WATAN literally means a country that is made of its people, and not just some arbitrary lines drawn on the dead parchment. WATAN is a platform that launches an introspection of the Identity of its People. The identity and the related narrative have been split seemingly to an irreconcilable extent among the academia, the political class, the creative and the real People. The realpolitik has been driven by this Identity Politics and its dentures. Ours is an effort to analyse threadbare the various narratives dished out by different interested parties, mostly serving their own interests. We are holding a National Symposium of the scholars, artistes, journalists and activists from all walks of life. The Indian history since as early as the late Bronze Age has witnessed several (no less than eight) phases where this Identity has been remoulded, restructured and refurbished yet again to fit the contemporary needs. But this is probably the first occurrence now when we have all of them operating together, living not so harmoniously often. Hence this Symposium is of all the more significance than ever.
We propose to hold the sessions as follow.
- Indian Identity from the Epics to the Contemporary Literature
- Indian Epics have assumed various forms and objectives throughout the land and have also united us with the entire South and South-East Asia. Can we deconstruct a single source of this vast Mythology that also shapes the contemporary psyche as well as politics? Can a hype of any single version skew and strain the social fabric?
- Is the Contemporary Indian Literature historically more indebted to its Western counterparts than the essentially Indian elements in it?
- Eminent scholars and litterateurs will be present to discuss the above issues and lot more.
The Indian Musical Tradition places its own origin in the Vedic chants. But that is certainly not the whole truth. The classical texts on Music and the Performing Arts since as early as the Bharat Muni’s attribute certain major components to the Desi (local) Music and same is true for the Indian Dance forms reinvented under the colonial parameters. What is the whole truth about it? How does music form an important part of our identity? What does Cultural Anthropology say about it? What is the effect of the latest findings in the theories of human genome sequencing on our theory of the performing arts? This, and much more will be explored in the presence of a few eminent musicians and scientists.
Post-colonial Indian Cinema and the Proscenium theatre began their journey with the direct intervention of the European ideals and technology. Soon, both these media found their own identity thoroughly contextualized in India. In fact, for a larger mass outside India, Indian cinema is the most efficient hallmark of Indian Culture. We will learn about this journey from the eminent filmmakers and faculty members of various film schools.
India always had a rich legacy of visual arts, be it in architecture, bas relief, scrolls, paintings, or even textile design. However, the colonial experience brought in some fresh air from the West, and also a fresh outlook to revisit the old Indian Art. The resultant art practice has become something very unique. Let’s hear the stories from the Artists and the Art Historians.
A Democracy is known by its cartoons. The Art of Cartoon is possibly the only indigenous art form that the English people developed in their country, and the ripples reached here too. Ethics and Morality of Journalism, the fourth pillar of Democracy is qualitatively different in India from any other country. Is the Indian Identity reflecting there too? Are the Indian cartoonists truly upholding the spirit of the people? Let’s have some brainstorming.
Who or what is a Constitutional Indian? To what extent he is responsible for the split Identity Narrative of our days? How much protection does he get from the Law of the Land? Let us find it here.
Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) was an important ploy that created a distinguishable identity of the Post-1947 India in the International arena. It also brought India closer to the other “third world” countries round the planet where, thanks to sheer size and a super-rich heritage, India was thought to emerge as the natural leader. End of cold war and the later developments marked a paradigm shift for that Natural Leadership dream. How exactly does it stand now? Let’s hear from the representatives of a few other countries.
After the first two decades, while we identified our Core Competence, we found ourselves trapped in a six-point complex geometry of issues. The vertices being: The Peoples’ Rights (PR), Heavy Industrialization of the Core Sector (CS), EXIM figures & Macro-economic indices – stable Banking (MI), Agrarian Crises (AC), Ecological issues (ECO), the Alternative Technology & Energy Resources (ALT). No, it’s not a simple hexagon, but a complete beehive instead that no govt. wants to touch really. We believe there are ways to resolve the geometry by prioritizing 3 of these 6 vertices – PR, AC, & ALT without affecting, even boosting CS, MI, and ECO.
We will hold two very special sessions here discussing
- The Agrarian Crises and some Realistic Solutions
- The Alternative Technology and Energy Resources