Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank announced the Centre of Excellence for Indian Knowledge System to be set up at IIT Kharagpur. Inaugurating the international webinar titled “Bharata Tirtha” organized by the Institute from November 6-8, 2020, Chief Guest Pokhriyal congratulated the Institute for the continued work in various branches of Indian Knowledge System. IIT Kharagpur has attempted to introspect on the spirit of India, her challenges in the present times and taken the right measures through an initiative like Bharata Tirtha and research, he said.
The Minister emphasized on education through mother tongue along with rejuvenation of Sanskrit to ease the educational process for the diverse people of India and draw from the rich educational heritage of India. Confirming the creation of a National Education Technology Forum to support technical education, he motivated researchers to take forward deeper studies in Indian scientific and linguistic heritage and access the historical educational resources which are still available. He remarked, “Initiatives like Study in India, GIAN, GIAN+ and other funded research programs could be the right resources to spread this to the global students and researchers community.” He further called for excellence in research to accentuate the quality of India which has sustained the culture despite the turmoil over centuries.
Guest of Honour, Sanjay Dhotre opined on the need to critically study and analyze the interdisciplinary nature Indian Knowledge System in the present times. “Spectacular achievements of the past can inspire us but cannot sustain us in the present. It is our responsibility to equip the Indian Knowledge System with Indian ethos and values and attempt a pursuit of excellence in every chosen field,” he said. He hoped NEP 2020 will promote this spirit of India. “NEP 2020 is based not only on cognitive capacities but also social, ethical and emotional capacities which will ensure quality education to all students despite their geographical, economic and social position especially for the historically marginalized and disadvantaged groups,” he added.
Prof. Virendra K Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur, expressed the need to acknowledge and incentivize research work on Indian Scientific Heritage by awarding the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize. “SS Bhatnagar Prize is a dream goal for science and technology researchers in India. I would like to request Union Education Minister to contemplate on proposing to the Union Minister for Science & Technology to create a new vertical on Indian scientific heritage under this prestigious Prize,” he said.
The three-day webinar will witness talks by international stalwarts pioneering in Indic studies including Arthashastra (Economics), Sanskrit for Natural Language Processing, Vedic and Ancient Indian Mathematics – Numeral System, Bijaganita and Jyamiti, Rasayana (Chemical Sciences), Ayurveda (Biological Sciences), Jyotir-tatha Mahajagatika Vidya (Positional and Astronomical Sciences), Prakriti Vidya (Terrestrial/ Material Sciences/ Ecology and Atmospheric Sciences) and Nandana Tathya tatha Vastu Vidya (Archaeology, Iconography and Architecture).
The speakers include Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor, Govt. of India and Dr. Deepa Sankar, Chief of Education, UNICEF, Uzbekistan (Europe and Central Asia Region) on Arthashastra,Prof. Gérard Huet, National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, France and Prof. Amba Kulkarni, Department of Sanskrit Studies, University of Hyderabad on Sanskrit for Natural Language Processing, Prof. Clemency Montelle, University of Canterbury, New Zealand and Prof. K. Ramasubramanian, IIT Bombay on Vedic and Ancient Indian Mathematics, Prof. B. M. Deb, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan and Prof. Samaresh Bhattacharya, Jadavpur University, Kolkata on Bharatiya Rasayan, Dr. P. Rammanohar, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore and Dr. Mitali Mukerji, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi on Ayurveda, Prof. Mayank N. Vahia, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai and Prof. Amitabha Ghosh, Former Director, IIT Kharagpur on Positional and Astronomical Sciences, Prof. Arunendu Banerjee, Visva-bharati, Santiniketan and Rabindra Bharati University and Prof. Omkarnath Mohanty, IIT Bhubaneswar on Terrestrial/ Material Ecology and Atmospheric Sciences, Dr. Shikha Jain, Director, The DRONAH Foundation, Gurgaon and Dr. Rajrani Kalra, Urban and Regional Geography Expert, California State University, San Bernardino, USA on Archaeology, Iconography and Architecture. Among the other experts are Prof. M. D. Srinivas, Chairman, Center for Policy Studies, Chennai, as the keynote speaker, Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE and Prof. Shishir K. Dube, Former Director, IIT Kharagpur as panelists for the session on ‘WAY FORWARD for IITs in Indian Knowledge Systems’. They will be joined by faculty experts from various disciplines at IIT Kharagpur.
The organizing members include Prof. Virendra Kumar Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur (chief patron), Prof. S.K. Bhattacharya, Deputy Director, IIT Kharagpur (patron), Prof. Somesh Kumar, Dean of Students’ Affairs, IIT Kharagpur (chairman), Prof. Joy Sen, Department of Architecture and Regional Planning, IIT Kharagpur (organizing secretary), Prof. Anuradha Choudry, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Kharagpur (joint secretary).