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 Education of the Indigenous People in Brazil: Recent Transformations

Rita Gomes do Nascimento


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.

About Speaker

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

Tridip Suhrud


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. 

About Speaker

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

Dr. K. P. Krishnan


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.

About Speaker

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

M D Pallavi


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.

About Speaker

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

Sanjay Gubbi


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.

About Speaker

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?

Mohan Rao


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.

About Speaker

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).

6th Annual Dabholkar-Kalburgi Lecture: In What Century are We Living?

Jayant Vishnu Narlikar


About the Lecture

This lecture will highlight the mismatch between our physical existence and mindset. On the one hand, we Indians are enjoying the benefits of advanced science and technology (S&T) while on the other, we have very little appreciation of what S&T stand for. Likewise, our daily lives are controlled more by age old superstitions than by facts and logic. The key element missing in our lives is the scientific temper. Its brief history will be described and the speaker's experiences in trying to popularize rationality will be presented.


About Speaker

Prof Jayant Vishnu Narlikar was born in 1938 into an academic family. His father taught Mathematics in Benaras Hindu University (BHU) and mother was a scholar of Sanskrit. After his B.Sc. in Physics at BHU in 1957, Prof Narlikar studied in Cambridge University. With his Doctoral Supervisor, Sir Fred Hoyle, Prof Narlikar developed the Hoyle-Narlikar Theory of gravity. He worked in Cambridge University, Tata Institute of Funadamental Research in Mumbai and founded Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Mumbai.

Prof Narlikar was Advisor for NCERT books in Science and Mathematics. He has authored numerous books on themes as varied as Cosmology, Philosophy and History of Science.

Young Adults and Mental Health in a Changing World

Sunita Simon Kurpad


About the Lecture

The lecture will address a few of the common mental health issues and challenges young people face in current times. It will also discuss advances in the understanding of neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry; insights on how one can navigate turbulent periods effectively; the importance of how young people can protect themselves, help their peers and minimize harm. (Note: The lecture is being organized as part of the Mental Health Week).  

About Speaker

Professor Sunita Simon Kurpad completed her MBBS from St John’s Medical College, Bangaloreand MRC Psychiatry from Cambridge University in the UK. She has been working as faculty inthe Department of Psychiatry at St John’s for over twenty years and closely involved with clinical work, teaching and research. She currently heads the Department of Medical Ethics at St John’s. She has authored several scientific publications and has a special interest in boundaries in the doctor patient relationship. As Chair of the National Task Force on Boundary Guidelines of theIndian Psychiatric Society, she has been instrumental in drafting guidelines in India on this issue.

The Prophet and the Poet

Performer: Bangalore Little Theatre


About the Lecture

About the Play

THE PROPHET AND THE POET is an internationally acclaimed play developed in Bangalore LittleTheatre. It is based on the exchange of letters and articles between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore over 25 years, with the Indian freedom struggle as the backdrop. The exchanges reveal how the two personalities differed significantly on many matters, including the form and content of the freedom movement. The differences widened over the years. However, they maintained genuine respect and love for each other steadfastly in spite of the deep differences. It was the political maturity that prevailed in those times in India. The performance will be followed by a discussion.

Bangalore Little Theatre was privileged to be invited to stage the opening shows of the play at the places hallowed by Gandhi and Tagore in their lifetime – Sabarmati Ashram, Santiniketan (Visva Bharati) and Thakurbadi-Jorasanko (Rabindra Bharati). The play had a command performance for the President of India.

There have been over 100 performances of the play since its opening all over India and abroad. The play has had productions outside India as well. In 2014 Prasar Bharati commissioned a tele-film of the play. The film was telecast several times over Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti.

About Speaker

About the Performer

Bangalore Little Theatre is the city’s oldest and most widely respected institution committed to the promotion of theatre and allied arts. Created in 1960, BLT has produced over 240 plays and has maintained a wide variety of long term outreach, training and educational programmes as well. Among these is the annual Summer Project on Theatre (SPOT), out of which have come many of the leading theatre practitioners of Bangalore. The play The Prophet and the Poet is part of the History of Ideas programme. There have been sixteen plays in the programme. Another long-term thrust has been the work for schools and children, including a commitment to the disadvantaged child. It includes an annual flagship production as a fundraiser for Indian Cancer Society. The funds raised are for the critical treatment needs of children with cancer.

At Nature's Edge: History and the Ecological Present

Mahesh Rangarajan


About the Lecture

How the past shaped our planet has never been more crucial to coming to terms with nature. Drawing on recent research the talk outlines why there is ground for concern as much as hope. History cannot provide easy answers but offers vital clues to help remake our futures.

About Speaker


The speaker teaches History and Environmental Studies at Ashoka University. His most recent work is co edited with Gunnel Cederlof: At Nature's Edge: The Global Present and Long-Term History (OUP 2018). Other books include Nature and Nation (Permanent Black 2015).