Sunday, December 11, 2016

Geeta Jayanti

The VKIC family along with some Karyakartas of VK and an invited audience celebrated Geeta Jayanti on December 11 at the VKIC premises. It was a first for VKIC, to observe the day dedicated to the Gita, the ancient text of Sanatana Dharma, also described as the ‘Song Celestial.’ Mananeeya Shri Govindramji Sharma, from Belda Haridwar, was the guest speaker who revealed the significance and relevance of the Geeta in our lives.

Dr Parimal Chandra Bhattacharjee, Director, Research Advisory Council of VKIC after felicitating the guest explained the purpose of the day and the event. He mentioned that Geeta Jayanti is celebrated at all the branches of VK, but for the first time VKIC has organized this programme. It was followed by chanting of shlokas from the Gita. Kum. Meenakshi Goswami, Research Fellow of VKIC led the chanting for all others to follow.

Sri Govindramji Sharma, the guest speaker also sang a song and after each stanza, explained it with reference to the Gita. All the devotees were urged to delve deep into their inner self. Shri Govindramji, during his oration, referred frequently about Vivekananda Kendra’s service activities. His words brought to light, why the Gita is a brilliant beacon of light and hope for anyone in this world, seeking spiritual and emotional guidance.

A devotional song was also sung by Sri Pranab Brahmachary extolling the greatness of Lord Krishna, the central character of the Gita. It was a set of questions and answers on the fundamental queries of life – Who is the greatest Sammani? Who is the greatest Dhyani?...
Sri Banwarlal Purohit, thanked everyone for their whole hearted co-operation to make the programme successful. At the end of the programme copies of a letter from Man. Nivedita Didi was distributed among all the devotees. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Forest-Community Interface – A new lecture series under Sanskriti Anveshak

VKIC has started a new lecture series on ‘Forest-Community Interface’ considering its relevance to North East India. Sanskriti Anveshak is a platform of VKIC that provides scope for intellectual discussion and research focussing primarily on traditional culture of indigenous communities of this region. The first lecture was on November 25, 2016, on “Climate Change: Forests and Forest Communities” and for this curtain raising lecture VKIC invited Dr. Alka Bharagva IFS, Additional Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt of Assam. Dr. Pradip Sharma, Associate Professor, Dept. of Geography, Cotton College moderated the session.

According to the speaker both rainfall and temperature across Assam are likely to be affected by Climate Change, which will impact the dependent Forest Communities in particular. The mean temperature may see a rise of around 2 degree Celsius based on present day computer projections. 

Pointing to the emerging concerns in the largely agrarian economy of North East India, she pointed out that increasing area under moderately dense forests and open forests especially in the hilly areas adjoining Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya will contribute to loss in biodiversity. Dependence on fuelwood, mining, logging, and urbanization, encroachment, higher frequency of jhum cultivation etc. are some of the factors leading to serious degradation of forests of the region. She added that projected warmer and wetter climate is indicative of “minimal changes in vegetation types” in Assam.

On Assam, Dr Bhargava also identified some of key interventions to make Majuli’s land and people environmentally more secure as: shelterbelt plantations on reclaimed and vulnerable land, Green buildings (e.g. bamboo based), cultural and ecotourism, E-transport, communication and awareness campaigns and plantations.

The senior forest official provided information on the plan to make Majuli in Assam become the country’s first Carbon Neutral District. The plan involved greater stake for local communities in forest management and benefit sharing. Apart from protecting the largest river island of the world, the objectives also include putting more emphasis on environment-friendly agricultural practices. When completed, the project will result in a range of benefits, which will ensure positive outcomes both for local communities and biodiversity. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

10th Vedanta Vachaspati Radha Nath Phukan Memorial Biennial Lecture

India has made rapid strides in space research within a short span of time, and we can expect significant breakthroughs in the near future. Today, the world recognizes India’s capacities in this field, which was not the case earlier. This was one of the views expressed by distinguished scientist Dr Jitendra Nath Goswami recently. 

Delivering  the 10th Vedanta Vachaspati Radha Nath Phukan Memorial Lecture – ‘From a Fishing Hamlet to Moon and Mars’ – organized by VKIC, he said  there is a whole range of technology that ISRO has mastered in the area of space exploration through the dedication of its scientists, many of whom are women. 

Working in six or more separate areas they have come up with ideas and inventions which have been synergized to develop technology for producing both satellites and launch vehicles. Many of the technologies were created indigenously because those could not be purchased by India from foreign countries which own them. 

The success of the Chandrayaan 1 has shown that India is capable of planetary exploration containing many challenges. “Space exploration, including one like Chandrayaan Mission is unforgiving. There is no scope for error.” 

On ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission he said that its success is significant, because India achieved it through a relatively modest budget, and did it on the very first attempt.    Currently many nations have come forward to collaborate with India taking the country’s space technology very seriously. 

Today ISRO’s payload delivery system is so reliable that many other countries and foreign companies use its launch vehicles put their satellites in orbit.

He said that sending a space craft beyond Mars would present some hurdles. The propulsion system needed to carry them over very long distances would have to be very sophisticated and unlike those which are currently available with India. A foreign country will not easily sell such a technology to us. 

The occasion was also marked by the release of the book, Development Through Culture written by eminent thinker S. Gurumurthy. Published by VKIC, the volume focuses on the traditional cultural strengths of India being used to create and sustain comprehensive economic development in the country. 

Earlier, Dipok Kumar Barthakur, Chairman of VKIC delivered the welcome lecture and spoke about the institution's activities, which centre around protecting and promoting the culture of Indigenous communities of NE India and showing the commonalities they have with the rest of the country.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Book: Thoughts for the Modern Woman Inspired by theHoly Mother Sarada Devi

The role of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi cannot be overlooked in the lives of at least two of India’s most revered and iconic individuals. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa revered the Holy Mother, his wife, as a divinity within a physical form. Respect to her was equally paid by Swami Vivekananda and all his brother monks for whom she was an epitome of unconditional love and strength and wisdom.

Those who have studied the lives and beliefs of both these saints and seekers realize how the Holy Mother was able to inspire them to realize the Supreme reality that exists as the core of Sanatan Dharma. Many illuminating aspects of Herteachings continue to be relevant even now, and need to be highlighted because their values transcend the limitations of time. 

The booklet, ‘Thoughts for the Modern Woman Inspired by the Holy Mother Sarada Devi’ is the outcome of a talk delivered by Smt Madhuri Santanam Sondhi at Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture, (VKIC), Guwahati in 2006. It brings into focus issues that trouble us today, challenges that the Holy Mother too faced and overcame with élan. In so doing, the author questions notions of ‘modernity’ and presents the Holy Mother as an embodiment of modern values not ‘in the details of her dress and conduct, but in the essentials of the thought and freedom which lay behind her choices in behaviour.’ 

The author reinforces the idea that much can be achieved to empower and emancipate a woman if the ideals of the Holy Mother are embraced by society. It will appeal to women in India and abroad regardless of cultural and social variance.

Price Rs 40
ISBN: 978-93-83079-13-1

Book Release : Development Through Culture – Concept, Dynamics, Road Ahead

Culture is the real strength of a nation; it reflects the genius of her people applied to and visible in all spheres of life. This includes history, heritage and worldview – a special approach to life peculiar to them. It is particularly true in regard to India, where culture and spirituality has ancient roots. 
There is an acute need to evolve a model of development that includes indices which reflect our psyche – of inclusiveness, familial, socio-cultural, community responsibilities, of happiness, of thrift – in short, an extremely potent social capital.Development interventions should leverage the social capital in terms of community institutions and social arrangements to support holistic economic wellness of the people. 
To usher in intellectual discourse that can reach towards that model the Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture organized Sri S. Gurmurthy’s talks in Guwahati and Itanagar. A thinker, a renowned economist, who had studied development patterns of several communities of India in depth and over a long period in time, Gurumurthyji arrives at the conclusion that a culture-driven model of development is not just an alternative model but the only sustainable model of development.
The Second Edition of Development Through Culture also contains an Epilogue providing a bird’s eye view of the present economic scenario and the need to press ahead with this model. The book is an outcome of original thinking of an economist of high caliber, and it presents an argument that is robust and well-reasoned. 
“I am sure that this discourse initiated by him on Culture and Development will be intensely discussed and debated to create a truly acceptable and effective model of development for wider application,” writes Sri Kashinath Hazarika, former Chairman North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd.

ISBN: 978-93-83079-14-8
Price : `.100/-