Chandigarh: The department of philosophy at Panjab University (PU), in collaboration with the Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur City, began a two-day national seminar on “Pedagogy of Dissent: Cultures of freedom and democracy in the world of learning” on February 22 and 23.
On the first day, a welcome address was given by Lallan Singh Baghel, chairperson, department of philosophy, PU and Dr. Ambuj Sharma from Dev College for Women, Ferozepur City. In addition to the students and faculty of PU, it was attended by around 100 students from Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur City.
The keynote address was given by Prof. Harjinder Singh from the centre for computational natural science and bioinformatics, IIIT Hyderabad, and chaired by Prof. V T Sebastian, department of philosophy, PU. Prof. Harjinder Singh delineated the narratives of the independence movement and juxtaposed them with historical facts prior to it, as well as today’s counter-narratives of hyper-nationalism being injected into the public domain and centers of higher learning like universities.
The second and third sessions were chaired by Manisha and Kamla, B.A. students of Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur. The speaker for the second session was Assistant Professor Muzaffar Ali from the department of philosophy, University of Pune. The third session was delivered by Prof. H P Sah from the department of philosophy, PU, who presented the undisputed right of free thinking within academia. He clarified that the creative aspect of culture gives us the format to present human diversity, and that this is not within the domain of any administrative or political formation.
The last session was delivered by Mr. Lallan Singh Baghel, chairperson of the department of philosophy, who raised important questions on the nature of education, higher education institutions and educationists. He said that there cannot be one parameter and methodology for training teachers of universities. He proposed that the pedagogical frameworks are many and cannot be frozen. The goal of higher education can only be achieved when social transformation is part and parcel of both its methodology as well as its aspirations.