INACS Conference: The Academy to Re-discover Past, Re-define Present and Chart Course for Future

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The annual conference of the Indian National Academy of Civilizational Studies (INACS) held its conference in the background of civilisational studies in India, its historical evolution, an assessment of previous and current efforts while charting course for future. It was attended by many intellectuals, researchers, educationists and students on November 27 at Tagore Hall, Delhi University Campus, New Delhi. The conference commenced at 10 in the morning concluding at late 8 in the evening. Its focus was to re-re-discover the entire knowledge from the past where it lies locked in time, study the contemporary disciplines with the aim of enunciating “Integral Knowledge” combining the best strands of intellectual outputs through re-establishment of Sanskrit as a medium of intellectual discourse in India.

Elaborating on the role of INACS, the Conference Director Shiv Shakti said, “INACS is committed to engage scholars, intellectuals, academicians, researchers, professionals, activists and other interested individuals in heralding a culture of academic eval

Seeking to formalize studies in Civilizational Knowledge System with the aim of constituting "Integral Knowledge" by redefining contemporary studies, the Indian National Academy of Civilizational Studies (INACS) held its annual conference on November 27 at Tagore Hall, Delhi University Campus, New Delhi. It was attended by many intellectuals, researchers, educationists and students in the background of civilisational studies in India, its historical evolution, an assessment of previous and current efforts while charting course for future. The conference commenced at 10 in the morning concluding at late 8 in the evening. Its focus was to re-re-discover the entire knowledge from the past where it lies locked in time, study the contemporary disciplines with the aim of enunciating "Integral Knowledge" combining the best strands of intellectual outputs through re-establishment of Sanskrit as a medium of intellectual discourse in India.

The Academy had invited papers on the topics viz. “Shaping of Post-Independence India: Nehruism and the Indian Civilisational Ethos”, “Legacy of the Sufis in India: A Socio-Cultural Appraisal”, “Formalization of Studies in Civilizational Knowledge System”, “Prospects for making Sanskrit as Medium of Intellectual Discourse in India” and “Hindi Navjagaran Ki Vichardhara”. Out of thirty-one papers accepted by the expert panels, twenty-one papers were presented in the conference.

The session on Nehruism discussed the competing vision for shaping the contours of the newly independent Indian republic between Nehruism and the forces which claimed to be more representative of India’s civilisational and cultural ethos. It was chaired by Amba Charan Vashishth, a Delhi based political commentator.

The session on Sufism chaired by Rabi Ranjan Sen, lecturer, Katwa College, West Bengal, discussed the evolution of a Hindu-Muslim syncretic culture in the Indian social, cultural and religious landscape in the medieval ages wherein the Sufis were often pitted against the “illiberal, narrow-minded” Ulema as representing the “tolerant, liberal” face of Islam. It was also argued that in this discourse perhaps it was often either forgotten or even sometime sought to be deliberately glossed over that the Sufis also effected the majority of conversions in India.

Chairing the session on Civilizational Knowledge System Dr. Ravi Prakash Arya, Vedic scholar and linguist, dwelt on the aim of the session was to explore the vast treasure of civilizational knowledge so as to initiate a process to un-lock these systems currently atrophied due to centuries of neglect and stagnation. The papers presented in the session covered a vast area ranging from Vriksha Ayurveda (Bio-botanicals) to geo-thermal energy.

Outlining the growing importance of Sanskrit, Dr. Indulata Das, samskritist and educationist, who chaired the session, said that modern scholars and scientists were taking keen interest in the scientific studies carried out in the Vedic and post Vedic period and during their researches they have been able to locate a vast body of scientific literature written in Sanskrit. The various scientific studies carried out in Vedas and allied literature and publication of scientific works in Sanskrit has ignited their curiosity to search for more and more Vedic scientific literature written in the past.

The session on Hindi chaired by Dr. Vivekanand Upadhyay, faculty, AIIS, mainly dwelt on various aspects of “Hindi Navjagaran” outlining its distinguishing features and role in national movement. The papers also highlighted the distinctive features of Indian civilization which makes it unique and what kind of challenges it had to face during colonial times. It was sought to be elaborated the contours of the challenges posed by colonialism and Islamic revival movements necessitated the “Hindi Navjagaran” movement to re-establish the claim of distinctiveness of Indian civilzational values and ethos. The papers dwelt at length on the dialectics of Hindi and Urdu, national and social emancipation and nationalism and colonialism seeking to comprehend the various aspects of Hindi Navjagaran.

The conference was inaugurated by RK Ohri, the chairperson of the INACS organisng committee. In the plenary session, RK Ohri read out a proposal presentation on “Dhimmitude” seeking to explain the term in Indian context.

Elaborating on the role of INACS, the Conference Director Shiv Shakti said, “INACS is committed to engage scholars, intellectuals, academicians, researchers, professionals, activists and other interested individuals in heralding a culture of academic evaluation and scrutiny of the existing paradigms in Indic civilizational context. It also aims at encouraging the process of defining relevant and mutually compatible parameters.” All the papers received for the conference and accepted after peer-review will be published, he said.

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