Certificate Course, “Peace, Forgiveness and Non-Violence: Perspectives from Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Alfred Korzybski”

Veer Narmad South Gujarat University , Surat , 23-27 September, 2013

A certificate course on “Peace, Forgiveness and Non-Violence: Perspectives from Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Alfred Korzybski” was organized at the Department of English, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University , Surat during 23-27 September, 2013. The course was in collaboration with Balvant Parekh Centre for General Semantics and Other Human Sciences. Due to the impending flood situation at Surat , a formal inaugural ceremony could not be conducted. Though the uncertain weather prevailed, the local convener of the course and head of the Department of English, Dr. Desai decided to start the program from the second day onwards with slight readjustments in the schedule. Devkumar Trivedi, member, Board of Trust of the Centre, delivered the introductory speech. He reflected on the principles of General Semantics in the light of ideas of Gandhi and Luther King and explained how language, communication, identity, conflict, violence and peace are complexly interconnected. Prof Kar, in his lecture titled “Theory and Praxis of Non-Violence” linked Gandhi and Martin Luther King to ‘creative suffering’ and ‘soul force.’ The third day began with Dr. Sadan Jha’s presentation on “Gandhi and the Question of Representation.” Dr. Jha, Associate professor at Centre for Social Sciences, Surat dealt with the symbol of spinning wheel and the economics and politics of representation. The next speaker, Dr. Bini B.S. focused on Korzybski’s views on language, science, technology, literature and philosophy. She explained how Korzybski envisaged dealing with violence epistemologically and through practice. The fourth day commenced with two presentations. Prof. Rakesh Desai, Head, Department of English, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University , Surat , explored the duality between selflessness and self-centeredness through his reading of Gandhi’s autobiography, My Experiments with Truth. In her presentation, Dr. Madhurita Choudhury, Professor, Department of English, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, dealt with the critical readings of Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj. Dr. Kiran Desai, Professor at Centre for Social Sciences, in his lecture on “Gandhi and the Principle of Non-Violence” offered a reading of Claude Markovits’ UnGandhian Gandhi: The Life and Afterlife of the Mahatma. The next presenter, Dr. Ravi Zala, Associate Professor, Department of English, Saurashtra University , Rajkot , investigated an interesting connection between Korzybski’s notion of time binding and the three great minds of India- Vivekananda, Gandhi and Aurobindo. The concluding day began with Devkumar Trivedi’s interactive session on Korzybski’s system of polysemic and abstract meanings. Dr. Bini. B.S in her next lecture on “Martin Luther King’s Idea of Non-Violence” commented on the reciprocity of tenderness and toughness, and religion and science. The valedictory session was chaired by Prof. Dakshesh Thakar, Vice Chancellor, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University , Surat . He applauded the department, the participants and the resource persons to have carried on with the course despite the crisis situation in Surat . Prof. Kar spoke on the connection between crisis and turning point and its relation with Gandhi. Dr. Bini.B.S. proposed the vote of thanks.

Madhurita Choudhury Department of English, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

Valedictory address by the Vice Chancellor