Humanities gives skills to face the new world : Dr. Kranti Saran, Ashoka University

Prof Kranti Saran was one of the speakers of eminence to address the students who are stepping into class XI at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, and their parents. Here I tried to reproduce his inspiring Kranti Sarantalk, to the best of my abilities.

Kranti Saran, currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Ashoka University and a Research Associate at Harvard University, also a visiting faculty in JNU.

His research interests trace a progression of questions about the nature of bodily sensations and bodily spatiality to the nature of introspection of them. From introspection, his interests generalize to the nature of attention. Finally, he is interested in how practices of attention to bodily and mental states can school a subject’s affect in a morally salutary direction.

———————————————- My Journey —————————–
What does a philosopher do?
Most people talk about being super successful
Most of us are not, but still will lead a happy life.

I had scored a 70% in my school, never like today’s 95%+
In school, I was never interested in what we were studying, because of the way we were studying.
I used to read a lot; though disconnected with contextual reality, I always felt thing will work

I had to get into a college. what to do? Never got what I wanted.
Accident happened….philosophy happened.
This was what I was waiting for the whole life.
I fell in love with.
I started liking and doing well in acads
It was a wonderful feeling, but disconcerting too as I was doing well.
….went to Harvard and a few other places too..
———————————————————————————-
Three things I want to share from my learnings.

1. Be prepared to be surprised – in class x, I would have never imagined what I am doing today. Acads? I ran away from it then. It is now rich and rewarding

2. Play to your strengths
A. In our school, if you were smart you did science. I discovered, I had no aptitude for science. 52% in class XII. DO NOT PUSH THE CHILD INTO AN AREA THAT YOU FEEL THEY OUGHT TO BE.

3. what special talent do you have? What is that one thing that you are disproportionately blessed with. Nurture and develop. Disproportionate rewards will come your way.

CAREERS OF FUTURE

careers different from undergrad training? How many here? About 30 odd parents stood up.

When the concept of car was introduced they were called horseless carriages. Now we see Teslas of the world bring in rapid changes

What do we need now?

We need to be flexible to bring the skills to the market place
We need to be adaptable, agile and nimble in the market place

Once upon a time Music industry – was worried about piracy etc. Napster etc happened then.
Apple introduced music service and the music industry has never been the same again.

We do not have models of the world, that the world will change to. Everything is abstract.
Have skills that are nimble, and help you to adapt quickly.

Skill set to have – How Humanities equip you.

What are the particular skills that you learn in classroom?

  • Reasoning and analysis – how do you put the argument
  • Communication to get your ideas and thoughts across
    You are with people all the time, how do you use persuasiveness is the key
  • Feeds into capacity of being a team member, building a team

All these three will help you connect the dots. Helps to think out of the box.

How does it translate into a real world?

1. Jeff bozos of AMAZON

  • Asks subordinates to write a detailed memo In advance and share
  • Everyone reads, be prepared before they come to the meeting

Why?
– clear writing shows clarity of thought
– well thought-out ideas emerge

2. Have you ever read any IPO document?

  • IPO document of Twitter will tell you details
  • Founders are not techies in under grad
  • Almost all of them are from arts, humanities,…

So, select Class XI subjects such a way that they make you flexible and adaptable.

You can get in touch with Kranti Saran at Saran@ashoka.edu.in
Thanks to the web for photograph of Kranti Saran. The rights belongs to the owner.

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On the Himalayan Trail, over Mt. Everest and more

 

 

Are #Educational #institutions ready for Industry 4.0. ?

It was a pleasure #addressing, #interacting and #learning with a presence of over 25 educational #leaders, mostly #Chancellors, #Vicechancellors, #Directors of #universities from #India and also #Tech #evangelists from around the #world

The discussions were around #tech enablement and facilitation of educational institutions including #faculty and #students.

#AI #ML #Drone #3Dprinting #IOT #Blockchain #VR #AR #storytelling #DeepLearning #NLP #Alexa #Markteching

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One of the exciting things around the conference was the Himalayan trail by flight. We all assembled at 5am to head to the Tribhuvan airport to board the flight. All the edu leaders sounded like school children, excited to see the himalayas from a different perspective, flying over it.

The domestic wing of the Tribhuvan airport was like a market place, crowded, people huddled, interacting, shouting. Only difference was the market is of taking flights.

Thankfully the sun emerged to the utter relief of everyone. The morning sky was more or less clear. Many were circusmpect, as cloudy days are not great for the Himalayan trail.

Finally huddled into the bus, and the tarmac was littered with smaller aircrafts, max 40 seaters. Buddha air, Tara air…entire pantheon of Buddhism could be found on the tarmac, as flight operators. It took some waiting on the tarmac, before we boarded the flight. I managed to capture a few minutes with my mobile cam and here are the clips.

On boarding, every one tried to grab the window seat on either side. I got into the aircraft last, as filming took priority and I was grabbing the visuals on the tarmac littered with these small aircrafts. Thankfully the first seat was empty and I grabbed it. Carrying three cams, Nikon 700, Yashika 4K and Samsung Mobile, I was keen to be at the pole position as anyone there, wondering which side of the flight will be the Himalayan ranges. Once the flight took off, the excitement in the aircraft, with over 25, fifty-year-old youngsters was palpable each trying to peep through those peepholes trying identify which peak is which on the himalayan Map dished out by the airhostesses. The young ladies were kind enough to help each identify, going from one bunch to the other.

Midlfight we were even allowed to get into the cockpit to have a glimpse at the the pilot view of the ranges. The flight started from the western range in the Nepali Himalayas and moved till the east where Sagarmatha, as is everest called, and the flight took a steep u-turn now going over the ranges, half way on the flight. Mt. Makalu, Mt. Everest, Shiva Parvati,….. every one was excited to identify their own peaks and debating which one is the correct one. Mobiles flashing, selfies taken through the flight windows.

In an hours time, as we moved away from the ranges, on our descent, the youngsters settled down on their seats to have a chat with thy neighbours on the magnificent range and the peaks and what a view it was through those tiny peep holes of the dornier!

Back on ground, into the bus, chatting away about the sessions that is ahead of us that afternoon.

It was a memorable trip to Himalayas, once in a life time. Now that I have seen all the peaks, I should head to the tallest one, Mt. Everest, on foot, soon 😉

Garba and Dandiya Raas @ Lok Utsav: Ecstatically Meditative

Lok Utsav celebrates the folk forms, especially dances of India. It conducts month long classes for Garba and Dandiya in the month preceding Dusshera!

This series of videos are from the final dance evenings coinciding with Dusshera! Every serious dancer gets lost in a state of ecstatic meditation, inexplicable, indescribable. I made sure I am lost 2-3 hours every day in such an exalted state!!

Garba is a form of dance which originated in the state of Gujarat in India. The name is derived from the Sanskrit term Garbha and Deep. Many traditional garbas are performed around centrally lit lamp or a picture or an idol of the Goddess Shakti.

Here are my captures… enjoy!  Every video is in 4K HD and I have uploaded all on youtube. Usually, each of the videos will play in low resolution, where in you do not get high clarity. But you will find the settings button (the wheel) on the video when you click on it. Click on the settings button and change the quality to HD resolution (1080p60) so as to watch with highest clarity.

Our heart felt thanks to all our Gurujis who patiently and passionately invested in each one of us during this month long classes.

With great sadness we pay our rich tributes to the most senior guru ji Sri Sudesh Shikari ji, who left on his journey to heavenly abode on the first day of our final performances.

————-

Ah, I failed to mention, every evening I had a bonus too – over 1200 calories spent! Now that the month long classes are over, I am sure most of the dancers will find the evenings vacuous !  I will surely find another dance class soon to take its place !! 🙂

Our humble thanks to all the organizers, Sandeep and Abhishek to start with, and all the dancers who made it a memorable month. Catch you all, my fellow dancers, very soon!

Reading and its impact : This four-year old exemplifies

As a facilitator and mentor I invest time with children and youth. I urge and beseech them to be curious and inquisitive. The first step is to read and read, as many variety of issues, subjects as they come across. That is the only way to enrich oneself and in the process gain confidence to face people, interact, engage and enthrall.

I have been sharing with 20+ year olds that I shall chaperon my 7 year old daughter, whose felicity with language and articulation is far beyond mine, to their class to interact and also address them the importance of reading every day. Thankfully both my young daughters are passionate about reading and it has enriched me too.

Here I came across an amazing ambassador of reading. I love to share this short video to inspire each one of you. Thanks to one who recorded it and shared.

Hope this video initiates a few youth to be more keen about reading!

The greatest gift any parent can give a child is to invest an hour every day to read a book from the very early childhood. A pictorial story book with a toddler to amar chitra kathas and so on. Read in as many languages as possible – at least in all those that any adult at home can speak and read. The process will not only stoke language skills, but also imaginative and creative skills when you discuss.

Happy reading.

Never stop chasing your dreams ! Mallika in the film!!

Never stop chasing your dreams !

A short #film of 2min. This film, ‘#Field In A Box’, features #MallikaNethraSreenivasan. Mallika gives her voice too for the film.

A #dutch conglomerate #TEN CATE,  that is known for advanced materials that make all the difference to humanity through a variety of products – advanced composites, armoury, geo-synthetics, protective fabrics, outdoor fabrics – is also a leader in laying sports #fields of artificial grass.  “Field in a box” is Ten CATE’s community development initiative across the #world through which it creates special, micro-sports-fields near their large sporting-arena projects, as an #inclusive effort, towards #marginals of the society, to #promote #sporting spirit and #nurturing #talent. This film showcases how such endeavours have #impacted the #communities and #societies and urges every #child to chase her #dream!


The talent scouting team of TEN CATE in India was looking for a fresh young girl to cast in the film, and as luck would have it a member of the team landed in one of our good friend, Smita’s home. Smita is the founder of ITIHAAS, that is big time into heritage education of children. It was just a coincidence that while Indira is an integral part of Itihaas in their walks and curriculum development team, I am on their advisory board. Smita, being a theater veteran, was against Mallika being drafted into films at such a young age, and strongly rejected her daughter Ragini’s forceful recommendation of Mallika to the scouting team. Finally Ragini with the help of her aunt, prevailed over Smita to let them approach Mallika and that’s how we got to know about this opportunity.

It was in October 2016, this scouting exercise happened over a few mail exchanges with Mallika’s portfolio that I had shot, with their specifications of looks. Then her voice test etc happened before they finalized her. The producers had some reservations about Mallika’s countenance, as She was 5’7″ at the age of 13 two years ago. Though they were looking for a 13 year old, her personality was much beyond what they had expected. What clinched perhaps is her background in theater (highest level of TIE at National School of Drama that a child can reach) and her national scholarship in classical dance, Bharatnatyam. They were delighted to hear her voice over too.

In November 2016, the filming happened over four days across the slums of Delhi and at the National Stadium, the premier olympic hockey stadium of the nation. What was most taxing for Mallika in the entire film making was the fortnight long training in understanding the basics and playing the game of hockey, under the tutelage of the national women’s hockey coach Saini sir, a Dronacharya awardee. Though Mallika is sporting enough and is a sought after athlete in the events at school, She has never had any sports training of the intensity that Saini sir put her through. Everything, from holding the stick to keeping the ball in play, to repetitive practice of the dribble for a 3-4 hours every day, was tough for Mallika.

Finally the film has been released this month, June 2018. All in all, the whole exercise of making the film gave enough insights to Mallika about the involvement that goes into making of any film – purposefulness, passion, patience, perseverance, hardwork, productivity, effectiveness in delivering in the first go etc… I am sure it will stand in good stead as she embarks upon her journey of life and career.

 

Pranab da on “Nation, Nationalism, Patriotism” : ‘Let’s work for Peace, Harmony and Happiness’ ! Jai Hind!

SPEECH OF SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE, FORMER PRESIDENT OF INDIA AT THE CONCLUDING FUNCTION OF THE THIRD YEAR ANNUAL TRAINING CAMP OF RASHTRIYA SWAYAMEVAK SANGH AT RESHIMBAGH GROUND TODAY

Nation, Nationalism and Patriotism

Greetings,

Sarsanghchalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat Ji, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Today, I’m here to share with you my understanding of the concepts of Nation, Nationalism and Patriotism in the context of India, that is Bharat. These three concepts are so closely intertwined that it is difficult to discuss any one of them in isolation.

2. Let us make a beginning by understanding the dictionary meaning of these three words. Nation is defined as ‘a large group of people sharing the same culture, language or history and inhabiting a particular state or area’. Nationalism is defined as ‘identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests especially to the exclusion of interests of other nations’. Patriotism is defined as ‘devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country’.

3. Let us look at our roots,
India was an open society, globally connected along the Silk and Spice Routes. These busy highways of commerce and conquest witnessed a free exchange of culture, faith and invention as merchants, scholars and sages traversed mountain and desert and sailed the oceans. Buddhism reached Central Asia, China and Southeast Asia together with Hindu influences . Ancient travelers like Megasthenes in the 4th century B.C., Fa Hien in the 5th century A.D. and Hiuen Tsang in the 7th century AD; when they came to India, wrote about the efficient administrative systems with planned settlements and good infrastructure. Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri comprised the ancient university system that dominated the world for 1,800 years beginning the sixth century BCE. They were magnets for the finest minds and scholars in the world. In the liberal environment of these institutions creativity found full form and art, literature, and scholarship flourished. Chanakya’s Arthashastra, an authoritative text on state-craft was also written during this period.

4. India was a state long before the concept of the European Nation State gained ground after the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. This model- of a defined territory, a single language, shared religion and a common enemy- is the model which led to the formation of various nation states in Europe. On the other hand Indian Nationalism emanated from “Universalism” the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम) and Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayah. We see the whole world as one family and pray for the happiness and good health of all. Our national identity has emerged through a long drawn process of confluence, assimilation, and co-existence. The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. We derive our strength from tolerance. We accept and respect our pluralism. We celebrate our diversity. These have been a part of our collective consciousness for centuries. Any attempt at defining our nationhood in terms of dogmas and identities of religion, region, hatred and intolerance will only lead to dilution of our national identity. Any differences that may appear are only on the surface but we remain a distinct cultural unit with a common history, a common literature and a common civilization . In the words of the eminent historian Vincent Smith, “India beyond all doubt possesses a deep underlying fundamental unity, far more profound than that produced either by geographical isolation or by political superiority. That unity transcends the innumerable diversities of blood, colour, language, dress, manners, and sect” .

5. If we take a quick look at history the emergence of the Indian State can be traced back to the sixteen Mahajanapadas mostly spread across Northern India in the 6th century BC. In the 4th century BC, Chandragupta Maurya defeated the Greeks to build a powerful empire comprising of North-Western and Northern India. Emperor Ashoka was the most illustrious ruler of this dynasty. After the collapse of the Mauryan Dynasty, the empire broke into small kingdoms around 185 BC. Gupta Dynasty again created a vast empire which collapsed around 550 AD. Many dynasties ruled till 12th century, when Muslim invaders captured Delhi and successive dynasties ruled for the next 300 years. Babur defeated the last Lodhi King in 1526 at the First Battle of Panipat and firmly established Mughal rule which continued for 300 years. The East India Company after winning the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and the Three Battles of Arcot (1746-63) brought a vast territory in East and South of India under its control. A large part of western region was also annexed to the company’s territory and to administer these territories, a modern form of government was established in 1774. To administer these territories, the office of Governor General at fort William, Calcutta and two sub-ordinate governors at Madras and Bombay were created. For nearly 140 years, Calcutta was the centre of British Authority in India. However, the responsibility of administration was taken away from the East India Company in 1858 and the Secretary of State for India was appointed in the British Cabinet to super intend the Indian Administration.

6. Throughout this period of 2500 years of changing political fortunes and conquests, the 5000 year old civilizational continuity remained unbroken. In fact, each conqueror and each foreign element had been absorbed to form a new synthesis and unity . Tagore in his poem ‘Bharat Teertha’ says and I quote “……No one knows at whose beckoning call how many streams, of humanity came in indomitable waves from all over the world, over the millennia and mingled like rivers, into this vast ocean and created an individual soul, that is called Bharat”.

7. The concept of Modern Indian State found frequent articulation by various Indian organizations including the Indian National Congress towards the end of nineteenth century. Starting with Shri Surendranath Banerjee in 1895 at Pune, all Congress Presidents gave a call for an Indian Nation comprising the territorial areas of British India and the territories of 565 princely states. When Bal Gangadhar Tilak gave voice to the phrase coined by Barrister Joseph Baptista “Swaraj is my Birthright and I shall have it”, he referred to Swaraj for the Indian People – encompassing various castes, creeds, and religions, spread across British India, and Princely States. This Nation and Nationalism was not bound by geography, language, religion, or race. As Gandhiji explained Indian nationalism was not exclusive, nor aggressive, nor destructive. It was this Nationalism that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru so vividly expressed in the ‘Discovery of India’, and I quote, “I am convinced that Nationalism can only come out of the ideological fusion of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and other groups in India. That does not mean that extinction of any real culture of any group, but it does mean a common national outlook, to which other matters are subordinated”. In the process of our movement against British Rule, the various anti-colonial, anti-British and mostly progressive movements across the length and breadth of the country were unified into a cohesive national struggle for freedom, keeping the feeling of patriotism above their individual, ideological and political leanings.

8. We won independence in 1947. Thanks to the efforts of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Princely States merged leading to the consolidation of India. The complete integration of Provincial and Princely States took place after the formation of states on the recommendation of States Re-organisation Commission.

9. On 26 January 1950, the Constitution of India came into effect. In a remarkable display of idealism and courage, we the people of India gave to ourselves a sovereign democratic republic to secure for all its citizens justice, liberty, and equality. We undertook to promote among all citizens fraternity, the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation. These ideals became the lodestar of the modern Indian State. Democracy became our most precious guide towards peace and regeneration from the swamp of poverty created by centuries of colonial rule. For us, Democracy is not a gift, but a sacred trust. The Indian Constitution, consisting of 395 articles and 12 schedules, is not merely a legal document but a Magna Carta of socio-economic transformation of the country. It represents the hopes and aspirations of the billion plus Indians. From our constitution flows our nationalism. The construct of Indian nationalism is ‘Constitutional Patriotism’, which consists of an appreciation of our inherited and shared diversity; a readiness to enact one’s citizenship at different levels; the ability to self correct and learn from others .

Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I want to share with you some truths that I have internalized during my fifty year long public life, as a Parliamentarian and Administrator.
10. The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance. This plurality of our society has come through assimilation of ideas over centuries. Secularism and inclusion are a matter of faith for us. It is our composite culture which makes us into one nation. India’s Nationhood is not one language, one religion, one enemy. It is the ‘Perennial Universalism’ of 1.3 billion people who use more than 122 languages and 1600 dialects in their everyday lives, practice 7 major religions, belong to 3 major ethnic groups- Aryans, Mongoloids, and Dravidians live under one system, one flag and one identity of being ‘Bhartiya’ and have ‘No Enemies’. That is what makes Bharat a diverse and united nation.

11. In a democracy, informed and reasoned public engagement on all issues of national importance is essential. A dialogue is necessary not only to balance the competing interests but also to reconcile them. Divergent strands in public discourse have to be recognized. We may argue, we may agree, or we may not agree. But we cannot deny the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion. Only through a dialogue can we develop the understanding to solve complex problems without an unhealthy strife within our polity.

12. Peaceful co-existence, compassion, respect for life, and harmony with nature form the foundation of our civilization. Every time a child or woman is brutalized, the soul of India is wounded. Manifestations of rage are tearing our social fabric. Every day, we see increased violence around us. At the heart of this violence is darkness, fear, and mistrust. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal. Only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections of people in the democratic process, especially the marginalized and the dispossessed. We must move from anger, violence, and conflict to peace, harmony, and happiness.

12 A. We have lived with pain and strife for long enough. You are young, disciplined, well trained and highly educated. Please wish for peace, harmony and happiness. Our Motherland is asking for that. Our Motherland deserves that.

13. Happiness is fundamental to the human experience of life. To lead healthy, happy, and productive lives is the basic right of our citizens. While we have done well on our economic growth indicators, we have fared poorly on the World Happiness Index. We rank 133 out of the 156 countries mapped in the World Happiness Report 2018. Kautilya’s Shloka from Arthashastra, inscribed near lift No. 6 in the Parliament House says:
प्रजासुखे सुखं राज्ञः प्रजानां च हिते हितम् ।
नात्मप्रियं हितं राज्ञः प्रजानां तु प्रियं हितम् ।।
In the happiness of the people lies the happiness of the king, their welfare is his welfare. He shall not consider as good only that which pleases him but treat as beneficial to him whatever causes happiness to all people. Kautilya points out in this shloka very succinctly that the State is for the people. People are at the centre of all activities of the state and nothing should be done to divide the people and create animosity amongst them. The aim of the state should be to galvanise them to fight a concerted war against poverty, disease and deprivation and to convert economic growth into real development. Let the objective of spreading Peace, Harmony and Happiness inform the formulation of our public policy and guide all the actions of our state and citizens in their everyday life. This and only this will be able to create a happy nation, where Nationalism flows automatically.
Thank You
*Jai Hind*

Need to revisit the curriculum at design schools, including NIFT/NID : Be Entrepreneurial

It was a pleasure and privilege to be part of the Jury of the finals of the first All India #NIFT HG #business plan competition at @n.i.f.t national HQ in Delhi. It is indeed an honour and joy to start a new journey of contributing to the #design #education and fostering #entrepreneurship in design schools of the country.

Today, we have 16 NIFT campuses across the country. Five finalists emerged from the six month long competition that started from each of the 16 campuses. This initiative by #HarishGupta, an #NIFT alum of 1991 batch is praiseworthy and has the potential of #transforming the #design #education in #India.
In the pic include the visionaries who have given shape and are still giving to not only NIFT but also design as a edu-vertical and industry in the country. first DG Mrs Rathi (IAS) and current DG Mrs Sharda (IAS). Also seen are pioneer in #womenentrepreneurship @cwei Mrs Shashi, the founding CEO of Lacoste in India, Jayant, Harish Gupta of fashion learning, Praveen of Pincap fintech and other eminent roleholders in the NIFT fraternity Prof Sibichan, Prof Prabir, Prof Sudha, Prof Sohail…

The Jury was chaired by Mr Ganesh Natarajan, now an entrepreneurial mentor and investor, who has been known for spearheading Aptech at one point of time.

My few take aways from being part of the Jury..

A. The students taken in by the NIFT/NIDs may be creative, but the institutions need to invest in their personality transformation. You can present yourselves, create opportunities and clinch deals only if you are articulate and are convincing.

B. There is a dire need for instittutions to create a larger vision for themselves that can impact society in various ways, not limited to churning graduates. The four years of education needs to integrate with the external world. Break the insulated existence.

C. Then comes the need facilitate students to create their vision for life. Greater the integration with the external world through excercises of bringing outside world into classrooms and taking classrooms to the outsideworld, higher will be facilitation of students to have a better vision.

D. Need to foster entrepreneurial mindset as part of evolution of a student during the four years. This happens only when the institution is entrepreneurial, faculty is entrepreneurial, the processes are entrepreneurial. The institution should think of a few challenges/problems in its city as projects that could add immense value to the society, and solve them through their expertise; bring in relevant corporates to sponsor (csr), integrate these projects with the curriculum, at least in the 3rd and 4th year. Initiate the students into a structured entrepreneurial curriculum in the second year.

E. Of course embrace and institutionalize the competitions like NIFT HG business plan competition to help students participate, validate their ideas, create incubation possibilities. The funds will pour in. I am sure there are many investors like me who want to bet on the horses with potential.

F. The institutions need to tell themselves that they will incubate half a dozen endeavours/companies every year.

A stitch in time saves nine, as they say. It is time for NIFTs and NIDs to restitch in time to infuse energies.

Time to take off.

#careerlauncher

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