Inauguration of the Nodal Centre, Department of Gujarati, Maniben Nanavati Women’s College, Vile Parle on 7 July 2013

Sitanshu Yashaschandra with the organizers

A Nodal Centre of Balvant Parekh Centre at the Department of Gujarati at Maniben Nanavati Women’s College commenced its activities formally on 7th July 2013 with Prof. Sitanshu Yashaschandra’s inaugural lecture on General Semantics followed by a discussion. Prof. Sejal Shah, Hemant Shah and Mehul Shrimali who had attended the meeting held at the Centre on 10 May 2013 were the main organizers of this program. Prof. Sejal Shah welcomed all the guests and Gujarati Poet Udayan Thakkar introduced Prof. Sitanshu Yashaschandra very interestingly connecting GS and one of Yashaschandra’s poems.

The title of Professor Yashaschandra’s lecture delivered in Gujarati was “Anvay Vichar Vimarsh: An Introduction of General Semantics.” Nearly 70 persons from various professions and fields attended the lecture. The audience comprised doctors, engineers, writers, poets, journalists, academicians, stock brokers, businessmen and students. Everyone was given an introductory note in Gujarati prepared by Prof. Sitanshu Yashaschandra. In the lecture, Professor Yashaschandra emphasized that General Semantics is an interdisciplinary knowledge that brings together insights from humanities, sciences, psychology etc. He spoke briefly on Alfred Korzybski, the historical context of Korzybski’s thoughts, and the key concepts in General Semantics. Mr. Korzybski introduced GS like this: “A discipline and/or methodology intended to improve the way people interact with their environment and with one another, especially through training in the critical use of WORDS and other SYMBOLS.”

Instead of doing a verbatim translation of the term, “General Semantics” into Gujarati, it has been appropriately interpreted by Dr. Yashaschandra as “vyapak anvay vichar.” “Anvay” means to connect (jodan). This term indicates how through speech, behaviour and thinking, human beings and world at large and environment are interconnected. It is a scientific and socio-cultural phenomenon. “Vyapak anvay vichar” in Gujarati would mean “a thought process that analyzes and facilitates connectedness in a creative and sensitive way.” “Vyapak anvay vichar” teaches us to use language in a non-violent fashion and helps us identify inadvertently creeping aggressiveness in our communication. Dr. Yashaschandra concluded that our attitudes, communication assumptions, preconceived notions and action need to be reexamined in the light of “vyapak anvay vichar.” Everyone had broad idea of GS after going through the said note.

A Meeting of the Discussion Group on 31 August 2013

A group of scholars and writers gathered at Maniben Nanavati College in the evening on 31 August 2013 to discuss some select concepts and brief write ups on General Semantics and allied areas. The informal discussion over tea expanded to topics like contemporary Gujarati literary scene and education. Some deliberations about the translation of General Semantics texts into Gujarati also took place. Participants had a look at the books gifted by Balvant Parekh Centre. It was decided that such informal meetings can be convened from time to time.

Sitanshu Mehta