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.

Remembering Anupam Mishra: A Faithful Clerk of Ordinary People - Part II

Sopan Joshi

24/03/2017

About the Lecture

On 19th December 2016, Anupam Mishra breathed his last at a New Delhi hospital after an 11-month battle with cancer. He is best known for his 1993 book, Aaj Bhi Khare Hain Talab (Lakes are still Standing 1993). This book is a lively and exhaustively researched account of how communities managed water across the country. It has been translated into 19 languages, and has sold well over 100,000 copies.

About Speaker

Sopan Joshi worked closely with Anupam Mishra over a long period and is currently a research fellow at the Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi. In July 2016, Gandhi Peace Foundation published his book, Jal Thal Mal.Ramachandra Guha wrote his Ph D dissertation on the environmental history of the region that mobilized the celebrated resistance against commercial tree felling, Chipko. As an academic who along with Prof Madhav Gadgil charted out the environmental history discipline in India, Guha has deeply engaged with Gandhi environmental thinkers and movements.S. Vishwanath echoes the research and writing that Anupam Mishra began. Popularly known as zenrainman, Vishwanath has an avid interest in tracing the communities that engaged with open wells. Trained as a civil engineer, Vishwanath now works on water and sanitation management and governance issues in urban and rural India with equal ease and teaches an elective course on Water at Azim Premji University

Remembering the Nationalism of Republican Socialist Revolutionaries

Ashok G Choudhary

23/03/2017

About the Lecture

At a time when the nationalist debate is sought to be infused with threats and violence, we should remember that there are different streams of nationalism. The one espoused and propagated by revolutionaries of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) was anti-feudal and anti-imperialist. The ideals for which Rajguru, Sukhdev and Bhagat Singh sacrificed their lives was a Socialist Republic. These ideals were like a breath of fresh air and inspired the educated youth in the 1920s. Perhaps the concept of Republic was introduced for the first time in the nationalist struggle by this group. Later, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar developed the Republican concept in great detail and it has been enshrined in the Indian Constitution along with fundamental rights of citizens. The ideals of the nationalist stream represented by HSRA deserve to be re-visited when there is so much debate about nationalism and democracy. While we remember our forefathers in the Martyrdom Day lecture, we need to take stock of how much their ideas still inspire and how far we have to walk to ensure that their dreams are realized.

About Speaker

Ashok G Choudhary (born 1949) is presently President of Vikalp Social Organisation, Saharanpur. He has been working as a social activist in social and labour movements since the early 1970s. He has been interested in issues like land rights for landless peasantry/ agricultural labour, forest rights for the traditional forest dwelling communities, environmental & climate justice, social justice, community institute building ,women’s rights and secularism. Mr Choudhary is also General Secretary of All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Founding Member of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai and India’s Member in the Organising Committee of World Social Forum.

'Is the Whole World Becoming a Third World

Upendra Baxi

10/03/2017

About the Lecture

In this talk, Upendra Baxi shares several stories of the entire world becoming a third world. Used judgmentally, the expression cover’s a Philistine world which offers nothing but a solitary, short, nasty, and brutish life. Understood historically, the Third World is a creation of the Siamese twin of colonialism and imperialism generated by the First and erstwhile Second world. It also creates a fourth world of global impoverishment and 'disposable' peoples. Ideologically, one seeks to distinguish between the 'Third World' (of States) from a ‘Third Worldlism' (a state of consciousness of the people). If we were to romanticize a little bit, one would say the latter consists of an attitude of ethical insurgency towards the making and unmaking of the world, and of the peoples (democide). In that sense the whole world becoming a third world is a good thing, indeed!  The flip side of course is authoritarian statism, laced by popular (electoral) populism. We already see in Euroamerica an evacuation of the values fabled to have initiated development, progress, and equity measures, specially by the idea of human rights. Now we live increasingly in the 'endtimes' of human rights. Is the whole world on its way to becoming rightless? And is that a good thing? Also, what may be the future foretold by the advancing Anthropocene?

About Speaker

Upendra Baxi, currently Professor Emeritus, University of Warwick, and has been at the Warwick Law School since 1996. He served earlier as Professor of Law, University of Delhi (1973-1996) and as its Vice Chancellor (1990-1994.) He was also served as: Vice Chancellor, University of South Gujarat, Surat (1982-1985); Honorary Director (Research) The Indian Law Institute (1885-1988.) He was the President of the Indian Society of International Law (1992-1995.) Baxi graduated from Rajkot (Gujarat University), read law in University of Bombay, and holds LLM degrees from University of Bombay and University of California at Berkeley, which also awarded him with a Doctorate in Juristic Sciences. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates in Law by the National Law School University of India, Bangalore, and the University of La Trobe, Melbourne. One of the most prolific contributors to the corpus of legal writing both on India and on many contemporary global concerns, Baxi’s recent works include Future of Human Rights (OUP, 2008) and Human Rights in a Posthuman World (OUP, 2007)

Panel Discussion: India Studies Group -Part I

Probal Dasgupta

03/03/2017

About the Lecture

The panelists will share their views on the possibilities of social research on India. This discussion is the inaugural event of the India Studies Group, a new research initiative at APU.

About Speaker

Probal Dasgupta is Professor of Linguistics at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. His publications include, Inhabiting Human Languages: The Substantivist Visualization (2012) and The Otherness of English: India’s Auntie Language Syndrome (1993).Ramachandra Guha is an historian and independent scholar based in Bangalore. He has recently published, Democrats and Dissenters (2016) and Gandhi Before India (2013). Shail Mayaram is an historian at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. Her publications include Against History, Against State: Counterperspectives from the Margins (2003) and the co-edited Philosophy as Samvada and Svaraj: Dialogical Meditations on Daya krishna and Ramchandra Gandhi (2014)Ashis Nandy is among the leading cultural critics in the country and a Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. His publications include the classic, The Intimate Enemy (1983), and, more recently, Regimes of Narcissism and Regimes of Dissent (2013). Prasanna is a theatre director and founder of Charaka, a Multipurpose Women’s Handloom Co-operative in Bhimanakone.  He has written Indian Method in Acting (2013) and Shudraragona Banni (Let us Become Shudras, 2015).

Panel Discussion: India Studies Group -Part II

Probal Dasgupta

03/03/2017

About the Lecture

The panelists will share their views on the possibilities of social research on India. This discussion is the inaugural event of the India Studies Group, a new research initiative at APU.

About Speaker

Probal Dasgupta is Professor of Linguistics at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. His publications include, Inhabiting Human Languages: The Substantivist Visualization (2012) and The Otherness of English: India’s Auntie Language Syndrome (1993).Ramachandra Guha is an historian and independent scholar based in Bangalore. He has recently published, Democrats and Dissenters (2016) and Gandhi Before India (2013). Shail Mayaram is an historian at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. Her publications include Against History, Against State: Counterperspectives from the Margins (2003) and the co-edited Philosophy as Samvada and Svaraj: Dialogical Meditations on Daya krishna and Ramchandra Gandhi (2014)Ashis Nandy is among the leading cultural critics in the country and a Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. His publications include the classic, The Intimate Enemy (1983), and, more recently, Regimes of Narcissism and Regimes of Dissent (2013). Prasanna is a theatre director and founder of Charaka, a Multipurpose Women’s Handloom Co-operative in Bhimanakone.  He has written Indian Method in Acting (2013) and Shudraragona Banni (Let us Become Shudras, 2015).

Persian in India's Literary Ecology: The Case of a 17th Century Persian Ramayana

Prashant Keshavmurthy

17/02/2017

About the Lecture

Following a brief survey of the millennial life of Persian in South Asia, this lecture will offer the case study of Masih’s early seventeenth century Masnavi-i Rām va Sitā, a Persian verse translation of Vālmiki’s Sanskrit epic Rāmāyana. It opens by remarking on a shift in the study of the relations between poetics and politics of Persian translations of Indic texts. Then, purporting to complicate understanding of this relation, it takes issue with prior studies of this poem before answering the following questions these studies fail to pose: how does the prophetological metaphysics of the prefatory chapters relate to the poetics of emotion in the main body of his tale? And: what does this relation let us infer of Masih’s theological conception of translation?

About Speaker

Prashant Keshavmurthy is Associate Professor of Persian-Iranian Studies in the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, Montreal. He is the author of Persian Authorship and Canonicity in Late Mughal Delh :     Building an Ark   (https://www.routledge.com/Persian-Authorship-and-Canonicity-in-Late-Mugh..., Routledge, 2016) and is currently working on a study of Mughal Persian reading practices. His interests include pre-modern literary theory and Persian-Urdu literatures.

Riding Singularities with Second Half Technologies

Vijay Chandru

10/02/2017

About the Lecture

We are in an exceptional era in which we have the confluence of at least three technologies (mechanical automation, computing & communications and molecular biology) that have reached exponential scale. We call them second half technologies invoking the metaphor of exponential growth embodied in the fable of Paal Payasam and rice grains doubling on the squares of a chessboard. How do we work, progress and prosper in this context of brilliant technology innovations that are appearing out of the woodworks at an alarming rate? Recombinant innovation seems to be a key strategy that translational research and entrepreneurship in India can look forward to in the next decade.  

About Speaker

Vijay Chandru earned his doctorate in Decision Sciences at MIT in 1982 and joined the faculty of Engineering at Purdue soon after. He served as a professor at Purdue for the next ten years before returning to join the faculty at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. He was elected a fellow of the Indian Academies of Science and Engineering. He is the current president of the Operations Research Society of India for a two year term 2017-2018. Professor Chandru serves as an adjunct faculty member of BioSystems Science & Engineering and a visiting professor of the Robert Bosch Centre for CyberPhysical Systems at IISc.  He was a co-inventor of the “Simputer” which was India’s visionary contribution to handheld computing that was launched in 2001.  He now leads India’s leading precision medicine company Strand Life Sciences, the first example of faculty entrepreneurship in India.  He was awarded the President’s Medal of INFORMS (Institute for Operations research and Management Science, USA) and Technology Pioneer of the World Economic Forum in 2006. India Today included him in the list of 50 Pioneers of Change in 2008.

Panel Discussion: A Feminist Lens on a Digital India

Aruna Roy

03/02/2017

About the Lecture

How do women feature in the digital imaginaries of the nation? How might we unpack Digital India as a gendered narrative? This panel interrogates the vision, discourse and trajectory of Digital India from a feminist standpoint. Panelists will examine the gender question in the digital policy framework, ways in which the digital economy touches the lives of women, the everyday digital encounters of citizens and the construction of gender in the digital imaginary of the nation state. (This panel discussion is the part of a workshop on 'The Gendered Digital: Power, Politics & Rights in the Network Society’ (3-4 February) organized in partnership with IT for Change and Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung - India Office).

About Speaker

Bishakha Datta is an Indian film maker, activist and a former journalist. She is the co-founder and executive director of Point of View, based in Mumbai, a non-profit working in the area of gender, sexuality and women's rights. Usha Ramanathan is an internationally recognized expert on law and poverty. Her research interests include human rights, displacement, torts and environment.Anita Gurumurthy is founder and Executive Director, IT for Change, an organisation working to promote social and gender justice in the information society context.

The Web of Freedom

Venu Govindu

02/02/2017

About the Lecture

Freedom fighter, economic philosopher, environmentalist and Gandhian constructive worker, J. C. Kumarappa (1892-1960) was a man of many parts. A champion of agrarian India and a proponent of a decentralised economy, Kumarappa was also an ecological thinker who was ahead of his times. Indeed, if Gandhi's swaraj was more than political self-rule, it was Kumarappa who imbued it with economic meaning. A dogged and creative advocate of economic justice, Kumarappa also critically examined many important public issues in the years before and after 1947. Based on his recent biography, the speaker will present a narrative of the fascinating story of Kumarappa's life, his philosophical arguments and practical ideas that have a striking contemporary relevance, and his illuminating critique of some key episodes of modern India's economic history.

About Speaker

Venu Madhav Govindu is a computer vision researcher with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. He also has a serious interest in the history and political economy of modern India, especially the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi. After the publication of his recent work, an intellectual biography of the Gandhian economic philosopher and constructive worker, J. C. Kumarappa, he is working on a thematic history of Gandhi's Sevagram period.

Gender Differences in STEM Courses and Careers

Kamala Mukunda

27/01/2017

About the Lecture

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM): these are almost completely male bastions in every country in the world. The proportion of women in these careers is even less than one would predict from the gender imbalance in society in general. Diversity is essential in STEM, because it makes for more creative research and design, and applications that are relevant to women too. So the question of why this particular gender gap persists definitely deserves investigation. The presentation will explain four hypotheses--average ability, variability, interest and bias--and review the fascinating psychological evidence for each.

About Speaker

Kamala Mukunda is a teacher at Centre for Learning, a school outside Bangalore. She did her PhD in educational and developmental psychology at Syracuse University some years ago, and has since been interested in communicating the findings of this research to those who would most benefit from knowing about it. She has published a book, What Did You Ask at School Today (2009, HarperCollins India).