Puducherry: Burning issues in Indian society, particularly the socio-political trends in the country, came under scrutiny at a seminar held at the Pondicherry University. The observations made at the academic seminar could well be a blueprint for the emergence of New India. Prof. G Aloysius, a researcher on macro issues in Sociology, discussed threadbare on these aspects as well as topics like cultural nationalism versus secular nationalism, modernity versus post modernity, dismantling of culture, cultural relativism and bourgeoisie nationalism.
Prof. Aloysius spoke about the historical context under which Indian nation was found. He also elaborated about de-colonialisation and anti–colonial movement in India. He talked in detail about the significance of nationalism as a liberative phenomenon.
The state may prevent the individual from enjoying the "supreme positive essence of nationalism", Prof. Aloysius said touching upon the restrictions imposed on individual liberty.
Students asked him about the role of religion in Modernity during the interactive session.
Leaders are essential to counter and lead the social movement against the hegemonic forces. In a problematic socio-political context it is relevant to create a regional modern nationalism based on ideas of rationality, justice, equality and inclusiveness, he replied, while also noting "the circumstances that led to the birth of the nation were the rising contestations among the different hostile groups in the country."
‘Tagorian’ view of nationalism also was referred to in the course of one-hour discussion.
He slammed the bourgeoisie way of nationalism if that goes against the working class.
Prof. Aloysius worked as a visiting professor at the Jamia Millia Islamia and was a scholar-in-residence at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. Nationalism and impact of state formation in India has been his primary focus in his research career. He is the author of ‘Nationalism without a Nation in India’ which was published by the Oxford University Press.
With his familiarity with the campuses in the country, Prof. Aloysius staunchly criticised the new academic discourse in classrooms. "Today students directly mug up what a professor teaches. In such a situation students lose the thinking capacity and hence can't make value judgement," he remarked.
“The programme came at a time when the campus is going through a massive ideological vacuum. Students want discussion but the mainstream political parties are not giving them the opportunity to evolve their opinions on any issue. That is why you could see the hall packed. The talk by Prof. Aloysius was open and unapologetic, but at the same time maintaining its academic nature,” Anurag Panicker, one of the organisers of the event told Onmanorama.
At the end of the session, a sale of Prof Aloysius' work ‘Critical Quest’ was conducted by the organisers. Books like ‘Institutional Communalism’, 'Periyar and Modernity', ‘The Origin of Caste among the Dalits’, ‘Annihilation of Caste’, 'Hindu Bias In Constitution’, ‘The Brahminical Inscribed In Body Politics’ were some other books for sale. These books grabbed the students’ attention as well.
The discussion was held at the seminar hall of the Social Science Department located at the Silver Jubilee Campus of the University. It was organised by a collective of research scholars and students.