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.

“Conscious Connections”- An Indian perspective to Arts Based Therapy

Gitanjali Sarangan


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. 

About Speaker

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

Amman Madan


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".

About Speaker

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

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.