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Education: The Alternative Paradigm

Saturday, April 6, 2013
06:00 pm
Venue : 
Conference Hall, Tibet House
Prof Kapil Kapoor

About the Subject:  

The dharmi-c paradigm of education, excluded from the current mainstream system more in India than elsewhere, was/is rooted in Vedic knowledge culture, one of the only two knowledge cultures, the other being Abrahamic (?).We are talking of perhaps the world’s most ancient system of education contingent on dharma that among other means kartavyas, values and Vedic belief system, a pluralistic, non-God-cantered, non-theological, non-dogmatic, ethical system with its typical ontology and highly free, flexible epistemology. The dharmi-c paradigm seeks to produce ’virtuous’ men (rather than ‘successful’) by building its institutions around the oral yet textual, continuous, cumulative intellectual traditions that have produced perhaps the world’s largest body of intellectual texts. This paradigm, through its institutions formal and informal, through its dialogic methods and practices, evolved, apart from remarkable knowledge creation, unique mechanisms of storage, transfer and dissemination of the available knowledge in the context of the oral Indian culture. It created a large teacher and text cantered system open to all irrespective of caste, colour, race and gender. Most remarkably this paradigm democratised and vernacularised Vedic knowledge by functioning through mother tongues/dialects and by translating classical texts, in its public exposition dimension, into emerging Indian languages so that, contrary to the popular misconception, knowledge in India was neither a privileged discourse nor for the privileged alone. Its attainments in so many domains of knowledge, till it was disrupted, are unequalled.

The Speaker:  

Prof Kapil Kapoor, former Professor of English, Centre for Linguistics and English, and Concurrent Professor, Centre for Sanskrit Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He was Dean of the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, JNU, from 1996-1999 and Rector (Pro-Vice-Chancellor) of the University from 1999-2002.  He retired from JNU in 2005.

He is the Editor-in-Chief of the 11-Volume Encyclopaedia of Hinduism (sponsored by Parmarth Niketan/Indian Heritage Research Foundation, USA) that has recently (January 2012) been published. He is the Chief Editor of the Sahitya Akademi sponsored Encyclopaedia of Indian Poetics, a UNESCO project, that is under publication.

He is a nominated Visiting Professor at the Irish Academy of Cultural Heritages, University of Ulster, U.K. and Nominated Member, Advisory Board for India Studies, Trinity College Dublin. He was nominated Birla Foundation Fellow in 2007 and UGC Emeritus Fellow at JNU, his parent university, 2007-2009. He is Adviser to CBSE, New Delhi for English since 2000. He has been nominated by Punjabi University Patiala as a Fellow for the S. S. Noor Fellowship for 2011-2013.

Dr. Kapil Kapoor has been a nominated Member of the Governing Body of Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla and of the Governing Body of Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), a Member of the Monitoring and Planning Committee of Central University of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath. He was nominated member of the Academic Council of the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad and of the Executive Councils of Central University of Hyderabad and of Gurukula Kangri, Haridwar. He is currently Chairman of India Policy Foundation and Member of the Planning Committee of the proposed Sanchi University of Buddhist Studies.

His teaching and research interests include literary and linguistic theories, both Indian and Western, philosophy of language, nineteenth century British life, literature and thought and Indian intellectual traditions. He has been lecturing on these themes and has written extensively on them. He has been teaching for fifty years; 41 scholars worked for Ph.D. and 36 for M.Phil. with him. 

His two books, Dimensions of Panini Grammar: Indian Grammatical System and Text and Interpretation: The Indian Tradition, were published in 2005. Indian Knowledge Systems (2 Vols.), edited by him, was also published (2005). Literary Theory, Indian Conceptual Framework (1998); Canonical Texts of Literary Criticism (1995); Language, Literature and Linguistics. The Indian Perspective (1994); and South Asian Love Poetry (1994) are among his earlier publications. His book Rati-Bhakti in India’s Narrative Traditions [Hindi] written as a Birla Foundation Fellow, 2007 – 2008 has been published in 2011. His book Abhinavagupta Manuscripts and Irish-Indian Anthology (with Professors Welch and Mac Mathuna of the University of Ulster as co-editors) are under publication.       

Has delivered lectures by invitation in several universities in India, including IITs, and published around 90 articles in the areas of Indian and Western philosophy, grammar, literature and aesthetics and 19th Century British literature.

In 2008, he lectured in the House of Lords, UK, on ‘Democracy and Polity’ and from 2005 to 2009, he delivered invited lectures each year in the Irish Academy of Cultural Heritages, University of Ulster, UK.

He was honored in 2003 by MHRD, India, for his contribution to Sanskrit and in 2010 by Shiksha Sanskriti Utthana Nyasa for his contribution to Indian education. On October 2, 2011 he was honored at Los Angeles by the Uberoi Foundation California USA for his contribution to Linguistics and Indic Civilization Studies. He has been honoured in 2012 as a distinguished scholar by Kunwar Narendra Pratap Singh Kalyankari Trust Gorakhpur.    

He is at present Adviser and Visiting Professor in BPS Women’s University Khanpur Kalan.

Topic: Education: The Alternative Paradigm

Speaker: Prof Kapil Kapoor

Chairperson: Dr Reenuka Singh

Venue: Conference Hall, Tibet House

Date: April 6, 2013

Time: 06:00 pm



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