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  • Author: Sheela Bhide
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: Many political analysts are of the view that the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh is one of the most controversial bifurcations of a State in recent history. After all, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh were bifurcated in the year 2000. There were problems in those States also, but none of the acrimony and bitterness that was seen in Andhra Pradesh. What really went wrong in Andhra Pradesh? Could it have been done differently? Are there any lessons that can be learnt? This paper has been prepared by a civil servant who was directly involved in the process of bifurcation as the Chairperson of the Expert Committee for recommending the bifurcation of the State Public Sector Units. In the process, the Expert Committee members were exposed to aspects of the bifurcation of State Government assets and liabilities as well. The issues have been divided into three categories: political, legislative and administrative.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Legislation, Nation-State
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Kishore Singh
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: There is widespread concern today with the ‘values crisis’. Moral and ethical values are sinking, and materialistic pursuits generated by the neo liberal economy are thriving. Mushrooming of privatisation in education, giving rise to the phenomenon of ‘edu-business’ in India, fosters this trend. This makes a mockery of India’s great traditions in education, her spiritual heritage and civilisational values in which gyaan or vidhya is not a commodity—a vyapaar and in which education has no lucrative purpose. Moreover, ‘edu-business’ is also an affront to the ideals embodied in our constitution. We seem to have lost all respect for our philosophical foundations and civilisational values where knowledge is free, and the head is held high. Use of digital devices also adds to the values crisis, as evidenced by fake degrees awarded by Internet-based learning, as well as the potentially harmful effects of various sites on the minds of children and adults. Many countries around the world are recognising the need and importance of overcoming the values crisis by promoting human values as a primary vocation of education. India, with its rich spiritual heritage and philosophical traditions, should be at the forefront in such initiatives. It is all the more imperative for India to play a pioneering role in value-based education since the thrust of India’s spiritual quest had been ‘universalist’, which makes it the heritage of the whole of humanity. Transformation of the education system in that spirit calls for radical measures. The challenging task is to evolve a new architecture for education in India, in which core human values derived from India’s philosophical legacy and spiritual heritage, as well as from ideals and principles enshrined in India’s constitution, permeate the entire education system. Value-based education is invaluable in mitigating and overcoming many woes that afflict our society.
  • Topic: Education, Ethics, Neoliberalism, Values
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Gopalkrishna Gandhi
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: As the title of this lecture suggests, it is about dissent, the right to dissent, the freedom to differ, to be able to say ‘I disagree; in fact I oppose…’. And to do so without fear. But no right comes without some difficulty. And sure enough, as I began working on this text, my late brother Professor Ramchandra Gandhi, Ramu as he was widely known, appeared in a hallucinated vision, to express dissent, strong disagreement, over the title of this lecture. He said to me in his inimitable mix of Hindi, Tamil and English: ‘Maine tumhare Mushirul Hasan lecture ka title “Freedom & Sons Ltd.” dekha hai… aur uska matlab samajh rahaa huun… lekin... Freedom & Sons Ltd… Sons…illai …illai….konchum politically incorrect…and not konchum, in fact romba incorrect, romba gender insensitive…. It may have passed muster some twenty or thirty years ago but not today…and certainly not in the IIC where Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay’s spirit is alive, where Durgabai Deshmukh peers over her husband’s shoulders to see that all is done right….The title obscures …in fact it nullifies the roles of India’s daughters…from Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi and Begum Hazrat Mahal of Avadh to Madame Cama and Annie Besant, Kasturba Gandhi who died, don’t forget, in a Raj prison, and Maulana Azad’s wife Zuleikha Begum who died in Calcutta when he was in the Ahmednagar Fort Prison and would not seek parole…. And then, no less than any of these…the women who stood for freedom not from the white man’s domination but from that of our own male-controlled society, like Mirabai, who broke out of the court and palace to public spaces singing of Krishna, the great emancipator, and M. S. Subbulakshmi, who broke out of the Carnatic kutcheri’s strict repertory to sing Mirabai’s songs of Krishna…’.
  • Topic: Freedom of Expression, Civil Rights, Freedom, Dissent, Free Speech
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Gagandeep Kang
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: Where are we today with regard to the role of women in science, technology, engineering, medicine (among other fields), women in leadership roles, and what are the challenges that lie ahead of us? In that context, it is very interesting to address both biology and sociology, and the reason we need to address the former is that explanations for why societies manifest in certain ways, or not, often hinge on our recourse to biology in various ways. As far as biology goes, humans are the consequence of hundreds of million years of evolution, from unicellular organisms to multiple kinds of multicellular organisms. There are a great number of animals with behaviour and nervous systems, and functions and physiology, which have many similarities with humans. Many animals run, many walk, many taste and smell in ways we do, and so on. Some animals fly, we do not. That brings us to sociology, and how our societies grew. Humans are distinct from other animals, in that, over evolutionary time, we chanced upon ways by which we could throw objects, and therefore make tools and engineer nature. We could speak and therefore communicate with each other and develop language.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Science and Technology, Women, Medicine , Evolution
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Come Carpentier de Gourdon
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: Indian civilisation has, time and again, influenced French literary and artistic life in various ways, more particularly from the mid-17th century, when the travel accounts of Francois Bernier and Jean-Baptiste Tavernier achieved great popularity in an intellectual class exposed to the fine goods imported by the French East India Company (la compagnie des Indes), or bought by traders. These included Golkonda diamonds, carved ivory, muslin, indigo, cashmere shawls, printed cotton fabrics known as ‘Indiennes’ or ‘madras’ , ‘Coromandel’ screens and miniatures of the Mughal school. The first poems, fables, novels, comedies and operas on Indian themes appeared in Europe in the years that followed.
  • Topic: Culture, Literature
  • Political Geography: India, France
  • Author: Ajit Prakash Shah
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: One subject that has been rankling me greatly for the past several months, and, I am sure, many of you, too, is that of the accountability of judges. The immediate trigger for my selecting this subject was, of course, the allegations made by a former employee of the Supreme Court of India against the present Chief Justice of India (CJI), and the events that followed. Over the past few months, several people have expressed concerns about how the judiciary must deal with such cases, and the accountability mechanisms that exist to monitor the judiciary in its actions. The issue still remains unanswered, and the incidents that took place reveal the many weaknesses in the in-house mechanism that is employed for resolving such matters. Without passing judgement on the truth or falsity of the allegations, I must admit there are certain stark facts that stand out which demand consideration. A permanent employee of the Supreme Court of India was removed from her post on the flimsy allegation of availing casual leave for half-a-day, and protesting against her seating arrangement. Her relative was dismissed from the same service soon thereafter. She made allegations of sexual harassment against the CJI, in response to which an unusual hearing took place on a Saturday, without a petition having been moved. In what was termed as a ‘Matter of Great Public Importance Touching upon the Independence of the Judiciary’, the person holding the highest judicial office in the land sat as a judge on his own case. Three judges attended that hearing, but the order that emerged was surprisingly signed only by two of those three, with the Chief Justice choosing to abstain.
  • Topic: Law, Supreme Court, Accountability, Judiciary, Legal Sector
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Prabha Sridevan
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: This is a sharing of my journey as a lawyer and as a judge, and about the right to dignity. This right precedes the Constitution; it probably dates to when we became homo sapiens and expected to be treated with dignity. In our Preamble, ‘We the people’ solemnly resolved to secure to all citizens, Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Fraternity, which is the least understood term, assures the dignity of the individual. But first, let me tell you how I became a lawyer and about that journey. Was it easy becoming a lawyer, and then a judge? people ask me. It was, in a way, and therefore my experience is not the standard sample case for other women. I joined law college 13 years after my basic degree, my marriage and my children. It was only because my husband was a lawyer. After I got enrolled, I had no trouble finding an office, because I joined my husband’s firm. I learnt the work along the way, not really expecting to head the office. And the clients who came to our office did not really see me either—I was ‘invisible’. They headed straight to the male juniors. I can’t blame them, they probably thought that this lady is there for what is politely called ‘tax purposes’. Slowly, they accepted me, and realised I actually ‘worked’. This went on comfortably and I trundled along.
  • Topic: Law, Memoir, Legal Sector
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Preeti Sudan
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: Our topic today, is the journey of preventive and promotive health care from a government perspective. I must say at the outset that it was always the intention of the government to have a mix of promotive and preventive health care strategies closely integrated with curative care. However, it is the curative care aspects that are most visible and this is perhaps the reason for significant investments in setting up health care facilities. In addition, people’s vocal demands for curative care, which are legitimate, led us to emphasise the curative part of health care. So the focus was tilted in favour of care provision after people fell ill, and we became the Ministry of Managing Illness. But I am glad that since last year, we are now the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and I am fortunate that I am at this very place as this paradigm shift is happening in health care. I want to also say that I’m doubly blessed, because I also got to do Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and was able to take action on discriminatory practices against women and girls in our country So I had that satisfaction as well.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Public Health
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Arvind Sharma
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: The reader’s first reaction to the title is likely to be one of scepticism, for although the events of September 11 are doubtless firmly etched in modern memory, and their connection to the world’s religions, or at least to one of them, is plain enough; to propose that these events could prompt philosophical reflections seems so far-fetched as to suggest an academic’s desperate search for a new topic – a push for novelty. Perhaps the clarification would palliate the reader somewhat that what we mean by philosophical reflections are considerations, which do not go all the way into pure philosophy but, nevertheless, embody reflections of a philosophical nature, inasmuch as their attempt is to place some of the issues raised by the events of September 11, specially in relation to world religions, in a broader perspective. The need for such reflection can hardly be questioned even here in India, now that we have had our own version of the 9/11, namely, the 26/11. I would like to focus on six such issues in what follows
  • Topic: Religion, Philosophy, 9/11
  • Political Geography: India, Global Focus
  • Author: Arvind Sharma
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: I think it is fairly self-evident that we in India use Western words and therefore concepts to describe Indian reality. The reason why we do so is also fairly self-evident and can be traced to British rule over India which formally came to an end in 1947 and the continuing prevalence of English language as a medium of discourse in India. This is such a familiar fact that we lose sight of its significance. Here I attempt to explore the consequences of this fact at both the micro and macro levels through concrete examples.
  • Topic: Post Colonialism, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Colonialism
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Karan Singh
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: At the outset I must pay my personal tribute to Prof. M.G.K. Menon, Goku as we used to call him, who was a dear friend and colleague for several decades. I first met him when I was in Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s cabinet and he attended a cabinet meeting as scientific adviser to the government of India. We were both very young men at that time. And after that of course, thanks to India International Centre, we became very close. We had so many meetings, so many conversations in this unique institution, India International Centre. Today, I will briefly present before you what I consider to be the contemporary relevance of the Vedanta. To my mind, a philosophy is only relevant if it helps us today. What it was thousands of years ago is very interesting for research scholars, and for people who are doing research, like the book on Sankaracharya, but unless those teachings are of use to us today, they are not really relevant. So what I believe is that the Vedanta is relevant, and I will explain why.
  • Topic: Religion, Philosophy, Hinduism
  • Political Geography: India