Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dalit Society - Cultural Transformation and Guru Ravidassji

Centre of Indian Languages of Jawaharlal Nehru University organized and hosted a two day Interdisciplinary International Seminar on Guru Ravidassji at JNU On February 23-24, 20015.
Though I am not an authority on the subject yet the organizers, particularly the Convener of the Conference Dr. Rajesh Paswan, was kind enough to invite me as an observer. As such, I attended the opening plenary session and also participated in the first technical session of the Seminar on February 23. Both the functions were very well organized and attended. I take this opportunity to thank and congratulate Dr. Rajesh Paswan and his colleagues at the Centre of Indian Languages particularly Dr. Ram Chander for the excellent arrangements and hospitality.

With Bindeshwar Pathak of Sulabh International
The opening plenary was inaugurated by Shri Bindeshwar Pathak of Sulabh International who was one of the co-sponsors of the Seminar. The theme of his speech was the Motivational Message of Guru Ravidass and the Sulabh Movement.  He said that to fight the problem of caste system and establishment of healthy and harmonious social order, there was no better remedy than the path shown by the great visionary Guru Ravidass. The session was chaired by Dr. Vaishna Narang, Dean of Languages, Literature and Cultural Studies Centre of the JNU. Some of the renowned intellectuals and academics namely Prof T.V. Kattimani, Vice Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Dr. Chander Bhan Prasad, Prof. Vivek Kumar, Prof. Chauthiram Yadav, Shri Sunil Sardar spoke with convincing and impressive voices and underlined the importance and relevance of Guru Ravidassji’s message and philosophy to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  I was very much impressed by the scholarly presentations of Prof Vivek Kumar of JNU and Prof. Chauthiram Yadav of BHU.

With Rajesh Bagha, Chairman Punjab SC Commission
 The first technical session of the Seminar on the afternoon of February 23 was chaired by Shri Rajesh Bagha, Chairman of Punjab SC Commission and conducted by a young intellectual Dr. Manoj Kumar. The theme of the session was Guru Ravidass: Diverse Dimensions. It was a very well attended session by the cross sections of students and teaching community. The speakers namely Shri Sriram Arsh, Prof K.P. Singh of USA, Dr. Sneh Thakur of Canada, Dr. Rahul Dipankar of USA, Prof. Chandra Sadayat, Shri F.C. Mall spoke on different facets of Guru Ravidass and his philosophy from academic and intellectual perspectives. I spoke as a layman and a humble follower of the great Guru on the theme:  The Concept of Begumpura with particular reference to the lofty idea of an ideal state or welfare state in the contemporary times. Prof. Chandra Sadayat of NCERT said that it was gratifying that, of late, the compositions of Guru Ravidass were included in the school syllabus. Shri Sriram Arsh in his scholarly speech said that Guru Ravidass was not only a pioneer of the Bhakti Movement but also a great revolutionary to transform the society.  Dr. Ram Chander of JNU gave the Vote of Thanks and summed up the proceedings of the session with utmost competence and flare.

The Seminar was a befitting tribute to Guru Ravidassji in the month of his Prakash Utsav on February 3, 2015.

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