Historical and Civilisational Studies
Launch of “Debating Culture” at VIF

“Debating Culture”, authored by Dr Anirban Ganguly was launched at the VIF on October 8, 2013, by Prof. Dilip Kr Chakrabarti, Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge, Prof. Kapil Kapoor, Former Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Shri Ajit Doval, KC, Director VIF. Initiating the discussions, Shri Doval observed that nations need to initiate and continue the exploration of their civilisational and cultural identity. Shri Doval also asserted that there was a need to strike the right balance between soft and hard power.

Alternate Perceptions of India: Arguing for a Counter Narrative

Introduction Descriptions of India and of Hindus that have assumed a dominant position in the discourse on Indian civilisation and culture have mostly been those which have distorted the perception of India. Written and expounded with a clear objective of undermining the Indian self-image and self-estimation, these portrayals of India’s traditions and life are the ones which have largely influenced and shaped the understanding of India not only among generations of colonial administrators who came to India but among Indians themselves.

Vimarsha: “Decolonising the Indian Mind” with Prof. Kapil Kapoor, former Pro-Vice Chancellor, JNU

On 16 March 2013, VIF welcomed Prof. Kapil Kapoor, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Editor in Chief of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism, as the guest speaker on its Vimarsha series of talks by eminent persons. Mr. Ajit Doval KC, Director VIF, stated that “Minds” will be the future tools of establishing control and therefore it is very important to understand how colonised the Indian mind today is. More daunting is the task of “Decolonising the Indian Mind” – precisely the subject on which Prof. Kapoor was going to deliberate upon during his talk.

Vimarsha: 'Swami Vivekananda on Women: Meeting the Contemporary Challenges' a talk by Shri Dhanendra Kumar

With the gruesome Delhi gang-rape of last December shaking up the conscience of this very nation, also providing a strong stimulus for course correction measures, a talk on 'Swami Vivekananda on Women: Meeting the Contemporary Challenges' was organized by Vivekananda International Foundation on January 28, 2013, with Shri Dhanendra Kumar, former Secretary Culture, Govt. of India and former Executive Director World Bank as the chief speaker.

Vimarsha: Scientific Dating of the Ancient Events from 2000 to 7000 B.C by Ms Saroj Bala

Vimarsha - VIF’s monthly series of talks - was held on Jun 29, 2012. Ms Saroj Bala, Member - Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction, Ministry of Finance – Govt. of India & Director - Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas, gave an insightful talk on ‘Scientific Dating of Ancient Events from 2000 to 7000 BC. She argued that scientifically it is possible to ascertain the exact dates of events which are mentioned in Vedas, epics and other ancient books.

Amarnath Yatra: Occasion to Revisit the Indian Institution of Tirtha

Pilgrimage – tirtha – is a unique Indian civilisational institution that has fascinated and propelled people over the ages. The current issue of further curtailing the period of pilgrimage to the sacred shrine of Amarnath in Jammu and Kashmir is an occasion to revisit this institution of pilgrimage and to see it within the Indian spiritual, cultural and civilisational framework.

The Study of Ancient India: Erroneous Perceptions and the Reality - A Talk by Dr. Dilip K Chakrabarti

In his talk, delivered at Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on August 31, 2011, Dr. Dilip K Chakrabarti, Professor Emeritus of South Asian Archaeology, Cambridge University made out a strong case for presenting the history of ancient India in an unbiased manner. The talk, interspersed with powerful arguments, succinctly underscored the colonialist bias from which the study of ancient India suffers even today. It is rather unfortunate that historians in independent India, who have striven to put the records straight, have been labeled either as ‘Hindu revivalists’ or ‘communalists’.

Role and Relevance of Saints and Religious Leaders in Constitutional Polity - A Talk by Dr. Bharat Gupt

During the VIF’s monthly discourse ‘Vimarsha’, which was held on July 29, 2011, Dr. Bharat Gupt, an eminent scholar of civilisational studies, deliberated upon the ‘Role and Relevance of Saints and Religious Leaders in Constitutional polity’ – a subject which lies at the center of current political debate in our country. Mr. Ajit Doval, Director VIF, presided over the session and also introduced the speaker to the audience.

Maratha Rule 1674-1761: an Appraisal : A talk by Shri Shanti Prasad Agrawal

‘Vimarsha’, the monthly talk at Vivekananda International Foundation, was held on June 30, 2011, on the subject of Maratha Rule in India. Shri Shanti Prasad Agrawal, a scholar of history of Marathas and author of several books, gave an appraisal on one of the six golden epochs in India’s history i.e. the period from 1674-1761 during which Marathas were able to establish their writ over a vast extent of India.

Globalisation and National Identities with Dr. Lokesh Chandra

Vimarsha of March 2011 saw eminent scholar of Buddhist and Cultural studies Dr. Lokesh Chandra speak on ‘Globalisation and National Identities’. While introducing the speaker, VIF Director Shri Ajit Doval observed that the selected topic was of great relevance to us – as a nation, as a civil society as well as a civilisation.

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