Archive for August, 2015

Call for Papers
The Paramhansa Yogananda International Conference on Science, Spirituality and Education will be held from 25th-27th of September, 2015 in Himachal Pradesh University, Summer Hill, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, INDIA.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to) the following:

• Music, Science and Spirituality.
• Origin of Universe – Eastern and Western theories.
• Spirituality in Life Management.
• Spiritual Psychology.
• Spiritual Education and Modern Life.
• Rituals and festivals: Scientific Explanation.
• Science and Education.
• Science and Spirituality – Concept and contradictions.
• Spirituality in Formal Education.
• Science and Sanskaras.
• Value-based Education for better living.
• Cause of Human miseries and their Scientific and Spiritual solutions.
• Shad Darshan and Science.
• Vedic views on the theories of Personality Development.
• Spirituality and teaching of various subjects at all levels of Education.
• Modern Physics and Ancient Indian Philosophy
• Ancient Health Sciences, Spiritual Therapies and Healing techniques
• Spirituality and Environment
• Spiritual Sciences Engineering and Technology in Ancient India
• Physics and Beyond
• Machines, Mind and Consciousness
• Mathematics and Spirituality
• Life – its Origin and Purpose
• Spirituality and Health
• Science, Environment,
• Ethics and Spirituality
• Vedanta and Science
• Indian Science in ancient times
• Relationship of Science with other subjects
• Relationship of Spirituality with other subjects.
• Contribution of Yogoda Gurus towards Spirituality.
• Science and Spirituality – One goal and two paths.
• The true concept of Dharam.
• Music and Spirituality.
• Music and Science.
• Astrology, Science and Spirituality.
• Scientific bases of Language development

Contact Us
Dr. Mritunjay Sharma

Prof. Keshav Sharma

Mailing Address

Dr. Mritunjay Sharma
Department of Music
Himachal Pradesh University
Summer Hill, Shimla 171005
Himachal Pradesh, INDIA

email : conshimla2015@gmail.com

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Indian Institute of Advanced Study

Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla – 171005

Advertisement No. 4/2015

We invite applications for the award of Fellowships for advanced research in the following areas:

(a) Social, Political and Economic Philosophy;

(b) Comparative Indian Literature (including Ancient, Medieval, Modern Folk and Tribal);

(c) Comparative Studies in Philosophy and Religion;

(d) Comparative Studies in History (including Historiography and Philosophy of History);

(e) Education, Culture, Arts including performing Arts and Crafts;

(f) Fundamental Concepts and Problems of Logic and Mathematics;

(g) Fundamental Concepts and Problems of Natural and Life Sciences;

(h) Studies in Environment;

(i) Indian Civilization in the context of Asian Neighbours; and

(j) Problems of Contemporary India in the context of National Integration and Nation-building.

1. Scholars belonging to weaker sections of society and those who are differently abled/physical challenged will be given preference.

2. Applications from scholars working in, and on, the North Eastern region of India are encouraged.

3. Fellows will be required to submit a monograph on the completion of their term. The Institute will evaluate and consider this monograph for publication. The Institute will have the first right of publication and will have the copyright of the monograph submitted by the Fellow.

4. The term of Fellowship for independent and retired scholars would initially be for a period of one year, allowing continuation for another year after evaluation of the work done during the first year. In no case will this continue beyond two years. However, for in-service scholars who want to come for two years, the Fellowship would be awarded for a period of two years subject to the condition that continuation of the Fellowship for the second year would only be granted if the external Evaluation Report of the work done by the Fellow during the first year is positive.

7. The prescribed application form can be downloaded from the website: http://www.iias.ac.in. The application on the prescribed form may be sent to the Secretary, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla 171005. Applications can also be made online. Only applications in the prescribed application form would be considered by the Institute.

8. Fellows are expected to remain in residence from 1st March to 15th December. Their stay at the Institute during the winter months is optional. They may proceed on study tours during this period.

9. Proposals involving empirical work requiring data collection through extensive fieldwork would not be considered.

10. The pay of in-service Fellows will be protected. In addition, they will get 20 per cent of their basic pay in case they are maintaining a separate house at the place of their work, other than government accommodation. The Fellowship grant for Fellows who are independent scholars is Rs. 56,400/- per month.

11. The Institute provides hard furnished, rent-free accommodation to Fellows in cottages on the Rashtrapati Nivas Estate. In addition, scholars will be provided a fully furnished study, on a sharing basis, with computer and Internet facilities.

12. The Fellows will be provided with free stationary. They will have access to the Institute’s vehicles for local travel on payment of nominal charges.

13. Fellows are entitled to free medical treatment at the dispensary of the Institute.

14. It is mandatory for in-service candidates to apply through proper channel.

15. Fellowship applications of scholars who have been Fellows of the Institute within a period of the last five years will not be considered.

16. The short-listed scholars would be invited to make a presentation before the Fellowship Award Committee (FAC). Scholars with proven academic credentials, as decided by Screening Committee, may be exempted from this provision. Those interested can get further details from the Secretary of the Institute who is available on e-mail at secretary@iias.ac.in and may be contacted on 0177-2831379.

Applications must reach the Institute by 31st August 2015.

The application form can be downloaded here. PDF | MS Word

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Tagore and Nationalism

Concept Note

Rabindranath Tagore’s estimation of Indian nationalism is best expressed by the term ‘ambivalence’. Paradoxically, he had composed the national anthems for three nations: India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This ambivalent response of Tagore towards nationalism as an ideology was apparent in the complicated set of responses he received from Indians and non-Indians alike. For the British, he was the quintessential representative of the mysterious Orient. His English writings, in certain political contexts, resonated deeply within the Anglophone world. Yet, the British intelligentsia felt uneasy with his ‘exotic’ persona. At home, Tagore developed the concept of ‘syncretic’ civilization as a basis of nationalist civilizational unity, where ‘samaja’ (society) was given centrality, unlike the European model of state-centric civilization. However, from 1921 onwards, as the subterranean tensions of communalism became clear, Tagore discerned these fractures of community and caste and reflexively critiqued his own political position within it. In this regard, Rabindranath confessed: “I took a few steps down the road, and then stopped”. Thus, in the Indian political context, the early Rabindranath’s (1877 to 1917) stance on the Swadeshi and anti – Partition movements was in sync with the contemporary political climate. His subsequent withdrawal as the muse of the Nation was, therefore, both bewildering and unpleasant to a nationalised community.

Tagore, post-1917, emerged as the critic of the modern idea of nation/ nation-state and shared the deep unease that Romain Rolland and Albert Einstein also felt. The three novels—Gora, Char Adhyay and Ghare Baire—where he unravelled the dangers of hyper-masculine aggressiveness cum hyper sexuality, reflect his ‘dis-ease’ with nationalism. Tagore, in his Nationalism (1917), criticised not only the “organizing selfishness of Nationalism” in the West, but also the replication of this alien concept of nationalism in India by the nationalists. He observed that, “India never had a real sense of nationalism” and that India’s reverence for ‘God’ and the ideal of ‘humanity’ need not be replaced by the European concept of a limited ‘national identity’. Rabindranath’s prolific writings register his ultimate affinity with non-sectarian humanist/modernist position.

Tagore’s (post/anti)nationalism seemed to have slightly disturbed Gandhi, though both of them shared much philosophical affinity. Despite some conceptual contradictions in the sphere of political praxis, both Gandhi and Tagore believed in freedom as the ultimate goal for India. For Tagore, however, Gandhi’s politically grounded notion of ‘swaraj’ and the ‘satyagraha’ “would naturally bring out violent and dark forces”. In his view, such a route to freedom would not eventually lead to the “liberation of the soul”. Tagore’s reading of nationalism as a passion without compassion, of an unfeeling negative bond between the self and the other made him the target of criticism, not only in India, but also in Russia, Germany, Spain, USA, Yugoslavia, Poland, Turkey, Japan and a large section of the literate world influenced by the West.

Tagore himself suffered from deep disillusionment with his former conviction in the liberating power of European Enlightenment. However, he retained his faith in humanity. This faith imparted to a colonized subject like him the courage to aspire to a metaphysical cum universalist modernism/humanism: a position that he could trace to Indian philosophical traditions. He thus bypassed the corrosive effects of colonization and could envision ‘pedagogy of decolonization’ through the establishment of the Visva Bharati. Tagore’s vision and discourse of an alternative modernity and “freedom” was a counterfoil to a colonial power that emanated from mere imperial/racial/technocratic superiority.

This seminar would try to revisit the concepts of nation, nationalism, identity and selfhood, civilization, culture and homeland, thereby addressing how Rabindranath’s (post/anti/inter)nationalist standpoint would possibly contribute to the creation of a transnational and transcultural identity of a universal global community. How can one approach the internal contradiction in Tagore’s own evaluation of nationalism? He regarded self-sacrifice for the sake of the nation as a demoralizing and dehumanizing force on account of the nationalist claim that “the nation is greater than the people”. Nevertheless, he considered that the “power of self-sacrifice” and the “moral faculty of sympathy and co-operation” structure “the guiding spirit of social vitality”. Is there an alternative discourse in his terminologies like deshabhiman, swadeshprem, deshbhakti, swadeshchetana as not being synonymous with nationalism? How far was his suggestion of maintaining India as ‘a land without a centre’ got addressed through his interrogation of the issues of class/caste/gender/minorities in his own creative exercises? Can Tagore’s philosophical critique of nationalism which is based on a critical reading of Indian traditions, particularly with the extensive deployment of his Brahmo inheritance and the ideas of the Vedas and Upanishads, be used as a counter-narrative against extremist Hindu nationalism? How can we locate Tagore vis-à-vis the contemporary views/stances on nationalism? What is the regional/Indian/global response to Tagore through translation/adaptation?

Papers are invited for presentation, related to any of the following suggested themes:

Tagore and Nationalism: Contemporary Visions/Receptions of (Post/Anti/Inter)Nationalism
Civilization and Nationalism: Regional, National and Global Mediations
Interrogating Nationalism in Literature, Art and Culture
History and Politics: Concerns regarding ‘Home’, ‘Other’ and the Future of Nationalism
Tagore’s Pedagogy and “De-colonization” of the Self.

A limited number of participants will be invited for the Seminar. Those interested in participating should send an abstract (500-700 words) of the proposed paper along with their C.V. to:

Professor K.L. Tuteja (Coordinator)
Tagore Fellow
Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla- 171005
Tel: 0177-2832930 (Extn. 350): +91-9416571831 (Mobile)
Email: kltuteja@gmail.com

Dr. Kaustav Chakraborty (Co-coordinator)
Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla- 171005
Tel: 0177-2832930 (Extn. 220): +91-8988051421 (Mobile)
Email: kaustavchakraborty2011@gmail.com, kc.southfield@yahoo.com

Shri Kamal Sharma
Academic Resource Officer,
Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla- 171005
Tel: 0177-2831385; +91-9418450024 (Mobile)
Email :aro@iias.ac.in

The last date for submission of abstract (500-700 words) is 1 July, 2015. The date for short listing of participants is 8 July, 2015. The Institute intends to send Invitation letters to selected participants by 15 July, 2015. It is the policy of the Institute to publish the proceedings of the seminars it organizes. Hence, all invited participants will be expected to submit complete papers (6000-10000 words), hitherto unpublished and original, with citations in place, along with a reference section, to the Academic Resource Officer, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla – 171005 by 5 October, 2015. IIAS, Shimla, will be glad to extend its hospitality during the Seminar period and is willing to reimburse, if required, rail or air travel expenses from the place of current residence in India, or the port of arrival in India, and back.

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Academic discourses on religion in modern South Asia have predominantly searched for ‘essence’ of religious traditions by analysing their ‘source’ and ‘original components’. When this ‘source’ gets recognized, religion is a historically established in its ‘pure and unchanging essence’. This largely Protestant conception of religion then seeks to explain the ‘foreign imports’ and ‘influences’ as derivates from the ‘original’. This conception of religion discounts religion’s capability of change; ‘how traditions emerge, disappear, or evolve over time, how they adapt to different cultural environments, freely assimilating some bits and pieces of those environments, but not others’. With the kind of diversity enriching the social experience of South Asia, religious practices are bound to be fluid, embedded and dialectic. In keeping with the larger aim of exploring the interface between religion and social diversity, it will also be intriguing to understand whether the former overrides the latter or vice-versa. This aspect of religion has remained neglected both as historical experience as well as in the contemporary contexts of globalisation which shapes the social formation of the twenty-first century South Asia.

Several debates since the colonial times have either viewed religion as a narrow social experience guided by sacred texts or projected it as the defining character of modern nation-states. On the contrary, before the advent of colonialism, different regions of South Asia had diverse social experience of religion. Though geographically connected, the region encompassed spectacular diversity and plurality, that had been further enriched through centuries of mutual interactions. The subcontinent’s centuries old contact with the world had over a period of time led to the development of large trading towns along the land routes as well as coastal areas. These towns were South Asia’s connect with diverse cultures inside the mainland and the world outside, spreading its multiple points of contact with South-East Asia, China, Central Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The contours of these contacts were economic, political and also social. In fact, the most lasting of these contacts was social, interspersing languages, religion and society at large. Pre-colonial South Asia also significantly comprised of a diverse spectrum of tribes spread across the geographical contours and practicing primitive, pastoral and/or agro-pastoral subsistence economy, and had points of social contacts with regions within the subcontinent.

Therefore, South Asia comprised of a significant landmass with remarkable ethnic and cultural fluidity, the diverse religious experience of which was probably distinct from that of Europe. Contrary to narrow Oriental paradigm, the region had its complex mechanism of dialogue and critique. The advent of aggressive colonial knowledge systems gave a serious blow to an intellectual milieu, which encompassed ‘diversity’ and defined the social experiences of South Asia. Such a challenge to social diversity came both from colonial ethnographers, linguists, historians and enumerators, as well as social reformers- European missionary and indigenous elite- whose theological discourse complemented each other in challenging religious practices in South Asia. Thus, social diversity was the crucial casualty in the colonial administrative enterprise and, perpetuated the ethic and communal vivisection of the subcontinent. Post-colonial South Asia continues to grapple with this complex residue of colonisation that sought to restructure every aspect of life and community in the colony.

This seminar proposes to enlarge the debate on religion and society by arguing that contrary to linear colonial discourses on territoriality and ethnicity, ‘diversity’ defines the everyday experiences in South Asia. Significantly, there is a peculiar similarity in both the symptoms as well as problems that plague contemporary South Asia. Thus, while territoriality remains critical political contour of defining national identities in the region, cultural crossovers and co-existence are a historical reality. Recognition of the diversities of this region is becomes extremely crucial for lasting peace, cooperation and harmony in the subcontinent.

The seminar invites scholars engaged in the study of religion and society in South Asia to present papers on any of the following suggested broad sub-themes;

Discourses on Religious Pluralism and Social Diversity
Shared Origins and Divergent Experiences in Everyday Lives
Folk/Popular Religion and Linguistic Diversity
Contours of Community and Ethnicity
Territoriality, Demography and Social Transformations
Religion and Urban Societies
Religion, Globalisation and Diaspora
A limited number of participants will be invited for the seminar. Those interested in participating should send an abstract (500-800 words) of the proposed paper to following Email ID’s:

yogeshsnehi@gmail.com, yogesh@aud.ac.in

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On January 9, 2015, the country would begin the centenary celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa. This centenary is an appropriate occasion to examine the formative influence of the South African period and its continued resonance in his later life.

Little over two decades that M K Gandhi spent in South Africa has been one of the least explored and understood periods of his life. It has been largely seen as a period of preparation, of apprenticeship as it were, for his eventual return to India and his role in the larger sub-continental theatre. While there is merit in this argument it tends to reduce the two decades of South African life to episodic re-telling of certain climatic moments. The proposed conference seeks to draw upon recent intellectual engagement with the South African period. This engagement has given us a biography on the South African period of Gandhi’s Life, a study of Gandhi as a Lawyer, a history of Indian opinion and the International Printing Press at Phoenix.

If the South African period is marked by Gandhi’s intense engagement with non-conformist Christianity which began in London, his pronounced religious quest and the by-hearting of the Bhagvad Gita, then it also is a period where he learnt to explore the boundaries of law and jurisprudence that eventually led him to formulate theory and practice of civil disobedience and Satyagraha.This is also the period where Gandhi’s relationship with his own body through experiments in food and diet, fasting, walking, performing bodily labour, celibacy and prison going underwent fundamental changes. This desire to attain mastery over his body would remain a lifelong quest with him.

It is in South Africa that Gandhi began to imagine and create institutional structures that made both politics and non-political engagements with communities possible. These institutional forms are the political organization (Natal Indian Congress), a site where political and spiritual experiments could be undertaken (The ‘Ashram’ like institutions of Phoenix settlement and Tolstoy Farm), and printing press (The International Printing Press and the Indian Opinion.)

The South African period saw the advent of Satyagrahas and the preparations that he and the Indian community had to undergo to become Satyagrahis. This period also marked Gandhi’s deep understanding of the labour question-largely in respect to the movement of labour through the system of indenture.

This period also saw the emergence of the thinker in Gandhi. His readings, experiments in writing through the Indian opinion and his analysis of the ailment of India of India lead to formulation of one of the most arresting dialogues of modern India.

The writing of Hind Swaraj, a text that remains a key philosophical text that seeks to understand the modern civilization through a ground that lies outside it has been subject of scholarly enquiry, and yet the process by which he prepared himself for this work require further engagement.

Gandhi formed deep and lasting personal and political bonds in this period and the contribution of these conversations either as friends, mentors or associates require scholastic engagement.

The contours of the movement for rights and dignity of the South African Indians after 1915 also require to be studied. The South African experiments were to play a large part in Gandhi’s political, institutional and spiritual life after his return to India.

The establishment of Satyagraha Ashram first at Kochrab and later at Sabarmati, the founding of Navajivan, young India and Harijan journals, the work that he along with CF Andrews did on the abolition of the practice of indenture, his life long quest for attainment of perfect Brahmacharya and the constant endeavor to re-formulate the principles and practice at Satyagraha are some of the strands that link organically the South African period to his later life in India.The proposed conference would seek to require participants who would together address some of these strands.

A limited number of participants will be invited for the seminar. Those interested in participating should send an abstract (500-700 words) of the proposed paper to following Email ID:


A limited number of participants will be invited for the Conference. Those interested in participating should send title and a synopsis (500-700 words) of the proposed paper along with their C.V. to:-

Shri Kamal Sharma
Academic Resource Officer,
Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla- 171005
Tel: 0177-2831385; +91-9418450024 (Mobile)
Email :aro@iias.ac.in
The last date of submission of title/synopsis of paper alongwith abstract is 05 August 2015. Invitation letters to all participants will be sent by 14 August 2015. It is the policy of the Institute to publish the proceedings of the seminars it organizes. Therefore, all invited participants will be expected to submit complete papers to the Academic Resource Officer, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla – 171005 by 28 September 2015. IIAS, Shimla, will be glad to extend you its hospitality during the Seminar period and is willing to reimburse, if required, your rail or air travel expense from your place of current residence in India, or your port of arrival in India, and back.

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Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla

in collaboration with

Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi

Concept Note

Soft power as a concept has attracted a fair share of international attention among both theorists of power and practitioners of foreign policy ever since 1990, when it was expounded within the lexicon of International Relations (IR) by Joseph Nye. Simply stated, soft power is often distinguished from its ‘other’, hard power which is the conventional metric most IR realists have in mind when they think about enhancing a nation’s standing globally. While hard power is often equated with brute material resources possessed by states both in military and economic terms, soft power is a function of persuasive power, moral influence and politics by other means. As Nye states ‘[a] country’s soft power can come from three resources: its culture (in places where it is attractive to others), its political values (when it lives up to them at home and abroad), and its foreign policies (where they are seen as legitimate and having moral authority).’ Quite evidently, most states do not rely entirely on hard power or entirely on soft power but a combination, which Nye refers to as ‘smart power’.

While his initial thesis on soft power was published in 1990, Nye advanced well over a decade after its coinage (in the Yale Global Online Magazine) a series of propositions that might be worth revisiting in the light of the specific empirical case of India. Six of these propositions could be listed here, not as settled final statements but as plausible hypotheses about the nature and modalities of the exercise of soft power. These propositions are worth mulling over during the course of the conference:

‘Soft Power is Cultural Power’
‘Economic Strength is Soft Power’
‘Soft Power is More Humane than Hard Power’
‘Hard Power Can be measured, and Soft Power Cannot’
‘Soft Power is Difficult to Use’
‘Soft Power is Irrelevant to the Current Terrorist Threat’
The conference at the IIAS would seek to proceed along two planks drawing on a diverse community of both eminent academics and practitioners invested in prising open the category and examining threadbare its implications and limitations for the manner in which we can understand India’s engagements in the world, circa 2015.

The first task remains a conceptual audit of the term. What does the state of play in relation to the category of soft power globally today suggest? Did soft power have other names prior to Nye’s employment of the term to discuss US decline in the world and the strategic options it could exercise in the light of its decline? Does the concept conceal or camouflage a deeper politics of knowledge that privileges certain forms of power to the detriment of others, to distract attention from the main game, old style statism or traditional geopolitics? Do we assume a misplaced benignness when we think about soft power? What explains this widespread tendency? Can we think of soft power in registers not envisaged in the original Nye formulation and its subsequent revision? These are some questions worth probing theoretically at the outset.

The second task is to turn our attention to the specific empirical case study of India. How has India brought to bear the three dimensions of culture, political values and foreign policy to leverage its own construct of ‘soft power’? Is the grammar of soft power different in India or in other words, is there an exceptionalism to the manner in which older civilisations (China is an obvious instance here) read and operationalise notions of soft power? Are the competing notions of soft power embedded in the deeper intellectual traditions in India and how does this manifest in the grime of quotidian politics in the real world? Do civilisations come to treat soft power differently from Westphalian states?

With regard to culture, it would be fair to ask how India has positioned itself internationally in this realm? How does the Indian Council of Cultural Relations interpret culture from India and what are the vehicles it has chosen to project this diversity to the external world? One could also ask in this context with what success have envisaged outcomes in this domain been realised. How does this pan out both in terms of ‘the idea of India’ as well as the accompanying instrumentalities to successfully convey the cultural life worlds of India? What are the inclusions and exclusions that have marked this process and is there an alternative vantage point for an audit of these exercises in public diplomacy?

With regard to political values as well, a similar set of questions are in order in the Indian instance. What are the political values that we subscribe to and which of these are pre-eminent in our scheme of things? To what extent can India successfully communicate to the world its reasonably successful instantiation of democracy and its abiding faith in secularism as constitutional credo? Is there a middle path in terms of our political commitments globally; is our commitment to non-intervention in other states in the international system steadfast or subject to some reconsideration and where do our hopes for the future lie?

A third but equally crucial dimension relates to foreign policy. If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, foreign policy is the site which needs to be most closely scrutinised to gauge the efficacy of both our instrumentalities of soft power communication to the world and the extent of its influence in relation to desired outcomes. While thinking about soft power, foreign policy considerations are pervasive and inescapable. What we would merely like to acknowledge at this stage is that foreign policy is dynamic and evolving and to treat our notions of soft power as static would be misleading. Where do we stand in relation to these facets today? It would be of particular interest here to give thought to our soft power projections within South Asia and our immediate neighbourhood to begin with. A panel on science diplomacy as an element of India’s soft power projection could well illustrate the relevant dynamics in this domain.

Practitioners of foreign policy have much to contribute to our discussion here as also in all the other proposed modules in our proposed conference.

The conference would seek to put appropriate emphasis on cultural pluralism as India’s unique claim to global influence. Discussions could focus on particular aspects, such as:

how do we package and portray culture (experiences from the “festivals of India” conducted during the Indira-Rajiv Gandhi years; how the ICCR has been going about its mandate; recent exercises in curating Indian art abroad);
the global dominion of Bollywood – facts and fantasies about India;
the power of sport (cricket in particular and the recently acquired image of villainy as the bully of international cricket ever willing to gang up with the old club of England and Australia);
the power of border communities and the pull of cross-border affinities;
India as source of services such as health and education: aside from being the destination that people from other countries travel to for these services, there is also the aura acquired from providing these in other countries: as with the rebuilding of the Habibia High School in Kabul and the continuing services provided by the Indira Gandhi paediatric hospital in Kabul.
India as an example of cultural accommodation: where we could look at the aspects of official policy that earned strong commendations from the UNDP’s Human Development Report of 2004, focused around the theme of “cultural liberty”.
Channelling the power of the Indian media – a discussion which would inevitably touch upon the far from edifying spectacle of how the Indian media made itself most unwelcome in Nepal with its coverage of the human tragedy of the April 25 earthquake.
Participants could include officials currently in charge of the public diplomacy function in the Ministry of External Affairs, current and former heads of overseas cultural centres (such as the Nehru Centre in London, the Indira Gandhi centres in Mauritius and Dhaka, academics and resource persons who have worked on the festivals of India, media practitioners with expertise in international relations, international relations specialists.

Select References

Joseph Nye, ‘Soft Power’, Foreign Policy, No.80, Twentieth Anniversary (Autumn, 1990), pp.153-171

Joseph Nye, ‘Think Again: Soft Power’, Yale Global Online, foreignpolicy.com/2006/02/ 23/think-again-soft-power. Last downloaded on 25 April, 2015.

Christian Wagner, ‘From Hard Power to Soft Power? Ideas, Interaction, Institutions and Images in India’s South Asia Policy’, South Asia Institute, Department of Political Science, University of Heidelberg, Working Paper No.26, March 2005, <http://archiv.ub.uni heidelberg.de/volltextserver/5436/

Kadira Pethiyagoda, ‘India’s Soft Power Advantage’, The Diplomat, September 17, 2014. <http://thediplomat.com/2014/09/indias-soft-power-advanatage/ Last downloaded on 25 April, 2015.

Sukumar Muralidharan, ‘We’ve got the (soft) power’, 10 April, 2015 http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/blink/know/weve-got-the-soft power/article7085583.ece

Last downloaded on 25 April, 2015

Siddharth Mallavarapu, ‘Globalization and the Cultural Grammar of ‘Great Power’ Aspiration, International Studies, vol.44, no.2, 2007, pp.87-102.

A limited number of participants will be invited for the Conference. Those interested in participating should send title and a synopsis (500-700 words) of the proposed paper along with their C.V. to:-

Shri Sukumar Muralidharan,
Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla- 171005
Tel: 0177-2832930 (Extn. 230): +91-9810518009 (Mobile)
Email: sukumar.md@gmail.com
Dr. Siddharth Mallavarapu
Associate Professor,
Department of International Relations,
South Asian University,
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
Mobile + 91-9310444674
Email: mallavarapu.siddharth@gmail.com

Shri Kamal Sharma
Academic Resource Officer,
Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla- 171005
Tel: 0177-2831385; +91-9418450024 (Mobile)
Email :aro@iias.ac.in

The last date of submission of title/synopsis of paper alongwith abstract is 30 June 2015. Participants will be shortlisted and invitation letters will be sent by 05 July 2015. It is the policy of the Institute to publish the proceedings of the seminars it organizes. Therefore, all invited participants will be expected to submit complete papers to the Academic Resource Officer, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla – 171005 by 04 September 2015

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Disciplines, Movements and Policies: The Changing Relationship Between Science, State and Society

November 24-25, 2015

Internal changes within the sciences are rendered more complex by the organizational transformation at the different sites of knowledge production. Institutions of higher learning and research forge new collaborative ties and arrangements with a variety of stakeholders and clients under the pressure of a state that appears to be withdrawing as the major, and sometimes only, supporter of scientific research. In fact, the state’s relationship with the world of science, and the internal dynamic of scientific and technological evolution, has rendered the study of `science and state’ highly problematic and contested.

In order to engage with this problematic a group of scholars had congregated at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla in 2012 for a two-day workshop. The purpose was to examine and explore the relationship between science, state and society as well as the concepts and theories employed by researchers studying the relationship. The proceedings of this engagement appeared in the February 2014 issue of Seminarentitled `State of Science’. The contributions in this issue reflected the changing science, state and society relationship in the South. A major concern of several of these papers was the field of agricultural science and agricultural biotechnology. From their respective disciplinary perspectives, the contribution asked what the transformations in the state, institutional and organizational practice of the technosciences meant for democracy and citizenship. They sought to understand what these changes signified for the making of policy for the sciences and development, and how these transformations were produced within institutions of higher education that sustain the system for the production of knowledge.

A seminar is now being organized at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, between 24-25 November 2015, that proposes to focus the next discussion on the several sites of interrogation and research, civil action and resistance. Five decades ago there was a greater degree of convergence on questions and approaches. In contrast, the dissatisfaction and differentiation with the world of sciences is reflected more tangibly in the metadiscourse as well. At a foundational level the social imaginary of science has itself changed, as has the language of political legitimacy. These changes can be identified at the epistemological, institutional, organizational and ideological levels; not to mention the entanglements and nested association between these levels.

The study of controversies and controversial science has revealed the diversity of the sciences as opposed to its unity. Furthermore, the greater emphasis on its instrumental side, captured in the concept of technoscience, sometimes at the expense of its intrinsic goals, has further exacerbated this diversity and differentiation. These sciences are in turn implicated in equally diverse relations with the state, and this in turn is reflected in the varied cultures of policy-making across and within nations. Likewise, there are different cultures of science policy making spread across the sciences and technosciences. The concept of technoscience itself is a product of a particular moment in the evolution of science and technology, a conjuncture both in the development of the sciences where one ideal of knowledge is overwhelmed if not suppressed by another.

A claim one could reasonably make is that the technosciences are embedded in equally diverse social relations and cultures of policy and decision-making. This call for papers solicits contributions that reflect upon this diversity in the areas of medicine, health, environment, and communication technologies. The plural contexts within which the sciences are embedded have given rise to a proliferation of conceptual categories and languages that overlap even while referring to distinct objects—mandated science, post-academic science, mode-2 science, triple helix, academic capitalism, post-normal science, social robust science, science in the agora, and so on. Clearly, this transformation has been catalyzed by the genetics-communication revolution, which in turn transforms the state as well: from a nation state into a `network state’, driven by the new logics of networks and identities. Despite the proliferation of conceptual categories, they all gesture towards a greater socialization of science which brings with it questions of accountability, social responsibility and innovation, all entangled in a variety of ways, though the dominant discussion around innovation very frequently refers to market innovation. So much so, Nowotny et al. would characterize the 1950s as an era of the scientization of society and the last two decades as marking in more ways than one, the socialization of science.

There appears to be the recognition that a culture of democratic pluralism is the very prerequisite for the production and reproduction of the culture of science. Ironically enough, speaking of matters closer home, we have been witness to a precipitous decline in the democratic culture of science in the subcontinent. The inability of the scientific community to cope with the democratization and expansion of the social reach of science has reinforced authoritarian tendencies within the scientific community, sometimes expressed in the assertion of their rightful and sole claim to scientific expertise. This undermines science’s ability to adjudicate between several epistemic or social alternatives. The centring of scientific authority in the narrativization of science plays a role analogous to the imaginary of science as value-neutral. Furthermore, in the auditing of scientific innovation or resolution of controversies, there is a failure to highlight the socially distributed nature of knowledge in the making— thereby legitimating the new intellectual property regimes. As public controversies related to science proliferate—a sign of the socialization of science— one misses the voices of democracy and dissidence within the world of science. The seminar hopes to stimulate a conversation on the changing social and organizational context of science and a reflection on how our concepts, categories and theories are shaped by and mirror these changes.

Contributions from interested participants are invited on the following themes:

Cultures of policy-making in the sciences and technosciences: health and medicine, environment, communication and energy
Interrogating technoscience, mode-2 and other conceptual categories framing studies and research on the sciences/technosciences in South Asia:
Scientific accountability in a `network state’
Dimensions of the socialization of science
Challenges for democratic pluralism in the world of science.



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Third South Asian History Conference on 16-18 October 2015

16th to 18th October 2015
Patiala, Punjab, India

Religion, State and Society in South Asia: A Historical Perspective

The Department of History, Punjabi University Patiala, Punjab (India) will hold its Third South Asian History Conference on 16-18 October 2015 at Punjabi University campus. This three day conference aims to bring together historians, academicians, research scholars working on the countries of South Asia viz. India, Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Myanmar to cover the gap in South Asian Historical Studies

Research in humanities and literary studies has seen during the last two decades a renewed interest in the role of religion, a development sometimes known as the ‘religious turn’. There has been close interplay between religion and polity during different phases of history. However the nature, intensity and the dynamics of this interaction was different during each of these phases. Undeniably the religious traditions in the different stages of their career have worked alternatively both as unifying courses and as divisive forces. Thus there have been varying degrees of connection between religion, legitimacy of political power and social change.

Religion appears to have been a crucial factor in the ‘makeup’ of the Indus Valley Civilisation as is proven by the archaeological evidences. The growth and evolution of caste system during the ancient period needs to be analysed not only in terms of Brahmanical ideology of purity but can also be explained as a consequence of the spread of Buddhism and Jainism.

The emergence and spread of Islam in South Asia during the medieval period is indeed of great historical significance. The role of Islamic law in shaping political institutions needs to be critically analysed keeping in mind the complex structures of division and difference in the society of South Asia. Side by side the Sufi and Bhakti movements fostered the spirit of mutual understanding, tolerance and co-operation and deeply influenced not only the moral, spiritual and cultural life but also state policy in South Asia. Besides some of the rulers interfered with existing religious practices or contributed to promoting new religious ideas. The attempt at religious reforms by the Mughal emperor Akbar is laudable.

Religion had a definite role to play in moulding resistance to British colonial rule in South Asia, before the rise of the national movement. It has been argued that the religious convictions of the Indians clearly influenced their participation in the Revolt of 1857. However, the spread of national movement in the Indian sub-continent was accompanied by a parallel growth of communalism. The unfortunate result was the division of India on the basis of religion in 1947.

The social and religious reform movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were a necessary prelude to the political awakening in the Indian sub-continent. It was difficult to separate social reform from religious reform, and each step to reform a religion was taken within that religion. The ramifications of these reforms on the political climate in the region cannot be lost sight of.

History has always faced a struggle in engaging with the religious past of South Asia as its legacies are riddled with many complex issues which are continuously debated upon even today. The histories of religious ideas are embedded in society and to some extent have shaped social reality. The impact of religion on societal concerns cannot be denied though the degree of its extent is debatable. Inspite of its sometimes repressive influence, it contains with in itself not only tradition of tolerance and amity but also a sense of morality which is a vital element and has guided much of the political vicissitudes and social change in South Asia.

The aim of this conference is to comprehend in detail the interactive and varied pattern between religion and polity with its varied social consequences during different phases of history and its implications for contemporary South Asia.

Suggested Themes:

Themes might include but need not be limited to the following:

 Religion and Statecraft
 Religion and Political legitimacy
 Religion and Institutions ( Political and Social)
 Religion and Society
 Sufi and Bhakti saints
 Religion and Colonial rule
 Religion and Communalism
 Religion, identity and ethnicity
 Religion ,Education and Philosophy
 Science and Religion
 Socio-religious reform movements
 Women, Gender and Religion
 Religion and rites related to birth, marriage and death
 Religion and law
 Religion as a stimulus to art, architecture and literature

Call for Papers

The soft copy of the abstract with a maximum of 500 words, double spaced (in Times New Roman font size 12) written in English should be sent for acceptance at sahcpta@gmail.com on or before
31 August 2015. After scrutiny of the abstracts the authors will be notified regarding the acceptance of papers on 7 September 2015. The deadline for final paper submission is
5 October 2015. The authors should limit their papers within 15•20 pages


All participations are required to register. The scholars are required to register before or on 8
October 2015. The registration fees (which includes accommodation and food for three days) for

Indian scholars is rupees 1000/•, for scholars of other countries is 50 USD. The registration fees for
Indian research students are rupees 750/•, for research students of other countries is 30 USD.

Mode of Payment

The details regarding mode of payment will be conveyed shortly.


The organisers will provide accommodation to the paper presenters only.


The proceedings of the conference will be duly published by Publication Bureau, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Other Information

Further details about the programme and sessions of the conference will be duly intimated. Contact Information

Send in your queries at hist.conf2015@gmail.com or contact us at: +91-175-3046192,

1. Dr. Jaspal Kaur Dhanju

Professor and Head Department of History Punjabi University, Patiala Mob: +91-9915583843

2. Dr. Kulbir Singh Dhillon

Professor and Formerly Head, Department of History
Dean, College Development Council
Punjabi University, Patiala
Mob: +91-9417385002

Website: http://punjabiuniversity.ac.in/pbiuniweb/pages/8715/Religion%20has%20been%20coterminous%20with%20human%20history.htm

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56th All India Political Science Conference

“Re-inventing Politics in India”

25-27 October, 2015

Department of Political Science,


Link for details:

Click to access polit1.pdf

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Call for Papers
Philosophy of Education Conference, 2016
Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
10-12 January, 2016

Azim Premji University invites papers for the 4th Philosophy of Education Conference to be held from 10th to 12th January 2016 at Bengaluru.

Submissions must address one the following themes

1. Culture and School Curriculum

Through its public school curriculum, a modern society represents to itself and its wards the nation, its heritage, cultural pasts, and current socio-cultural, economic and political aspirations. The school curriculum also embodies the political and cultural values and ideals that a society resolves to identify with. In a culturally diverse society, decisions regarding what is worthy of inclusion in the curriculum and what should be kept out come to be contested, as different sections of society have diverse views on the issue. The question of how the school curriculum is to be decided also turns out to be a political contestation between rival ideological and cultural representations of history, past knowledge and the extant socio-political order, bringing into play principles of inclusion and exclusion, hierarchy and power.

Under the theme entitled “Culture and School Curriculum”, the Conference proposes to explore the social, psychological and philosophical dimensions of curriculum in terms of educational aims, and desirable political and cultural values. It is expected that doing so will help unravel the ideological and political contestations that have come to characterise school curriculum reform in present-day society.

Some questions that might be asked against this backdrop include the following. What ought the school curriculum to represent in contemporary society? In what ways might the ideological tensions of a culturally diverse society inform the content and principles of curriculum? If political power be not acceptable as the final arbiter on curricular decisions, what should determine adoption of content? What is the value of the critique that various standpoint theories offer to the analysis of curriculum? Is it possible for philosophers of education to transcend relativism and suggest universal criteria that decide educational aims and limn the contours of a desirable society?

2. Philosophy and the Practice of Teaching

In contemporary times, the concept and practice of teaching has witnessed unprecedented scrutiny from different quarters. While on the one hand it is claimed that quality of an educational system is determined by the quality of its teachers, on the other, the teacher is reduced to being an implementer of educational decisions made by others. . Calls for teacher-accountability underpin arguments for assessment-led educational reform, while activity-based learning programmes seek to turn teachers into facilitators of learning activities designed by experts.

The current wave of teacher education reform rightly recognises the importance of practice in teacher formation. However, it is not always clear what practice amounts to: is it a matter of “direct experience” gleaned from being in the classroom, or does practice transform in specific ways into knowledge and insight? Given this lack of clarity, there is a need to analyse and reconceptualise practice, and study its relationship with theory and reflection. The practice of teaching raises important ethical issues that demand critical examination of the theoretical underpinnings of particular practices. These include but are not limited to the use (or rejection) of rewards or punishments in pedagogy, discrimination among children based on perceived capabilities and need, and organization of the school and classroom environment.

Contributors writing on this theme might explore the ways in which past and on-going educational reforms have tended to (re-)conceptualise the teacher. They may argue for norms and principles that according to them ought to inform the practice of teaching in schools. They may also choose to use insights from epistemology and moral philosophy to shed light on the practice of teaching.

3. Educational Policy and Philosophy of Education

Policy decisions in education have been considered to be either a matter of technical expertise, or a matter of ideological preference. The technical expertise view has it that educational policy is about principles regarding what works and does not work, who should benefit, and who should not from public education programmes. This view works on a commodity conception of education whose logic tends to de-emphasize education for humanity and citizenship. Education considered as a tool for ideological indoctrination and political propaganda aligns educational policy with the political views of the ruling class which might favour a neo-liberal market regime, or espouse religious fundamentalism.

Contributors addressing this theme might reflect upon these and other models of educational policy-making, bringing conceptual/ philosophical tools to bear on the aims of education, learning, teaching, curriculum, citizenship and democratic society. They might inquire into the question of how educational policy documents conceptualise education. They might focus their analysis upon the relationship between education, conceptions of the good life, citizenship, democracy and justice in order to put forth proposals concerning the normative bases of educational policy.

The conference encourages authors to explore the given themes from Indian philosophical perspective. It especially encourages young scholars and doctoral candidates to write papers addressing these themes.

The papers presented in the conference will be published in the form of a book within a year of the conference.
Last date for Submissions

Complete papers between 4500-5000 words should be uploaded at the link provided on our website azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/poe by October 15, 2015 11:59 PM, IST. Authors are advised to follow the prescribed word limit. They may also note that incomplete papers, extended abstracts, or papers significantly exceeding the word limit may not be considered.
Important Dates

• Deadline for submissions: October 15, 2015
• Communications on acceptance of submissions: November 15, 2015
• Conference Dates: January 10-12, 2016
Instructions for Submission

Submissions should be made by registering as ‘interested speaker’ in the online system and subsequently uploading a copy of the paper in MS Word format. Please don’t upload pdf version of the documents.
Young scholars and doctoral students are requested to specify that they are submitting under the young scholars category.

All submissions should have two documents;

I. Information about the author; name, institutional affiliation, email ids, and phone numbers.
2. Complete paper with the title, and containing an abstract of the paper in 200-300 words. Authors should not write their names, institutional affiliation, email id or any form of identification in the paper.

In case, you don’t receive an email acknowledgement on submission, or if you have any other query regarding the conference or paper submissions please write to poe.conference@apu.edu.in.

Authors are advised to first explore funding possibilities at their home institutions or other funding organizations and then contact us for travel funding. Azim Premji University may sponsor travel for a limited number of authors based on individual merit and need. Lodging and boarding for the period of the Conference will be provided by Azim Premji University.



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