Concept Note of the Winter School on “Gandhi and His Contemporaries: Life and Thought”
(1 December 2018 - 15 December 2018), Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla
In the present national as well as global contexts of sharp decline of moral values in all walks of life and the rising curve of corruption, inequality, consumerism, injustice based on caste/race/gender, communalism, terrorism and environmental degradation, M. K. Gandhi (1869-1948) and his illustrious contemporaries, through their thoughts, actions and writings, offer the much-needed hope to the people to be the agents of a holistic socio-economic-cultural transformation based on truth, love and compassion- ensuring peace, harmony and happiness to all.
To us, Gandhi and his contemporaries represent what Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (1916-1968) so aptly called the “chiti” (soul or essence) of the nation, that remains the source of unity or integrity of the easily visible cultural diversities (linguistic, religious, ethnic, regional etc). Despite their perspectival differences, their “lives, thoughts and actions” may be said to have been grounded in their commitment to moral duty (dharma), justice (dharma), righteousness (dharma), ethical conduct (dharma) in all walks of (national) life. In essence, the multivalent concept of “dharma” is the “chiti” or essence of Bharat. When this quintessential ethical power of the nation called “chiti” dims or declines because of external or/and internal causes, the people suffer from all kinds of corruption, injustice and exploitation. Hence, the significance of “Gandhi and his contemporaries”.
Needless to say, the Winter School will make an attempt to explore the significations of “chiti” (or essence or meaning) of Bharat/India in multiple national contexts through the critical examination of the vision of Gandhi and his contemporaries. Without making any claim to invent any new idea, Gandhi, with his “sadachara or dharma(righteousness)-centric” vision and practice, recontextualized the perennial civilizational significance of such Indic concepts as swaraj, satyagraha, swadeshi and sarvodaya in modern times.
The objective of the Winter School on “Gandhi and His Contemporaries: Life and Thought” (1-15 December 2018) is to make the young research scholars and teachers understand the continuing relevance of the vision of Gandhi and his contemporaries to reorient and decolonize the overtly Euro-Americo-centric learning and pedagogical practices in such diverse fields as social sciences, humanities, literary and cultural studies.
Apart from Gandhi, the Winter School will try to focus on the significance of the vision of following thinkers (, this is by no means a complete list: subject to the availability of experts and other academic constraints) in contemporary contexts:-
The Ghadarites (patriots of the Ghadar Movement-1913-1919- Kartar Singh Sarabha, Bhai Paramanad, Har Dayal, Mohammad Iqbal Shedai, Rashbehari Bose, Gulab Kaur, Abdul Hafiz Mohammad Barakatullah etc)
Chandrashekhar Azad (1906-1931)
Ashfaqulla Khan (1900-1927) ; Sukhdev Thapar ( 1907- 1931)
Ramprasad Bismil (1897-1927); Shivaram Rajguru ( 1908-1931) and others.
CALL FOR PAPERS
Number of Participants : 25 ( The research scholars/ young teachers situated in colleges and universities of India).
Mode of Selection of Participants:- The interested researchers/young teachers will be required to submit their CVs , their research interests and a well-argued statement (Minimum-500 words) on any one of the following :-
a. the continuing relevance of the vision (including its critique wherever necessary) of Gandhi to address the contemporary problems (pertaining to social, political, economic, cultural, environmental issues) confronting the nation.
b. the significance of establishing, in the present contexts of political correctness and ideological dogmatism, a mutually complementary and constructive conversation or samvad between Gandhi and anyone of his illustrious contemporaries on different issues such as the rural-urban divide, nationalism (including its critique), neo-colonialism or cultural imperialism, annihilation of caste, gender-injustice, the language-question, swadeshi in knowledge-education systems and industry, sustainable development and sarvodaya, science and spirituality, etc. The candidate may write their “statements” on any one of the following “conversations” :-
Gandhi-Tagore, Gandhi-Swami Vivekananda, Gandhi- Subhas Chandra Bose, Gandhi-Ambedkar, Gandhi-Savarkar, Gandhi-Tilak, Gandhi-Lala Lajpat Rai, Gandhi-Sri Aurobindo, Gandhi-Swami Vivekananda, Gandhi-Bhagat Singh, Gandhi- Sardar Patel, Gandhi-Kasturba, Gandhi-Mira Behn, Gandhi-Jinnah, Gandhi- Abul Kalam Azad, Gandhi-Sarojini Naidu, Gandhi-Premchand, Gandhi-Subramania Bharathi, Gandhi-Sarojini Naidu, Gandhi-Raja Rao, Gandhi-Mulk Raj Anand, Gandhi- J.C. Kumarappa, Gandhi- Gora ( the atheist), Gandhi-Nehru, and so on and so forth.
C. the centrality of the performative aspect of “dharma” (not “religion” but righteousness, justice, duty, ethical conduct, spirituality) in the vision of Gandhi and his contemporaries.
The statements to be submitted by the interested candidates are desired to be argumentative, innovative and creative and Are Not Expected to Be Mere Stereotyped/Tautological Observations.
The selected candidates are expected to have read some of the writings of Gandhi and his contemporaries as they will also be required to make presentations during the School.
Note :-Each interested candidate is expected to submit her/his CVs, their research interests and a “Statement” (Minimum 500 words) on any aspect of the topics mentioned above, through e-mail, to the Academic Resource Officer, IIAS, Shimla (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a copy to the Coordinator (email@example.com) latest by 30 October 2018. The formal invitations will be emailed to the selected candidates (25 participants only) by November 10, 2018. The candidates are required to confirm their participation in the Winter School by sending an appropriate communication, through e-mail, to the ARO, IIAS, Shimla, latest by 15 November 2018.
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