A Report on Swadeshi Indology Conference-2

An Infinity India Foundation (IFI) Report. A small IFI team (you know who you are) put in incredible hard work on the ground, working quietly behind the scenes. Their quick thinking and teamwork, along with help from volunteers ('the unknown soldiers'), overcame multiple and daunting real-time operational and logistical challenges to make this event a success. Thank you for your Seva.

The second edition of the Swadeshi Indology Conference Series was held at the IGNCA premises, New Delhi on 17th, 18th and 19th February in collaboration with IGNCA. It was titled "Global Perceptions of Indian Heritage"

The conference got off to a great start with an inaugural function graced by the presence of the Union Minister for Law and Justice and Information Technology, Sri. Ravi Shankar Prasad and Rajya Sabha MP and BJP stalwart Sri. Subramanian Swamy. 

This edition of the Conference series was much larger in scope than the first one and had three parallel tracks. Continuing on the theme of critiquing the Neo-Orientalist School of thought led by Prof. Sheldon Pollock, this edition saw 10 theses put forward by Pollock countered.

There were 35 paper presentations on topics ranging from Rasa, Mimamsa, Chronology, Desacralisation with the maximum number of presentations being made on the topic of Rasa.

Apart from these paper presentations, there was the robust refutation from the traditional scholars. The format is called Vakyartha Sadas and it is something that is conducted amongst traditional scholars in their own groupings but has gone out of the larger public discourse. We were able to bring back this ancient tradition centre stage and it was a huge success. 

We will be continuing to engage with these scholars and will strive to make their voice heard in the larger mainstream discourse. Vakyartha Sadas, the traditional form of Purvapaksha and Uttarapaksha debate will slowly be revived and restored to its rightful position as a scientific and rigorous form of debate that has been the cornerstone of our intellectual tradition.

The conference signed off with a valedictory function in which, awards for the best papers and two monographs (the outcome from SI-1).The two monograph writers have been supported by Vellayan Chettiar Foundation based in Chennai and the awards for the monographs were given away by FICS (Foundation for Indian Civilisation Studies) run by Sri. Mohandas Pai.

The papers which won prizes from FICS (Foundation for Indian Civilisation Studies instituted by Sri T V Mohandas Pai) were:

1. Prof. K Gopinath for his paper on Rasa titled "A computational Theory for Rasa"

2. Megh Kalyanasundaram and Manogna Sastry for their paper on Chronology titled "Purvapaksha of Sheldon Pollock's use of Chronology"

3. Nilesh Oak for his paper on Chronology titled "A cririque of Pollock's "self-evident claims" for the chronology of Mahabharata and Ramayana AND Assertion for the dating of Mahabharata and Ramayana events based on the internal astronomy evidence"

4. Dr. Shrinivas Tilak for his paper on Mimamsa titled "Professor Sheldon Pollock on History in India: A critique from the perspective of Mimamsa"

5. Sowmya Krishnapur for her paper in Sanskrit titled "Sheldon Pollock Pratipaditasya Vyakarana Sastra - Prabhutvayoha Sambandhasya Yuktiyuktatva Pariksha"

6. Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay for his paper on Sastra titled "Practice versus Theory: Ganita Sastra and Western Mathematics"

7. Sudarshan Therani for his paper on Philology titled "The Science of Meaning"

In addition to the above papers, awards were also given for the two papers from the first edition of the conference series that were turned into monographs. These monographs were released at the conference in their draft form. It is a moment of pride for the movement that we have created a significant body of work in such a short span of time. A draft version of the selected papers from SI-1 was also released at the conference. 

Hence, as of now, starting with TBFS, this movement has produced 4 books: TBFS, Proceedings of SI-1, and two monographs. Soon, we will also have the proceedings of SI-2 published. We will therefore have a solid body of work in just over a year's time.

The monograph details are as follows:

1. Manjushree Hegde is the author of the monograph titled "Politics of Sanskrit Studies: A Critical Appraisal of Sheldon Pollock's Ramayana"

2. T M Narendran is the author of the monograph titled "A Pariksa of Sheldon Pollock's Three Dimensional Philology"

Congratulations to all the prize winners!

An important marker of the conference was the presence and active and enthusiastic participation of Dr. Nagaswamy upon whom a Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred by FICS.

Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Nagaswamy

We will take a small breather but will soon announce plans for the next conference of the series. 

Lastly, we have had excellent video coverage and the videos will be up sooner rather than later on all platforms.

Do look out for the upcoming fantastic videos from Si-2.


Team IFI

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