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.
Panel Discussion: General Elections 2019
About the Lecture
About the Panel:
Title: Key Electoral Trends in the Southern States (Sarayu Natarajan)
The talk will examine the five southern states - Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka - to highlight relevant trends in the 2019 General Elections. From looking at the state elections in TN, Telangana and AP, to the the fall out of the recent Assembly elections in Karnataka, this talk will explore a few relevant factors state-wise such as incumbency, coalitions, caste equations and underlying social trends.
Title: The Oppositional Politics under the Second-Dominant Party System
The rise of the BJP in 2014 and its subsequent victories in many states of India indicates the onset of the fourth party system. As the BJP continues to occupy the centre-right ideological space of Indian politics, the centre-left space is undergoing a massive churning. This talk will focus on the predicament of the Congress and the other opposition parties in 2019 and beyond. Drawing on the pre-poll surveys, the talk would provide a peek into the re-organisation of competitive space in key states.
Title: King in the North? The BJP’s Prospects across the Hindi Belt and Beyond (Gilles Verniers)
The talk will look at the contest in the Hindi Belt and the state of oppositions and alliances across Northern India, starting from recent state elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It will focus on some of the significant developments in electoral politics post-2014, such as the resurgence of traditional elites via the rise of the BJP and their consequences for state governance. The talk will then focus on the prospects of the BJP to compensate nearly certain losses in the Hindi belt by expanding its hold over other regions, particularly in the East.
About the Panelists
Dr. Sarayu Natarajan is the Founder of Aapti Institute that does research at the intersection of technology and society. Her doctoral work examined the relationship between political intermediation and housing, and used that to explore the ways in which the BJP is growing in urban India. She co-hosts a podcast called Ganatantra, which is running a special series for the upcoming elections.
Rahul Verma is a Fellow at Centre for Policy Research. He is also a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley, and his doctoral dissertation examines the historical roots of elite persistence in contemporary Indian politics. His book, Ideology and Identity: The Changing Party Systems of India (OUP: New York, 2018) co-authored with Pradeep Chhibber develops a new approach to defining the contours of what constitutes an ideology in multi-ethnic countries such as India. His research interest includes voting behavior, party politics, political violence, and media. He is a regular columnist for various news platforms and has published papers in Asian Survey, Economic & Political Weekly, and Studies in Indian Politics. Before starting his PhD at Berkeley, Verma completed his MPhil in Political Science from Delhi University, MA in Development Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai and a BA from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University.
Gilles Verniers is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ashoka University and Co-Director of the Trivedi Centre for Political Data. His research interests include mechanisms of representation and participation in India, state politics, democratisation in South Asia, sociology of elected representatives, controversies and problems in India's democracy, ethnic and post-identity politics, minority politics, and political parties. He completed his B.A in Economics, Social and Political Sciences from the University of St. Louis, Brussels in 2000. He earned his M.A. in Political and Social Sciences from the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), Belgium in 2004. After finishing his M. Phil in Comparative Politics and Societies with a specialization in Asia from Sciences Po in 2005, he completed his Ph.D. in Political Science from Sciences Po, affiliated with the Centre for International Research and Studies (CERI), Sciences Po. He has been a visiting scholar at the Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley and a part of several research projects including a project on the visuality of Democracy funded by the Alliance Program at Columbia University, co-coordinator on a project on the sociology of Representatives in India conducted jointly by Sciences Po, LSE, King's India Institute, JNU and Ambedkar University, Lucknow. He is the co-editor of a forthcoming book on the sociology of elected representatives in India, with Prof. Christophe Jaffrelot and Dr. Sanjay Kumar, CSDS, New Delhi.
The Play: In Search of Dariya Sagar (Duration: 120 minutes)
About the Lecture
About the Play
In Search of Dariya Sagar is a meditation on memory, loss, exile and the elusive idea of home. At a time, when the world is witnessing unprecedented migration, the biggest moral conundrum that confronts the world is that of giving safe refuge to these ‘outsiders’. To give them a home, away from home. But can you ever re-create home? Can home be ever retrieved? Does it become more elusive as time passes and hence more vivid? Does home mean different things to different generations? These are the questions at the heart of this narrative, an attempt to turn the pages of history to understand the scars it has left in the present. And like most narratives, this one too is a journey of self-discovery, where the self is inextricably bound to the larger Self of the community and where redemption lies perhaps in recognizing the same.
Synopsis of the Play
Jatin is a tour guide at the Gateway of India. He has just one problem. He is a Sindhi. Something he hasn't come to terms with all his life and so leads an isolated existence in a dingy room at Colaba Causeway, away from his privileged family house. Till a strange vision, almost an epiphany of sorts, descends on him at the very shores of the Gateway of India while giving a tour, a destination, where most Sindhis landed from Karachi in ships, leaving their hearths and homes behind and carrying dreams of a better future with them. Tina is a teacher in an international school. She teaches Language and Literature to her students with a deep social conscience. She moans the loss of her language and identity and her access to the lost world. Jatin and Tina know each other since they were kids. They studied in the same college too. But haven’t ever been able to sustain a conversation beyond a point. Their journeys are in the opposite direction, one wanting to retrieve her heritage and language, while the other wanting to disavow it. Till a certain mystery behind Jatin’s grandmother’s property, which she left behind to be decoded, brings them together. And there begins a fresh voyage into the past, where more secrets, memories, unlikely stories are discovered, giving some perspective on the fractured present and rottenness which Jatin feels lies at the heart of the ‘deterritorialized’ community.
About the Blind and The Elephant Theatre Group
Having worked in theatre for the past several years, Gerish Khemani, founded his own theatre group,The Blind and the Elephant, in 2015, which is dedicated to creating original work based on solid research, searching for forms to tell stories that emerge from their cultural context and that continue to shape us, and in raising fundamental questions about the self and its relation to community in this increasingly alienated world of ours. An extensively physical approach to creating work, using the collective imagination in the room and a constant playfulness to develop a strong ensemble and crafting a layered visual universe lie at the core of our work.
“Conscious Connections”- An Indian perspective to Arts Based Therapy
About the Lecture
When we look at what cannot be seen or recall that which cannot be remembered, one is much convinced that there is more to perception than meets the eye. What would it mean to look at therapy not as treatment but instead a multi modal approach where all those involved in the process co-create spaces that allow auto-learning, discovery and examination. Holistic approaches are more effective than any stand-alone line of treatment. A new science of mind is emerging from Indian traditions of introspection and contemplative practice along with a strong empirical support from western science. This session outlines the Arts based therapy approaches that have been implemented at community, institutional and clinical levels across India. Given the cultural diversities and the heterogeneity of the special populations, using the Arts in healing has emerged as a new language in therapy. This principle of integrated therapeutics augurs to a possible future where the modern, alternative and complementary health systems in concert make a crucial difference to both the healthcare and education sectors.
Gitanjali is the founder of Snehadhara Foundation, an educationist, a social entrepreneur, an Arts Based Therapy (ABT) Educator, Practitioner and Guide with over two decade’s experience in teaching a diverse population of children and adults. Snehadhara Foundation, a registered non-profit organization based in Bengaluru, India is the first and only Centre in India that uses Arts Based Therapy as the primary methodology to work with children and adults with disabilities. The twin goals of the Foundation are - Arts Based Therapy and Education for Inclusion. Over the past 6 years Snehadhara has worked with around 800 children through direct and weekly interventions, with over 50000 children through indirect interventions in schools and other receptive environments and trained over 1800 professionals in learning institutions across 250 organisations across the country.Gitanjali is a recipient of the Millennium Alliance Grant 2017 as a social innovator of one of the top five Innovations in the country for Education for the project ‘Kala Samavesh -Inclusion and Education of Disabilities. She has been conferred the Super Achievers Award, 2017, by the Association of People with Disability (APD) in memory of its founder N.S Hema, to recognize her outstanding contribution in the field of Disability in and outside Karnataka. Gitanjali has been an ACTIVATEE speaker at the 45th International Association for Experiential Education (AEE) Conference in Montreal in November 2017. Gitanjali has presented at the prestigious TEDx platform at BITS Hyderabad on ‘The Goodness of Life’. Gitanjali is the recipient of the NGO Leadership Awards 2017 as recognition of leaders who have contributed value & made a change as a strategic tool for sustainable growth. She has been awarded as one among the 50 Most Impactful Social Innovators (Global Listing) by the World CSR Congress and Awards. Gitanjali is also the recipient of the ‘Dr. Amarnath Annual Award for Inclusion’, 2016. She is one among two artists to be awarded the Artist’s Grant 2014 for the ‘Art in Education Program’ by the India Foundation for the Arts and the Artist’s Grant 2014 by India Foundation for the Arts. She has been recognised by Global Ethics Forum and Indian Institute of Management, for working towards establishing an impartial and fair world. Gitanjali is on the panel of experts of the ‘Arivu Disha’ a two-Pronged Program by Headstreams to Improve Learning Outcomes and Career Prospects of government school children in Karnataka. She has mentored and trained educators, special educators, therapists, teachers, educational assistants across 100 organizations in India.
Fifth Annual Martyrdom Day Lecture : Bhagat Singh’s version of nationalism and what it may mean for Indian education
About the Lecture
Bhagat Singh was a remarkably well read young person. He brought a sharp and informed mind to his political activism. This talk will proceed through a look at some of his writings and use them to explore what nationalism meant to him. The differences between his “revolutionary nationalism” and some other commonly held interpretations of nationalism will be highlighted. The talk will examine how Bhagat Singh is commonly portrayed in the Indian education system and argue for a fresh look at the message he was trying to convey.
About the Martyrdom Day Lectures
The Martyrdom Day lecture is organised annually to remind and inspire ourselves regarding the ideas and activities of India's freedom fighters. As a part of this series, in 2018, Prof Sudha Bharadwaj delivered a lecture on 'The Role of the Working Class in the Freedom Struggle". In 2017, the well-known social activist Ashok Choudhary delivered the lecture on "Remembering the Nationalism of Republican Socialist Revolutionaries". In 2016, Prof Mridula Mukherjee spoke on "Bhagat Singh and the Ideological Redefinition of Revolutionary Nationalism". In 2015, the Inaugural lecture was delivered by Prof Chaman Lal. He spoke on "Relevance of Bhagat Singh's ideas in our Times".
A Social Anthropologist by training, Prof Amman Madan is known for his work on the relation between education and society. Prof Madan's research interests are currently in social stratification and education, social theory and the politics of identity in education. Amman did his M.Sc. in Anthropology with Divyadarshi Kapoor from Panjab University, Chandigarh and then did his M.Phil and Ph.D. with Avijit Pathak at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems at JNU.
A keen student of History, Prof Madan is interested in various forms of Indian nationalism both as a social theorist and as a citizen. An active researcher, he has several publications, both in English and Hindi. His latest book is entitled "Shiksha aur adhunikta" (2018), whose English version "Education and modernity" is forthcoming.
The Education of the Indigenous People in Brazil: Recent Transformations
About the Lecture
There has been a significant change in the education of indigenous people in Brazil over the last two decades. The political and social changes witnessed in Brazil during this time have enabled these communities to take control of their education, with a majority of teachers in primary education hailing from these communities. A significant feature of these transformations was the encouragement of universities to create a special teacher-education programme for indigenous communities. This teacher education programme sought to train teachers who could provide inter-cultural education to the children from indigenous communities. This lecture will provide an insider’s perspective on the transformation of the system of education of the indigenous people of Brazil.
Rita Gomes do Nascimento, a native Brazilian of the Brazilian indigenous people `Potyguara', was formerly General Coordinator of Indigenous School Education, Ministry of Education, Brazil (2012-2015) and Director, Indigenous and Ethnic-Racial relations, Ministry of Education, Brazil (2015-2018). She has been sent back to her state cadre in January 2019 as part of the recent changes in the ruling regime in Brazil. Rita holds a Master’s degree in Education (UFRN) and a Doctoral degree in Education from the Federal University of the state of Rio Grande do Norte. UFRN, and Post-Doc from the Program of Postdoctoral Studies (PEP) of the Tres de Febrero National University, Argentina (UNTREF / AR). She has ample teaching experience in basic and higher education and done research in the areas of ethnic and cultural diversity and education, teacher training and ethnic and cultural diversity, educational policies, social and ethnic inequalities; cultural policies and education; social movements and education, human rights and education, with an emphasis on indigenous issues. She has colloborated with different research groups and serves on various editorial boards and published extensively.
The Story of Antaryami
About the Lecture
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's Autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth written originally in Gujarati and translated almost simultaneously in English by Mahadev Desai occupies a unique place in the Autobiographical tradition in the world. The lecture would try and capture the process of reading Gandhi in Two Tongues, the relationship between the two texts and the process by which the cadence of the original is sought to be captured in the English translation with help of notes. Apart from the question of translation of texts the lecture would seek to explore the notion of Gandhi's quest to see God face to face, its relationship with Ashram observances and the presence of Antaryami which guided his actions.
Tridip Suhrud is a scholar, writer and translator who works on the intellectual and cultural history of modern Gujarat and the Gandhian intellectual tradition. As the director and chief editor of the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust (2012-2017), he was responsible for creating the world’s largest digital archive on Gandhi- the Gandhi Heritage Portal. He has authored 28 books, of which include the critical edition of Hind Swaraj, Narayan Desai’s four-volume biography of Gandhi, My Life is My Message, and the four-volume epic Gujarati novel, Sarasvatichandra. His most recent work is a critical edition of Gandhi’s autobiography My Experiments with Truth in two languages; Gujarati and English.
Tridip Suhrud is presently translating the diaries of Manu Gandhi, covering the period between 1942 and 1948, compiling a series ‘Letters to Gandhi”- of unpublished correspondence to Gandhi- and working on an eight-volume compendium of testimonies of indigo cultivators of Champaran. He is currently professor and director, Archives, at CEPT University, Ahmedabad and serves as Chairman of the Governing Council of MICA.
Emerging Trends in Skill Development in India
About the Lecture
Low literacy rate, lack of skill training, creating employment opportunities for millions of youth entering the work force annually and ensuring inclusive growth are some of the challenges that India faces in its transition to a knowledge based economy. Policies and programmes that ensure high quality education, vocational education and skill development are imperative in this context. This lecture discusses the education-skill-employability gaps and the need for skill development programmes in India and the public policy and institutional frameworks necessary for that and also reflect on the emerging trends in skill development in India.
Dr. K.P. Krishnan is the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Krishnan was educated in Economics at St. Stephens College and Law at the Campus Law Centre University of Delhi and joined the IAS in 1983. In 2002, he obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from Indian IIM, Bangalore. He has served in various positions in the Government of Karnataka, Government of India and World Bank. Before becoming Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, he served as Special Secretary, Department of Land Resources, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Secretary, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs. He has authored a number of reports on the Indian financial sector and published many academic papers. In the year 2012, Dr. Krishnan held the BoK Visiting Professorship in Regulation in the University of Pennsylvania Law School. On 28/10/2017, Dr. Krishnan was conferred the Distinguished Alumni Award of IIM Bangalore.
The Classical in the Popular: Understanding Indian Film Music
About the Lecture
A large part of Indian music is created within the frame of Indian classical music. The aesthetics of popular music are better understood when its invocations of musical grammar from classical music are recognized. An understanding of Indian classical music and, in particular, the raga system, helps appreciate how popular music is composed, how emotions are translated into music and finally how music is heard. A focus on the uses of Indian classical music in popular music offers a valuable orientation to a key dimension of Indian culture.
MD Pallavi is a singer, composer, actor, editor, sound designer and filmmaker from Bengaluru. She has Bachelor's Degrees in English, Journalism and Psychology (Bangalore University) and in Hindustani Classical Music (Benares University). She has trained with Pt. Ram Rao Naik and Raj Bhau Sontakke for Hindustani vocal and with Mysore Ananthaswamy and Raju Ananthaswamy for Sugama Sangeetha. She has been performing Sugama Sangeetha on stage for the last 22 years. She has acted in two long running Kannada TV serials, Mayamruga and Garva and won the Aryabhatta Best Actress Award for her role in the latter. She has also acted in the national award winning Indian English film, Stumble (2003) and in the Kannada film, Gulabi Talkies (2008). Pallavi has also acted in several plays in Kannada and English such as Translations, Hamlet, Chidambara Rahasya, Sankranti, Avasthe, Maanishaadha, Fire and Rain, Balidaana, My Fair Lady, Gaajina Gombegalu, Vakra, Good Woman of Schezuan, Picasso, Copenhagen, Swayamvaraloka, The Boy with a Suitcase, C Sharp C Blunt, Muktidhaam and recently Taayavva. In 2014, Pallavi won the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award for Best Actress for her role in C Sharp, C Blunt. Her theatre collaborations include C sharp C blunt, a multi-award winning theatrical solo-performance in collaboration with Sophia Stepf; Tayavva, a theatrical musical with renowned director Prasanna as a part of the protest against the new sales tax on handmade goods, Playgrounds, a multi-award winning short film in collaboration with Shamik Sen Gupta; A Boy with a Suitcase, a theatrical collaboration with Shnawwl (Germany) and Rangashankara (Bangalore) and Tathagat, a street play collaboration with Abhishek Majumdar and Jana Natya Manch and a musical conversation with Bindumalini Narayanaswamy. She is keen on multi-disciplinary collaborations and is currently working on a new bhavageethe album.
Reaching beyond the converted: Saving wild tigers through wider partnerships
About the Lecture
A paradox of conservation, especially in the biodiversity-rich but socially-complex tropics, is that conservation practitioners often find themselves preaching to the converted, when they should in fact be reaching beyond them. In the real world, conservation practice is expected to run the race where conservation science leaves off and take it to the finish. Mitigating threats to flagship species like the tiger, therefore, involves action in varying contexts and at multiple levels, most of which lie beyond the ambit of science. Tiger conservation in India intersects staggering social, economic and political complexities, and conservation strategies need to be crafted, not just based on science, but also based on a solid practical grasp of social realities. How does one navigate this vast, complex, and mostly uncharted arena to bring about effective and lasting conservation outcomes? And what are the wider lessons one may draw from such explorations? These are two broad questions that I address in my talk. I present pragmatic, on-ground examples of how we have engaged key stakeholders in wider society—comprising not only the traditional constituency of policy/decision makers, but also social/religious leaders, elected representatives, the media and conservation volunteers—to play critical roles in tiger conservation. Forging creative partnerships takes patience, planning, consistent follow-up, timely action and reasonable compromises. But once forged, such alliances can stand up even to powerful economic and political forces. Through such partnerships, we have together helped minimize the deleterious effects of habitat fragmentation on tigers and their prey, to expand protected area coverage, to create habitat corridors, as well as to strengthen law-enforcement efforts by improving the welfare of protected area frontline staff.
Sanjay Gubbi’s research interests include large cat science, human-wildlife conflict, conservation policies and impacts of developmental projects on wildlife. Recipient of the 2017 Whitley Award, author of Second Nature: Saving Tiger landscape in the 21st Century, he has worked with various stakeholders to bring about on-ground changes for wildlife conservation in the state of Karnataka. He likes to use his scientific understanding of wildlife to bring about changes in conservation policies. He is particularly interested in popularizing wildlife science and conservation in local languages. He has authored two books in Kannada in addition to several popular articles. He currently works with the Nature Conservation Foundation under the Western Ghats programme.
The Surrogacy Story in India: Reproductive Rights or Reproductive Justice?
About the Lecture
The talk briefly traces the story of commercial surrogacy in India, linking it, as few do, to the global bio-economy. The global bio-economy is dependent on women’s body parts, many of which are derived from reproduction or IVF. Policy prescriptions, and indeed most feminist responses, draw on the notion of reproductive rights and choice. These ignore a salient framework, namely reproductive justice.
Mohan Rao was, till recently, a Professor at the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health (CSMCH), School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. A medical doctor specialised in public health, he has written extensively on health and population policy, and on the history and politics of health and family planning. He is the author of From Population Control to Reproductive Health: Malthusian Arithmetic (Sage, New Delhi, 2004) and has edited Disinvesting in Health: The World Bank's Health Prescriptions (Sage, New Delhi, 1999) and The Unheard Scream: Reproductive Health and Women's Lives in India (Zubaan/Kali for Women, New Delhi, 2004). He has edited, with Sarah Sexton of Cornerhouse, UK, the volume Markets and Malthus: Population, Gender and Health in Neoliberal Times (Sage, New Delhi, 2010). With Sarah Hodges, he has edited Public Health and Private Wealth: Stem Cells, Surrogacy and Other Strategic Bodies (OUP, 2016). His latest work is the edited volume The Lineaments of Population Policy in India: Women and Family Planning (Routledge, 2018). He has been a member of the National Population Commission, and several Working Groups of the National Rural Health Mission of the Government of India. He is also actively involved in the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (People’s Health Movement).