National Youth Conference on Indian Knowledge Systems 2023

National Youth Conference on Indian Knowledge Systems 2023

Indic thought and wisdom have been in greater demand over the last decade with the world increasingly realising the flaws and limitations of the current model of individual and societal development. With sustainability, inclusivity, and values being the buzzwords, there has been great enthusiasm and initiative to explore and understand the knowledge traditions of ancient India which modelled themselves on the very principles. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also captures this spirit and has given a much needed thrust not only for the inclusion of Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS) in the national curriculum and pedagogy but also for promoting authentic research and innovation in the domain to address the challenges and concerns of the 21st century. It is essential to encourage, guide, curate platforms and opportunities, especially for young scholars and researchers.

The 3-day National Youth Conference on Indian Knowledge Systems (NYC IKS) organised by Chinmaya Vishwa Vidyapeeth (CVV) in collaboration with the IKS division at the Ministry of Education, AICTE, Government of India, was a step in this direction. The objective of the conference was to encourage deep study of the different themes of Indic knowledge, provide a platform for young scholars and researchers to present their learnings, facilitate a bridging of ancient and modern perspectives on Indic knowledge and aid an attitude shift towards the contemporary relevance and future possibilities of IKS.

The conference invited young scholars in the age group of 15-28 years to present their thoughts and understanding on the following themes.

  1. Application of Indian Knowledge Traditions in everyday life

  2. Science, Technology and Architecture

  3. Health, Wellness and Psychology

  4. Public Administration and Governance

  5. Arts, Music and Dance

  6. Wisdom through the Ages

The conference received nearly 280 registration and 200 abstracts, of which 130 were selected for presentation. The conference brought together distinguished personalities and young scholars from across the nation to discuss their innovative ideas and diverse topics pertaining to the intersection of ancient and modern perspectives of IKS.

Prof. Ganti S. Murthy, the National Coordinator of IKS @ MoE, AICTE, GoI, spoke about the existential challenges and possible solutions for the crisis of the world like the climatic change, the increased population etc. through a multidisciplinary and holistic approach grounded in reality and hoary traditions of rigorous enquiry and innovativeness. He stressed the relevance and need for IKS-based education.

The plenary sessions had wonderful speakers: Shri. Raghava Krishna, Co-founder and CEO of Brhat LLC, spoke on ‘Civilisational Design Thinking’. He spoke on the holistic nature of Indian civilization which included all living beings. He discussed principles, mindset, techniques, and practices of civilization and also highlighted the importance of ‘vision of integral education’ in IKS. Smt. Sahana Singh, renowned author and commentator, on ‘IKS–The Importance of being Civilisationally Rooted’. The final plenary session was by Shri. Karthik Sharma (Asst. Professor, CVV) on ‘Logic, Anumanapramana and Advaita Vedanta’. He provided definitions of logic, arguments, their types, connections with pramanas of tarka shastra. He also elucidated how the understanding of contemporary logic can be applied in the study of Advaita.

While the mornings began with a Kalaripayattu session by Mahesh Gurukkal, Agasthyam Kalari, the evenings had a variety of cultural programmes, such as a Kathakali performance was presented by the Chalakudy Kathakali Club on Kuchelavritham and Carnatic music performances—veena, bansuri, bhajans, concert—by the students and faculty of CVV.

There were workshops on various topics: Prof. Gauri Mahulikar, Academic Director, Chinmaya International Foundation, on Manuscriptology, Dr. Sudarshan Chiplunkar (Asst. Professor, CVV) dealt with the details of evolution and technicalities of manuscripts. A third one on Indian Board Games (Buddhiyog) by Shri. Aman Gopal Surekha, Director, Kohl Khel Pvt. Ltd.

There was a panel discussion led by students on ‘A World Powered by Indic Knowledge’. Dr. Sunitha Grandhee set the context for the discussion. Ms. Lakshmi Sivaraman (Junior Psychologist, Atha Centre & Research Assistant, Brhat), moderated the discussion. The panel had eight delegates from different parts of India. The panel discussed definitions of IKS, integrating IKS in one’s lifestyle, challenges for IKS in the contemporary times and  possible solutions. Another discussion was on ‘A World Powered by Indic Knowledge–Make it Happen Now’ by a panel comprising dignitaries. It was moderated by Shri. N. M. Sundar (Executive Trustee, CVV). The experts spoke about what they see in the world powered by IKS, what it is to be seen as ‘cool’ in being based on IKS.

There was a keynote talk by Prof. B. Mahadevan, Professor, IIM Bangalore and Founder Vice Chancellor of CVV on ‘Treasure in the Wooden Box: Inspirational Ideas from IKS’. He threw light on how knowledge represents wisdom and insights arising from deep experiences, observation, experimentation and analysis. The final keynote address was delivered by Dr. Anuradha Chaudhary, Coordinator, IKS division, MoE, AICTE, GoI on ‘The Secret of Secrets: The IKS Way’. She explained the subtle pedagogical aspects of Upanishads. The manner in which engagement of students is encouraged to acquire learning by reasoning was pointed out.

The conference ended with a drama based on Vishwamitra Nadi Samvada Sukta, staged by the CVV students.

Chinmaya Udghosh