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.

The Databased Citizen

Usha Ramanathan

25/09/2014

About the Lecture

UID, Natgrid, NPR, Netra, CCTVs, CCTNS, these are some acronyms. Databasing, convergence, tagging, tracking, profiling are emerging phenomena. The UID aspires to create an `identity platform' and wants all persons on its data base. This is to be an identity infrastructure and the operative words are - unique, universal, ubiquitous. Corruption and inefficiency are used to explain why we must so enrol ourselves with the state. The National Population Register,and the National Register of Citizens that is to follow from it, invokes illegal migrants, terror and militancy to explain away the insistence that every person must become transparent to the state, and to whoever else is able to build on these identity platforms. There are proposals for a Human DNA Profiling Bill 2012 and for DNA data banks. There is a draft Land Titling Bill 2011 which demands that every piece of land, and the distress and vulnerability of the land holders be recorded and open to view, every piece of land be uniquely identified, linked with the UID, and that the title is to be "considered as evidence of the marketable title of the titleholder". Corruption, terrorism, brutal rape, inefficiency are offered to explain the normalising of surveillance. ID numbers in repositories, biometrics, DNA in databases, camera capture of faces and persons. Fear, alarm, threat, risk. The Transparent Individual is to turn the RTI on its head. Does surveillance really make the citizen/resident secure? What does it mean to be databased?

About Speaker

Dr. Usha Ramanathan is an internationally recognized expert on law and poverty. She studied law at Madras University, the University of Nagpur and Delhi University. She is research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, teaches environmental law, labour law and consumer law at the Indian Law Institute and is a regular guest professor at many universities around the world. She is a frequent adviser to non-governmental organisations and international organizations. She is for instance a member of Amnesty International's Advisory Panel on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and has been called upon by the World Health Organisation as a expert on mental health on various occasions. Dr Ramanathan is also the South Asia Editor of the Law, Environment and Development Journal (LEAD Journal), a peer-reviewed academic journal jointly published by IELRC and SOAS. Her research interests include human rights, displacement, torts and environment. She has published extensively in India and abroad. In particular, she has devoted her attention to a number of specific issues such as the Bhopal gas disaster, the Narmada valley dams or slum eviction in Delhi.

Nature without Borders: Opportunity and Challenge in an Emerging Economy

Mahesh Rangarajan

18/09/2014

About the Lecture

Nature does not respect borders that people draw. Yet the securing of spaces of nature to protect ecological integrity and preserve biological diversity has been lynch pin of efforts at conserving nature in India. Even as such spaces are deeply contested by rival claimants, Professor Mahesh Rangarajan emphasises there is also need to rethink how ecological interests are to address the fluidity of water and wind, birds and animals. This does not entail ending efforts at secure protected zones but to go beyond these efforts in a manner that draws on scientific insight but engages with those who live in and use those land and waterscapes. Drawing on recent innovative approaches, it suggests how to secure gains and move ahead. In a nutshell, it argues against a rigid one size fits all approach and sees much potential for making spaces for nature in crowded country with an expanding economy.

About Speaker

 Professor Mahesh Rangarajan is the  Director of Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, New Delhi. He has studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford and taught at Cornell, Delhi, Jadvapur and the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. He was till recently Professor in Modern Indian History at the University of Delhi. His most recent works include the co edited Environmental History as if Nature Existed ( 2010), India's Environmental History (2012) and two books in press, Nature without Borders and Shifting Ground. He is also working on a collection entitled Nature and Nation.

Child marriage and submarines in Sakha and Sandesh Notes on tones and half tones in magazines for children

Rimli Bhattacharya

11/09/2014

About the Lecture

How do we elaborate on the well-established proposition that childhood is a construction varying in time and across cultures? We have become wary of recovering the unmediated ‘authentic’ voice of the subject—whether a child, a woman or a marginal subject. Do forms of address in different genres that are primarily meant for children tell us anything about a ‘dialogue’ with children? Within this broad framework, and working with a mix of images and texts from two periodicals—Sakha and Sandesh, I draw on my ongoing exploration of children’s periodicals in late 19th and early 20 century Bengal, to raise more specific questions:What are the different ways in which childhood has been conceptualised in these magazines? How has knowledge been conceptualized in a colonial context for children, outside of school textbooks? What is the significance accorded to science and technology in a discourse of progress? How is the latter reconciled with faith? How do we gloss knowledge, information and entertainment—in our own times? And, what's literature got to do with this? The historical perspective is intended to open up for discussion and reflection these and other questions that have a critical contemporary relevance.

About Speaker

 Rimli Bhattacharya,  has trained in Comparative Literature and works on a range of genres and forms in a number of languages, Indian and others. She has published on children’s literature, art and artists, performance history and actresses, and film. Her corpus of translations from Bangla into English includes autobiographies, novels, short stories and essays.She has worked in primary education in various states of India, focusing on the conceptualisation and production of teaching-learning material. From 2004-2006 she was involved in an international collaborative project on “The construction of the subject English in secondary schools in London, Johannesburg and Delhi.” This extended into several other projects with MPhil students on lullabyes (in Asomyia, Mizo and Kumaoni) and on school textbooks (Sur Pippa: ‘Notes on Running Feet’ is a co-authored monograph on ‘Subject English’ in NCERT English Marigold textbooks, Bhopal,Eklavya 2012.)Her ongoing involvement with the classroom experience informs her M.Phil. seminar on ‘Children’s Literature: Childhood, pedagogy and literary forms’ offered at the University of Delhi. Group projects are an integral part of this seminar Rimli Bhattacharya has taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University, MS University of Baroda and has been the Rama Watumull Distinguished Indian Scholar at the Center for South Asian Studies, University of Hawai’i at Manoa and ICCR Visiting Chair at the Dept of South Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania. Since 2001, she has been teaching at the Department of English, University of Delhi. She is currently Professor, Gender Studies, at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta where she is working on the Centre’s extensive digitized archive of children’s journals and book illustrations. She is also completing a monograph on Dhan Gopal Mukherji, an early twentieth century Indian based in the US who became a renowned author for juvenile fiction.

Law and Language Policy in Education

E. Annamalai

04/09/2014

About the Lecture

Language Policy in Education is concerned with language(s) to be learned by students and the language(s) through which they learn other subjects. The policy is made by the government keeping in mind its economic, social, cultural and linguistic goals. The citizens may have their own goals and language choice to achieve them and their policy may not coincide with the policy of the government. They or their representatives may try to challenge the policy through political or legal means. The courts look at the legal maintainability of the policy from the point of view of fundamental rights of citizens given to them by the Constitution, which include the citizen’s right to education. The obligations of the state and the rights of the people may be found by them to be in conflict. The talk will describe the way in which the courts come to see a conflict and will examine if the conflict is real or is a result of an ideologically based interpretation of the Constitution. It will show that the solution to the apparent conflict lies in a proper understanding of language pedagogy divorced from language politics.

About Speaker

E. Annamalai, Director Emeritus, Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore; Visiting Professor, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago (Please see the attachments for details of his academic career and publications)

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.