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.

A Working Model of Decentralized Governance

Elango Rangasamy

28/08/2014

About the Lecture

Mahatma Gandhi said that India lived in villages.  He wanted the villages to be prosperous, self-sufficient and peaceful. However, it is easier said than done. As a village in Tamilnadu, Kuthambakkam had numerous social problems: caste clashes between dalits and non- dalits; inadequate basic facilities like safe drinking water, drainage and roads; no assurance to food; violence against women and children and others. The scenario completely changed after 1996.  R. Elango was chosen as the panchayat president that year and his role in the transformation of Kuthambakkam is widely appreciated. The village is now a self-sufficient economy and a model village. Elango feels that though India has around 2.70 lakh Panchayats covering around 6 lakh villages, there are only 100 to 200 model villages like Kuthambakkam.  In his talk, he will share a working model for better decentralized governance in India through his experiences as a panchayat president.

About Speaker

R Elango, born and brought up in Kuthambakkam village, in the adjoining district of Chennai City was involved in social work right from his childhood.  After completing his B.Tech in Anna University, he joined Oil India and shifted to CSIR as a Scientist.  His village Kuthambakkam with 7 hamlets and with more than 50% of Dalit population was always facing caste clashes. Due to illicit liquor trade, the poor villagers were losing money, health and family relations.  As President of Kuthambakkam panchayat in Tamilnadu, Rangasamy Elango had imagined, pursued, and achieved much that any leader could be proud of. Community-integrated housing, indigenous industry, gram swaraj; these and other ideals of local government aren't merely plans in Kuthambakkam. In this tiny hamlet outside of Chennai, aspirations had concrete ways of turning into realities.  He was chosen as the CNN real heroes of 2009.

What's gone wrong with the Indian media?

Siddharth Varadarajan

14/08/2014

About the Lecture

India has the largest number of news television channels in the world. The number of newspaper titles and editions is increasing, as is print circulation. But despite these impressive numbers, the media in India is facing an unprecedented crisis. The traditional business model underpinning the Indian media, which was never conducive to good journalism in the first place, is breaking down due to increased competition and this is placing even greater strain on the integrity of the editorial process.

About Speaker

Siddharth Varadarajan is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory, Shiv Nadar University. He is one of India’s leading journalists, having worked in senior positions in theTimes of India and The Hindu for two decades. He was the first and only professional journalist to serve as Editor of The Hindu, a post he held from January 2012 to October 2013.

Meaningful interventions in Primary Education-Part 1

 K.K. “Subbu” Subramaniam

31/07/2014

About the Lecture

There is general agreement on the fact that our public education systems *needs* to change on a massive scale to effectively cater to hundreds of millions of children. However, no such general agreement exists on *what* exactly should be done in our public school system at such a massive scale. Ideas borrowed from West cannot handle the scale while those from China are incapable oftackling the diversity in our country. In this talk, Subbu plans to share his experience in evolving a meaningful intervention model that can tackle both scale and replication across India. The model emerged from over a decade of working directly with students in over 1000 village schoolsKarnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

About Speaker

K. K. "Subbu" Subramaniam is the founder-director of Axcode Consulting Inc, an engineeringconsulting company in the area of embedded software and networking. He has around three decades of experience working in this area in and with multinational companies like Novell, Nokia, IBM and Oracle. He is also a senior member of IEEE and ACM. Apart from his professional pursuits, he was an active contributor to Sikshana Foundation, an award-winning NGO for nurturing, motivating and improving education in Govt schools.

Meaningful interventions in Primary Education-Part 2

 K.K. “Subbu” Subramaniam

31/07/2014

About the Lecture

There is general agreement on the fact that our public education systems *needs* to change on a massive scale to effectively cater to hundreds of millions of children. However, no such general agreement exists on *what* exactly should be done in our public school system at such a massive scale. Ideas borrowed from West cannot handle the scale while those from China are incapable oftackling the diversity in our country. In this talk, Subbu plans to share his experience in evolving a meaningful intervention model that can tackle both scale and replication across India. The model emerged from over a decade of working directly with students in over 1000 village schoolsKarnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

About Speaker

K. K. "Subbu" Subramaniam is the founder-director of Axcode Consulting Inc, an engineeringconsulting company in the area of embedded software and networking. He has around three decades of experience working in this area in and with multinational companies like Novell, Nokia, IBM and Oracle. He is also a senior member of IEEE and ACM. Apart from his professional pursuits, he was an active contributor to Sikshana Foundation, an award-winning NGO for nurturing, motivating and improving education in Govt schools.

Reflections on empowerment of poor

Dileep Kamat

24/07/2014

About the Lecture

In the name of "Development" we all seem to have accepted destruction of natural resources, displacement of millions of people; farmers are distressed and rural people are flooding city slums, making these places unmanageable entities. Our sovereignty is being compromised under WTO and the growing gap between the rich and the poor does not bother us anymore as GDP growth seems to be the only thing that matters. Violence against women, dalits and minorities is on the rise. In this context, democratization of society at large and all its institutions from family to parliament should be felt as an urgent need by more and more people. The COMMUNITY LEARNING MOVEMENT (CLM) is such an experiment which has successfully shown how collective local leadership is developed and takes initiative in conscientising / politicizing the local community; starts taking active part in decision making at PRI levels; takes responsibility of protecting common property resources and their sustainable and equitable use. Dileep will share his experiences on how marginalized communities are transformed from passive, silent, begging ‘beneficiaries’ into active, assertive, participatory, questioning and responsible (and organized) citizens, demanding their rights and good governance.

About Speaker

Dileep Kamat, a well-known pedagogue and thinker from Belgaum, has over four decades of experience in organizing workers in the organized and unorganized sectors. He has worked in the environmental movement with the perspective that protection, development and sustainable and equitable use of natural resources is best achieved by the local communities playing the central role. Dileep has facilitated hundreds of learning processes for activists and marginalized communities and also been a resource person and advisor for several NGOs and social movements. He has been lately focusing on building collective leadership of disadvantaged communities who can lead the people-centered advocacy to pressurize the local government for providing basic facilities and good governance.

Scaling through shared values

Ashok Kamath

24/07/2014

About the Lecture

What we see of ourselves today, is often a result of humankind’s sense of benefitting from the concept of shared values – a concept that predates the MBA generation, the Harvard Business Review, the Wharton school of thought, and dates as far back as when human beings thought of a cave as home. By creating shared values, one can achieve the power to scale solutions and outcomes, beyond the limitations of resources both monetary and human, to deliver individual, organizational and societal benefits. Ashok’s work with Akshara Foundation and Pratham Books are a couple of the many cases in study that reinforces the concept of scaling through shared values on the ground and rooted in realities.

About Speaker

Ashok Kamath has been the Managing Trustee since 2003 and Chairman of Akshara Foundation since July 1, 2008. He has been actively involved in the strategic planning, analysis and expansion of programmes at Akshara Foundation since 2003. An alumnus of IIT-Bombay, he was formerly the Managing Director of the Indian operations of Analog Devices. He opted to leave behind a successful career in the corporate sector and involve himself in the development sector. His alma mater, IIT-Bombay, presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2013 for his various initiatives and contributions to the field of children’s education. Ashok is also a co-founder and trustee of Pratham Books which aims to have A Book in Every Child’s Hand.

An Ethics of Testimony and Naiyayika Reading of Gita 3.21

Stephen H. Phillips

15/05/2014

About the Lecture

A prominent classical Indian ethical theory is that ethical principles and standards of right action are inherited through lines of “testimony,” śabda, literally “word,” in the terminology of the philosophic schools. Nyāya, for example, subscribing to this ethical view, elaborates it through analysis of conditions governing successful testimony, both with regard to Vedic testimony and the continual “testimonial” exchanges that occur in everyday life. The philosopher Udayana of the eleventh century blends this view with a reading of the Gītā that salutes creativity in all arenas and solves a puzzle concerning the possibility of ethical reform on the supposition that norms are defined as conventions.

About Speaker

Professor Stephen H. Phillips is Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. A specialist in Vedanta, Nyaya and Yoga, he also teaches courses in Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology and World Philosophy. He is the author of such books as Epistemology in Classical India: The Knowledge Sources of the Nyaya School (Routledge, 2012), Yoga, Karma and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy (Columbia University Press, 2009), and Classical Indian Metaphysics: Refutations of Realism and the Emergence of "New Logic" (Open Court, 1995 & Motilal Banarasidass, 1998), and numerous articles in scholarly journals and edited volumes. He has also translated parts of the preeminent Navya-Nyaya text, Gangesa's Tattvacintamani (published in 2009 as Epistemology of Perception: Gangesa's Tattvacintamani, Vol. 1) as well as selections from the Upanishads, Kularnava Tantra and Hathayogapradipika.

Community Monitoring of the RTE Act: Impact of a Unique Pilot

Kiran Bhatty

08/05/2014

About the Lecture

Under the aegis of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights [NCPCR] – the legally mandated agency for monitoring the RTE, a unique pilot of community-based monitoring was conducted in 2011-2013 across 10 states of India. This pilot developed a methodology and set of tools for conducting a process of concurrent monitoring by the community as well as a social audit of the implementation of RTE.  The pilot that followed roughly the school calendar consisted of a 3 part process consisting of i) a baseline survey of schooling facilities and listing of out-of-school children before the start of the school year; ii) a process of concurrent monitoring through the school year including monthly “shiksha samvads [education dialogues] at the Block office; iii) social audit at the end of the year to review the performance through the preceding year.A first of its kind effort, it turned out be an extremely interesting exercise with many un-intended consequences and outcomes. In this presentation I will share some of the outcomes in terms of the impact on the main stakeholders involved, ie., the community [including the groups that conducted the exercise]; the schools and teachers as well as the government officials as well as some of the lessons learned for future efforts in community monitoring of RTE.

About Speaker

Currently Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, she was the National Commissioner, RTE at the NCPCR when the RTE Act was passed. She set up the RTE Division at the Commission and designed the RTE monitoring programme and activities for the Commission in its first 3 years. She has worked in the area of education for almost 20 years during which time she has been associated with various research projects such as the PROBE report and the FOCUS report.  She was a member of the Bordia Committee that revamped SSA in accordance with RTE and also of the Expert Group that re-wrote the SSA Guidelines. She is currently member of the Advisory Group on Education Management and Information Systems [EMIS] at NUEPA that houses the District Information System for Education or DISE. She has also worked at the UNICEF office in Delhi on issues of social exclusion in education and is also a member of the Right to Food Campaign, the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and the Centre for Women’s Development Studies. She has a Masters degree in Economics from the USA and an MPhil in Development Studies from the London School of Economics, UK.

Interaction with Shyam Benegal as part of Open Course on Cinema.

Shyam Benegal

29/04/2014

About the Lecture

About Speaker

Mr. Shyam Benegal along with his other illustrious colleagues of Indian cinema pioneered a film movement that drew its artistic principles from the cinema across the world.  Describing the movement in traditional vocabulary coined by uncomprehending film writers as ‘parallel cinema’, ‘middle of the road cinema’ would be to trap him in terms that seem mystifying, vague and clichéd. Deeply influenced by the stylistic and aesthetic elements of the pioneers of world cinema who worked outside the mainstream system including the well-known studios, Mr. Benegal found his calling in telling stories with a different sensibility that eschewed the clichés of mainstream films around him; the style of telling was often at odds perhaps with the mainstream cinema all around.  Besides being a Padma Bhushan awardee, Mr. Benegal was bestowed with the Dada Saheb Phalke award in 2005, the country’s highest award for cinematic achievement. Some of his well-known films include Ankur, Nishant, Manthan, Bhumika, Junoon, The Making of Gandhi, to name a few.

Community Management System ‘Oran’ Conserves Biodiversity and Protects Rural Livelihoods: Experiences from KRAPAVIS

Aman Singh

24/04/2014

About the Lecture

‘Orans’ are community forests that act as a store of biodiversity, enable effective water management and serve as a community based regeneration system, which also ensure sustainable extraction of Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFPs) by villagers, in the world’s oldest Aravali Mountain Range and in the Great Indian Desert of Rajasthan (India). There are about 25000 orans in Rajasthan that cover more than 600,000 hectares and provide a much-needed lifeline and safeguard to their respective communities. Until two decades ago, orans have suffered widespread degradation due to neglect and misguided priorities, opposition from hostile actors such as profit-seeking corporations, the introduction of foreign flora and fauna that compromise biodiversity and from a changing climate, all of which led to a marked decline in the condition of orans.  Founded to address the above challenges, KRAPAVIS, an organization of local people, has been working for 21 years to revive orans, both physically and conceptually, in the desert and Aravali regions.  This talk will discuss the various strategies through which KRAPAVIS has contributed to sustainable natural resource management and made a tangible difference to awareness of biodiversity, instilled respect for the land and its multiple uses, and improved thousands of local eco-systems across one of India’s most water-challenged states. It will also demonstrate how the work of KRAPAVIS serves as a model for stakeholder engagement at multiple levels (international, government and local communities) to realize tangible environmental improvements that enable future generations to continue their productive stewardship of the land.

About Speaker

Aman Singh is the Founder of Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan (KRAPAVIS), a voluntary organisation which works towards the betterment of ecological, agricultural and livestock practices, to ensure sustainable livelihoods for pastoral communities in Rajasthan. Its success has led it to be selected as a finalist for the UNDP Equator Prize. Aman has been awarded with prestigious awards include ‘Dalmia Environment and Water Conservation Award’, a state level award for environment conservation and another one ‘Asian Technical Award’. He is an Ashoka Fellow and has received several fellowships from international agencies such as UNDP, UNOCHA, Schumacher College, the Ford Foundation and the University of California. Aman has written extensively on rural ecology and pastoralism, and has presented to international audiences in countries as diverse as Scotland, Nepal, Kenya, Bulgaria and the US. Aman holds an MSc in Environmental Education, is a graduate of the University of California’s Environmental Leadership Programme, and has studied Deep ecology/ bioregionalism at the UK’s Schumacher College.