- India Platform - https://india-platform.org -

National symposium SAMVADA LAHARI (Waves of Discussion) V – “Samskruthika Vyatyasagalu” (Cultural differences): 2016

The annual Samvada Lahari meeting was held at the Ainakai House (‘Ainakai Mane’), located amidst the Western Ghats. This edition focused on the present descriptions about India which are a consequence of the European experience of the “Orient”. Speakers talked about how Orientalism and the Oriental scholars have developed a way of describing and talking about India and her traditions. The problems these descriptions cause are so deep-rooted that it has become very difficult to escape from them and to try to build on Indian experiences. Prof. Balagangadhara’s article “The Future of the Present” was discussed in this framework.
In addition to the discussions, the audience was invited to watch a traditional play in Kannada by the Ramananda Ainakai group called “Andhayuga” – which was an adaptation of a Hindi play written by Dharmaveer Bharati. It was a depiction of the last day of the Kurukshetra war. The second day opened with an interesting exchange of views on the experiences connected to this play.
The third topic discussed was the recent Beef Ban in India. Discussing Prof. Balagangadhara and Prof. De Roover’s article ‘Beef Bans, Beef Parties, and Sacred Cows’, participants found that the whole issue can be seen as a reproduction of Orientalist discourses: lacking any intellectual framework to look at this controversy, right and left wing in India use the banning or propagation of beef eating to their own political advantage.
About 40-50 people participated in the fifth Samvada Lahari, including researchers, faculty members from different colleges, young graduate students and some interested local people.