4 November 2020—Mudra Arpanam
Nrithyanveshka Natya Vidushi Dr. Chethana Radhakrishna. P. M. (Vidwath in Bharatanatyam, BAPA Dance-Music-Sanskrit, M.A.in Sanskrit, M.A. in Dance, Ph.D.), was the guest speaker at the Wednesday Webinar on 4 November 2020. A Bharatanatyam Lecturer at KSGH University for Music and Performing Arts, Mysuru, the founder of Gurudev Academy of Fine Arts, and an ever-learning artist, Chethana presented her Ph.D. thesis for which she was awarded Doctorate by Mysore University.
The speaker commenced by showing a beautifully bound copy of her thesis titled ‘A Comparative Study of Mudras According to Bharata’s Natyashastra and Some of the Ritualistic Traditions in India’. She explained her research questions, the primary texts the work referred to, the outcomes and findings, and the challenges faced as she worked towards its completion.
Having first established the premise that Bharatanatyam, like many other classical art forms, can be a means of enhancing spirituality and to uplift oneself to a higher level of consciousness, she spoke about the hand gestures called ‘hastas’ in Bharatanatyam and ‘mudras’ when used in rituals. She proposed that some of these mudras can be used not only in rituals but also in dance and proceeded to state reasons to substantiate that statement.
She explained that our hands influence the energy of our physical, emotional, and spiritual body. Knowledge of these ritualistic ‘mudras’ can add to the repertoire of students of classical dance—especially their skills in non-verbal communication, their understanding of the healing powers of ‘mudras’, and the beauty of their performance. The speaker emphasised that the use of mudras in Bharatanatyam can widen the horizon of the art form and bring a ritualistic dimension to the dance, along with enhancing its aesthetic value. She demonstrated a comparison of various ‘mudras’ and ‘hastas’ which depict the same concept or idea and how they both could be used in dance.
The discussion that followed saw many a question from dancers, connoisseurs of the art form, and the curious alike. The concepts of Devadharmi, natyadharmi and lokadharmi mentioned in the talk were elaborated upon. The way ‘mudras’ are used in rituals and their healing powers even in isolation were also explained to the uninitiated. The challenges of the proposed infusion of mudras into dance which will change its language considerably, affecting the ease with which the audience will understand the art form, were also acknowledged and discussed.
18 November 2020—Analysing a Public Policy—Thoughts on 6% GDP for Education as Stated in the NEP 2020
The Wednesday Webinar on 18 November 2020 saw a guest speaker, Dr. Reshmi P. Bhaskaran, Public Policy Analyst and Development Economist, presenting her working paper titled ‘6% of GDP for Education—An Analysis of Five Decades of educational financing in India’.
The session began with a prayer and was followed by an introduction of the speaker by Shri Nithin Ramakrishnan of the School of Ethics, Governance, Culture, and Social Systems.
Dr. Resmi commenced her session providing the background to the paper explaining how one analyses a public policy document and her rationale for choosing the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. She spoke about the historical context, especially the previous education policies, and introduced the topic of discussion, i.e. educational financing as per NEP 2020.
She explained that the NEP 2020 aims at a world-class education system by 2040 with equitable access to the highest-quality education for all learners regardless of their socio-economic background. With regard to financing education, it plainly states that the Centre and the states will work together to increase public investment in the education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest. Dr. Resmi added that 6% of GDP for education has been proposed in the Kothari Commission in 1966, then in the first NEP in 1968 and thereafter, it has become a long-standing, unmet demand of the young population of India.
Based on a study using data related to educational allocation as a share of GDP, the educational outlay in the five-year plans and educational investment of the Indian state between 1966 and 2010, Dr. Resmi stated that educational deprivation challenges attributed to inadequate resource allocation for education continue to impact the quality of human resources, economic productivity, and democratic development of the country. Therefore, using the educational allocation history of independent India, she argued that the proposal of 6% of GDP for education in NEP 2020 might remain unmet especially under the current economic scenario. She concluded with a rousing call to demand of the Government to invest heavily in education.
The Q&A at the end of the session added value to the discussion with many keen observations and pertinent questions, especially from the students of the M.A. Public Policy and Governance programme of Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth (CVV). The broad themes discussed included the legalisation of financial decisions such as the enforcement of spending in Education, the role of a State, regulations imposed without financial support, the implementation of ‘gratitude tax’, etc.
The event was hosted and moderated by Ms. Neethu S. Kumar, Assistant Professor of the School of Literary and Linguistic Studies, who is also the coordinator of the Wednesday Webinars at CVV.
25 November 2020—Enhancing the Soft Skills of Student Teachers through NLP
A Ph.D. Research presented at CVV’s Wednesday Webinar.
The third week of November arrived with yet another dedicated time slot for CVV-ians to learn from a scholar’s research. The Wednesday Webinar on 25 November 2020 with Dr. Pramod Dinakar, Assistant Professor of Education in the School of Ethics, Governance, Culture and Social Systems at Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, was attended by the students and faculty to learn more about the research interests of one of their own.
The speaker presented his Doctoral research study on ‘Development and Validation of an NLP-Based Training Package for Enhancing the Soft Skills of Student Teachers’, conducted from 2008 to 2015 from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala, and for which he was awarded a Ph.D. in 2016. He took the audience consisting of practising and aspiring researchers through the steps involved in Ph.D. research using his thesis as an example. Dr. Dinakar explained the rationale for his study, defined the terms concerned, stated his research questions and elaborated upon the review of literature conducted. He then detailed the methodology adopted as well as the tools and techniques used for data collection, for the benefit of the students in the gathering. The use of RTI for the latter was an interesting revelation to many in the audience. The data analysis and findings were also presented.
He concluded the session reiterating the results of the study which emphasized the positive effect of an NLP-Based Soft Skills Enhancement package in enhancing the soft skills and teacher effectiveness of student teachers. The discussion which followed saw the audience clarifying their doubts regarding the subject matter of the research as well as the process.
The event was hosted and moderated by Ms. Neethu S Kumar, Assistant Professor of the School of Linguistics and Literary Studies, who is also the coordinator of the Wednesday Webinars at CVV.