PUDUCHERRY: There is a need to engage social sciences with the country’s cultural identity and bring forth the ideals of ‘Bharata Varsha’, said Prof A D N Bajpai, the Vice-Chancellor, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla.
Delivering a keynote address at the two-day seminar on ‘Culture, Identity and Diplomacy: Revisiting Concept of an Inclusive Bharat Rashtra’, being held at Pondicherry University, Bajpai drew attention to the rich cultural heritage of the country and appealed to the people to connect it with the spiritual realm.
Prof Ashwini Mohapatra, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in his remarks called for challenging the dominant hold of western thought on academic discourse and argued for reworking the role of culture in diplomacy.
While introducing the theme of the seminar, Prof N K Jha, Dean, School of Social Sciences and organiser of the seminar, observed that the concept of nation is as old as the ‘Bharat Rashtra’.
He said the concept of ‘rashtra’ is the most inclusive, which believes in essential unity of not only human beings, but of all living creatures of the world to develop harmony between nationalism, internationalism and ecological balance.
Organised by the UGC Centre for Southern Asia Studies, Pondicherry University, the seminar is held in collaboration with the National Social Science Association, Indian Council of Social Science Research and Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi.
The aim of the seminar is to facilitate debates and discussions on the concept of spiritual and moral connotations of an inclusive ‘Bharat Rashtra’ and its implications for diplomacy, social harmony, politics, world peace and ecological balance.
Prof G Chandrika, Head of Department of History, Pondicherry University, also addressed the gathering.
The seminar is divided into six sessions of paper presentations, which include discussion on aspects such as understanding the concept of ‘rashtra’ along with the role of ‘dharma’ in nation-building and that of culture in diplomacy as well as the country’s foreign policy.
The papers were presented by scholars from all over the country. The valedictory function will be held on November 27.