Wednesday Webinar – Report

Set to the background score of monsoons in Kerala, it was story time on the evening of 3 June, with the listeners taking a stroll down memory lane, revisiting the tales they had heard since time immemorial, but with a new purpose in mind. The first Wednesday Webinar of June had one of CVV’s own, Assistant Professor Vishaka Venkat, sharing her learning from two online courses she had completed recently. Punctuated with stories, the session presented the outlines of the courses: ‘Leadership Lessons from Indian Mythology’ from Udemy and ‘Hinduism through its Scriptures’ offered by Harvardx.

The summary of the first course began with a question on which Indian mythological character’s leadership style did each of us relate to, which prompted the audience to respond with another set of questions, sparking an insightful discussion that continued till the end. Through examples from our shared inheritance of lore, the speaker elaborated on the corporate culture and management lessons from Indian Mythology including much-sought-after principles of ‘handling employees’, ‘knowing stakeholders’, and ‘how to be successful’. A few instances from the Puranas were also discussed to examine the ideal qualities of a leader.

The second half of the talk took the audience through a foundational course on Hinduism which covers different parts of Vedic studies and the Puranas. A summary of the major modules including ‘The World of the Vedas and the Upanishads’, ‘The Ramayana’ and the Bhakti traditions was presented to demonstrate the relevance and depth of the course. Interesting elements such as the inclusion of retellings or adaptations in regional and folk literature were also showcased.

The conversations that followed the speaker’s presentation also applauded the choice of including varied versions of the stories, while being cognizant of the challenges this posed for research. It was also noted that discussion forums would have been a great feature for such a course, which is currently delivered through video recordings alone. A comparison with CVV’s foundation courses on Indian Knowledge Traditions, offered to all students, was also made. The session came to an end reluctantly, but with the certainty that the conversations will continue beyond the imposed limitations of time and space.