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SOA to work on Indian knowledge system, dig into past wisdom

10/04/2021 at 6:09 PM

Bhubaneswar, April 10: Though it has been ingrained into the collective psyche of the Indian society since long that science had its origin in the west and non-western societies had little to offer on the scientific platform, the time has come to focus on the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) developed by scholars over centuries and make it part of the public discourse, two eminent academicians said on Saturday.

“IKS offers an alternative paradigm and it must be brought to the mainstream academia,” Prof. Anuradha Choudry, Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT, Kharagpur, said at the Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA), a Deemed to be University, here.

Prof. Choudry and Prof. Richa Chopra, former Founding Head-in charge, Department of Contemplative and Behaviourial Sciences, Sri Sri University, were interacting with SOA’s top brass at a meeting to discuss induction of IKS in the education system wherever necessary.

The SOA Centre for Preservation, Propagation and Restoration of Ancient Culture and Heritage of India (PPRACHIN), an initiative to address critical issues of conservation, has plans to set up a Centre of Excellence for Indian Knowledge Systems to reinvent and highlight the spirit of ancient India and its wisdom.

Prof. Choudry said India had been carrying an academic legacy for nearly 200 years which implied that non-Western societies had hardly any knowledge to offer as the west had little regard for Indian knowledge. “The question is how do we allow our youth to get the awareness back?” she said.

SOA Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ashok Kumar Mahapatra chaired the meeting which was attended, among others, by Prof. Damodar Acharya, Chairman of SOA’s Advisory Board, Prof. R.P.Mohanty, academician and SOA’s Chief Consultant, Prof. P.K.Nanda, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof. Manjula Das, Controller of Examination, Prof. Jyoti Ranjan Das, Dean (Students’ Welfare) and Deans of different faculties. Prof. N.K.Sharma, Director, University Outreach Program moderated the meeting where Dr. Gayatribala Panda, Head, PPRACHIN was also present.   

Quoting Prof. Kapil Kapoor, an authority on IKS, Prof. Chopra said the question that had come to the fore today was “what does he know who does not know his own tradition?”

Prof. Choudry said the New Education Policy 2020, advocated curricular integration of essential subjects, skills and capacities, focused on knowledge from ancient India and its contribution to the modern society, its successes and challenges and a clear sense of India’s future aspirations with regard to areas like education, health and environment in an accurate and scientific manner throughout the school curriculum wherever relevant.

SOA, Prof. Chopra suggested, could adopt an Odisha specific approach in this context and set up a Centre for IKS to locate the missing links in different disciplines and find out what was happening in the yesteryears while providing research scope to foreign students in IKS.

Dr. Panda said PPRACHIN, set up less than two years ago, had already undertaken two major projects which included publication of a critical edition of the original 15th century ‘Sarala Mahabharat’ and digitalization of such texts. It also planned to take up research relating to tribal culture of Odisha, she said.

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