Thursday, 2 February 2017

Lecture by Shiv Visvanathan

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Shiv Visvanathan is one of the widely acclaimed public intellectual and social scientists in India. He delivered a lecture on 'Reading the unpopular' on January 28, 2017 at Christ University. His works, innovative stream of consciousness and critical insights were quite popular even before the event began. The talk was witnessed by a full house gathering consisting of students and faculty members. 
Professor started off with his proposition that of youth being the most overused brand of the present century. The emphasis on youth and the act of turning a blind eye to the deformities of youth was accused as the primary problems of concern.
What followed was a phase of providing critical insights into the consciousness of the present day youth. The mere silence of present generation was termed to be alarming. The acceptance of ‘order’ as uniformity was heavily critiqued upon. The phenomena of surveillance and threats it possesses were explained in detailed. But the primary question was how the youth had surrendered in good faith to this control mechanism. The passive submission was questioned. Professor explained how the present generation was susceptible for a despotic rule with their consent. This could lead to a autocracy worst that the Nazi days.
The evils of modern day trending philosophies were showcased. He spoke of how more refugees are generated due to the construction of dams than all the wars put together. There was a systematic deconstruction of the concept of ‘development'. Professor spoke of the mad race that every youth aspires to join in. Thereby they are forgetting to exercise his/her agency to dissent. So much is the inhospitality of defeat that no one wants to risk any further failures through dissents.

Through various such though experiments, the professor held the little finger of all the minds in the auditorium and directed them towards the statue of a question mark. What followed was a spontaneous change in audience towards dissent that could be seen in the Question and Answer session that followed the suite.
The debates were intriguing, innovative and multivariate. The wide variety of opinions and critical outlook towards many common world problems were very refreshing and encouraging to see. The scope for involving students in this process of thought experiments and providing them half of the allotted schedule was commendable. It made the session more inclusive and interesting. The witty humor, innovative strategies like vouching for ethical startups sowed seeds for a different line of thought process.
Finally, Shiv Visvanathan did what all speakers aspire to do: to interest, to involve and to inspire. 

Reported by
Prajwal N
MA Applied Sociology

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