theurban public realm as a space of human rights.

About Speaker

Prem Chandavarkar is the managing partner of CnT Architects: an award-winning and widely-published architectural practice based in Bangalore, India. He is a former Executive Director of Srishti School of Art Design & Technology in Bangalore and is an academic advisor and guest faculty at Indian and international colleges of architecture. Besides his design practice at CnT, he writes, lectures and blogs on architecture, urbanism, art, cultural studies, philosophy, politics, and education.

5th Dabholkar-Kalburgi Memorial Lecture “Shaping Identity: Nationalism, Secularism and Democracy”

Romila Thapar

15/11/2017

About the Lecture

Nationalism is a historically specific concept that arises at a particular point in the modern history of many societies. It is not to be found in ancient times. It relates to the change in the identities of a society from those that existed in earlier times to a new identity born of historical change. The earlier identities were determined by links to a community determined by religious, caste-based or linguistic connections. These gradually give way to recognising the new identity of the citizen incorporating the rights and duties of the citizen viz-a-vis the state. This calls for a re-orientation of what is required from the state. This change is closely linked to secularism and to a democratic polity.

About the Dabholkar-Kalburgi Series

According to the Indian constitution, every citizen has the duty to promote scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of enquiry and reform. Dr.Narendra Dabholkar (1945-2013) and Prof MM Kalburgi (1938-2015),  true advocates of this spirit, fell prey to the bullets of assassins. To remember the brave efforts of these rationalists and to commemorate their work, Azim Premji University started the Dabholkar-Kalburgi lecture series in 2013.

About Speaker

Dr. Romila Thapar is Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Born in 1931 at Lucknow, after graduating from Punjab University, Dr. Thapar earned her Ph.D. from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1958. In her vast body of work are included books on Aśoka and the Decline of the MauryasAncient Indian Social History: Some InterpretationsThe Aryan: Recasting ConstructsThe Past before Us: Historical Traditions of Early North IndiaThe Past As Present: Forging Contemporary Identities Through History and a recent book based on a long interview with her Talking History. While she accepts awards and Fellowships from academic institutions/ peers, Dr. Thapar is known to have refused awards from the Government in 1992 and 2005.

The Lure of Fascism: Agonies and Delights

Rakesh Shukla

10/11/2017

About the Lecture

The present exploration while assuming the universality of certain aspects of the psyche which enmesh with an ideology like fascist-fundamentalism looks at the phenomenon in India. It attempts to understand the support of a sizable section of people to the considerable growth of a fascist fundamentalism in the past twenty-five years in Indian society. It tries to articulate the factors, pre-dominantly unconscious, in the psyche of the Indian Hindu male which somewhere fit into or play a role in the mobilization for a fascist agenda. The nature of husband-wife relations in society, the close ‘mother-son’ bond are examined in the context of the development of the personality of a growing boy. The suppression of sexuality, valorisation of celibacy, idealization of mother, the model of the obedient son with no room for ambivalence and the feelings of inadequacy, frustrations and rage engendered form a central focus.  The processes of idealization, splitting, and projection which result in the demonization by the Hindu community of the “other” Muslim community leading to violence are examined in this context.

About Speaker

Rakesh Shukla has more than three decades of engagement with law, movements for social change, constitutional jurisprudence, human rights and justice melded with training and practice in psychodynamic therapy. He was worked on minimizing the impact of biases, prejudices, and stereotypes in the judicial decision-making process at the National Judicial Academy and State Judicial Academies. He also worked with Forest Service officers in the context of law and governance at Tata Institute of Social Sciences.  He has written in the areas of law, social phenomena, and psychology in newspapers, websites, and journals including the International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytical Studies. He has contributed chapters in well-known edited books

Contemporary West Bengal: A Panel Discussion- Part 2

Swati Bhattacharya and Rajat Roy

27/10/2017

About the Lecture

1.    Change, Non-change, Undoing Change: The Land Question In West Bengal (Swati Bhattacharya)

The "Paribartan" Mamata Bandopadhyay promised was actually a promise of status quo. In the last six years, non-acquisition has remained the mainstay of her politics and her policy. That industry has not reacted positively is known well. More importantly, the allegation of forcible acquisition of land, and aggressive popular movements opposing acquisition have placed her on the same dock as her predecessors. The political gain has receded, and relation of land to development remains as vexatious a question as ever.

Less discussed, but more troublesome, is the slow erosion of the gains of land reform. Informal tenancy has increased steeply, and waiving land taxes has further jeopardised proof of ownership. A larger section of the cultivators are being pushed outside formal credit and insurance structures, deepening insecurity and intensifying resentment of the political class.

2.    The Rise of the BJP in Bengal (Rajat Roy)

Ever since Partition, West Bengal's political scene has been dominated by liberal-secular politics. The left of centre (Congress) and Left parties ruled the state successively and the politics of the Hindu Right never got any takers. Yet, of late, the BJP is trying to enter Bengal politics with renewed energy. The common perception is that BJP will be able to occupy a sizeable political space in the state and establish itself as the main opposition party in near future. What are the reasons for that perception?Is the liberal secular ideology interchangeable with Hindu communal thinking?  

About Speaker

Swati Bhattacharjee is Senior Assistant Editor, ABP. She works for the Editorial pages and writes on poverty alleviation schemes, agriculture, self-governance and women's self-help groups. She has a PhD in Social Science from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She has received several fellowships, most recently the Nehru-Fulbright Fellowship in 2010-11, during the tenure of which she was in J-PAL, MIT, Cambridge, USA. Swati is also the General Secretary of South Asian Women in Media, India.

Rajat Roy is a senior journalist and a political commentator with long exposure in both print and electronic media. After working for Anandabazar Patrika for 18 years, where he also served as Chief of Bureau (Delhi), News Editor and Associate Editor (News), he left ABP to join a startup 24x7 Bengali news channel (Kolkata TV). Then he left it and started working as a free lance journalist. From 2009 to 2013 he was associated with Business Standard. He was also engaged by Prothom Alo (leading daily of Bangaldesh) as Editorial Consultant. He also takes part in talk show of various news channels. Besides that, he contributes articles to a number of news portals, newspapers & journals that includes The Quint, Catch News, Deccan Herald, EPW, Seminar etc.

Contemporary West Bengal: A Panel Discussion- Part 1

Swati Bhattacharya and Rajat Roy

27/10/2017

About the Lecture

1.    Change, Non-change, Undoing Change: The Land Question In West Bengal (Swati Bhattacharya)

The "Paribartan" Mamata Bandopadhyay promised was actually a promise of status quo. In the last six years, non-acquisition has remained the mainstay of her politics and her policy. That industry has not reacted positively is known well. More importantly, the allegation of forcible acquisition of land, and aggressive popular movements opposing acquisition have placed her on the same dock as her predecessors. The political gain has receded, and relation of land to development remains as vexatious a question as ever.

Less discussed, but more troublesome, is the slow erosion of the gains of land reform. Informal tenancy has increased steeply, and waiving land taxes has further jeopardised proof of ownership. A larger section of the cultivators are being pushed outside formal credit and insurance structures, deepening insecurity and intensifying resentment of the political class.

2.    The Rise of the BJP in Bengal (Rajat Roy)

Ever since Partition, West Bengal's political scene has been dominated by liberal-secular politics. The left of centre (Congress) and Left parties ruled the state successively and the politics of the Hindu Right never got any takers. Yet, of late, the BJP is trying to enter Bengal politics with renewed energy. The common perception is that BJP will be able to occupy a sizeable political space in the state and establish itself as the main opposition party in near future. What are the reasons for that perception?Is the liberal secular ideology interchangeable with Hindu communal thinking?   

About Speaker

Swati Bhattacharjee is Senior Assistant Editor, ABP. She works for the Editorial pages and writes on poverty alleviation schemes, agriculture, self-governance and women's self-help groups. She has a PhD in Social Science from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She has received several fellowships, most recently the Nehru-Fulbright Fellowship in 2010-11, during the tenure of which she was in J-PAL, MIT, Cambridge, USA. Swati is also the General Secretary of South Asian Women in Media, India.

Rajat Roy is a senior journalist and a political commentator with long exposure in both print and electronic media. After working for Anandabazar Patrika for 18 years, where he also served as Chief of Bureau (Delhi), News Editor and Associate Editor (News), he left ABP to join a startup 24x7 Bengali news channel (Kolkata TV). Then he left it and started working as a free lance journalist. From 2009 to 2013 he was associated with Business Standard. He was also engaged by Prothom Alo (leading daily of Bangaldesh) as Editorial Consultant. He also takes part in talk show of various news channels. Besides that, he contributes articles to a number of news portals, newspapers & journals that includes The Quint, Catch News, Deccan Herald, EPW, Seminar etc.

A Continuous Crisis: The Uncertainty of Being Young in Kashmir

Prerna Sud

13/10/2017

About the Lecture

The talk will focus on the responses and reactions by Kashmiri youth following two distinct recent crises—the floods of 2014 and the aftermath of Burhan Wani’s killing in 2016. To contextualize, I will present case histories/stories of young people in Kashmir as they struggle to respond and cope with the conflict and trauma. I will also talk about how we, at Kashmir Lifeline, are adapting treatment and care protocols to foster coping mechanisms in anticipation rather than as reaction to crisis situations.

 

About Speaker

Prerna (PhD; MSc. Clinical Psychology) is a practicing Psychotherapist in Delhi and has worked as a Consulting Clinical Psychologist for PACT (Parents and Children Against Trafficking and Harm) at Aangan, Mumbai wherein her responsibilities included, teaching counseling skills, weekly supervision, and curriculum development for PACT training. Prerna has previously taught as a Lecturer in Psychology at Miyazaki, Japan and has worked as a therapist with low-income families, at-risk youth (such as former gang members) in Southern California.

Gandhi is with Us, Are We with Him? Building an Economy of Nurturance

Ela R. Bhatt

06/10/2017

About the Lecture

As early as 1908, in Hind Swaraj, Gandhi had argued that western civilization was heading, that is, towards greater violence, greater inequities, and an economy based on destruction of natural resources. His arguments were largely based on his concept of what constitutes a good life and good society, his concern for truth and non-violence and his concern particularly for the poor. The production and consumption of more and more goods, he noted, was not a sign of progress, but rather one of ‘evil.' For him, real progress was that mode of conduct that shows to man the path of duty (to your self, society and Nature, mother Earth). Gandhi believed that western civilization if it continued on its present path of ‘progress’ would in time be self-destroyed.

So, are we for heading towards greater violence, greater inequities and destruction of resources human and natural? If no, then we are with Gandhi and Gandhi is with us. Then, let us think deeper and act meaningfully. Think with anubandh for better future. A focus on economic growth is necessary but what type of growth are we talking about. By destructive growth what do mean: over consumerism, destruction of fabric of society and relationships. growth has to be such as nurturing our self, family, society and mother Nature as they are intimately related.

In the modern economy, finance is the predominant instrument of growth. Women are workers and an important part of the economy. They use finance mainly for nurturing growth. I will share experiences with SEWA on how poor and self-employed women are building a nurturing economy at different levels, here and abroad.

About Speaker

Born in 1933, Ela R. Bhatt, a Gandhian, is widely recognized as one of the world’s most remarkable pioneers and entrepreneurial forces in grassroots development. Known as the “gentle revolutionary,” she has dedicated her life to improving the lives of India’s poorest and most oppressed women workers. In 1972, she founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a trade union with more than 2 million members now. She founded SEWA Cooperative Bank in 1974 which has an outreach of 3 million women now. She was nominated a Member of the Indian Parliament Rajya Sabha by the President of India and served subsequently as Member of the Indian Planning Commission. She founded and served as Chair for Women’s World Banking, (WWB), the International Alliance of Home-based Workers (HomeNet), Street Vendors (StreetNet) and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing, Organizing (WIEGO). She also served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation for a decade. She has received several awards, including Padmashree, Padmabhushan, the Ramon Magsaysay Award and the Right Livelihood Award, George Meany-Lane Kirkland Labour Rights Award by AFL-CIO, US and Légion d’honneur by France, Madrid Creatividad Award, CGAE Human Rights Award by Spain, Indira Gandhi International Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, The Freedom from Want Medal’, by Roosevelt Institute of Netherlands. She has received honorary doctorates from Harvard, Yale, Natal, McMaster, M.S. Baroda, among others. She has published “We Are Poor but So Many” (Oxford University Press, New York, 2006) and Anubandh - Building Hundred-Mile Communities. She was recently nominated as Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 and appointed Mahatma Gandhi Chair Professorship at Panjab University and Chair of Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad.