St Kabir Public School and History for Peace present

The Idea of the Indian Constitution – chapter III

21, 22, 23 May 2020

St. Kabir Public School, Chandigarh

 

Below is the tentative schedule for the conference

21 May 2020

2 p.m.

Welcome address/Opening address: St Kabir School

 

2.20 – 2.25 p.m.

Brief address: Meena Megha Malhotra, Director, History for Peace

 

2.30 – 3.45 p.m.

Keynote address

To be Announced

3.45 – 4 p.m. Coffee break

 

4 p.m. – 5.15 p.m.

Talk – Animesh Sharma

Indian Secularism and its place in the Constitution and the nation.

 

Secularism is a constitutional ideal for India, it’s been declared to be a part of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. However, it increasingly seems that we have a secular Constitution in a non-secular nation. For many in the country now ‘secular’ is a pejorative word, often even used as an insult, as liberal posturing that is against majoritarian good.

What then does Secularism mean in India and to India? Is the Indian concept of secularism different from how the West understands it? Was Secularism imposed on the country by the British? How then did the framers of the Constitution deal with it in the Constitutional Assembly Debates? What have the Courts said about it? Have we reached a phase where we need to question whether we should continue to be a secular nation, or is it even more important today to reinforce and reassert the constitutional ideal of secularism.

These are the questions that I will broadly seek to address and attempt to answer in my talk.

 

22 May 2020

9 – 10.15 a.m.

Krishna Kumar

Talk – title to be announced

 

10.15 – 10.30 a.m.: Coffee

10.30 a.m. – 11.45 a.m.

Arghya Sengupta

The Constitution and the Supreme Court

This talk will comprise of an overview of what the Constitution expects the Supreme Court to do; having done that the talk will take two recent cases to illustrate how the Court is/ and is not doing its job. Finally, it will end with what this means for all of us as citizens, particularly for school students who will be entitled to vote in the next general elections.

Dr. Arghya Sengupta is the founder and research director at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, a law and policy think-tank in New Delhi. At Vidhi, his areas of specialisation are constitutional law and regulation of the digital economy. He is an alumnus of National Law School of India University Bangalore and the University of Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar. At Oxford, he completed his D.Phil. and was a Lecturer in Administrative Law at Pembroke College.

Arghya has a number of academic publications on the Supreme Court, Parliament and Fundamental Rights in several leading academic journals including Public Law and Law Quarterly Review. He has recently co-edited a collection of essays titled Appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court of India published by the Oxford University Press. He is a columnist at The Hindustan Times, The Telegraph and The Times of India. His latest book ‘Independence and Accountability of the Indian Higher Judiciary’ published by the Cambridge University Press is the product of his doctoral work in Oxford and the first full-length monograph on the subject.

 

11.45 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Rohit Kumar, Aparajita Bharti

Creating active citizens through classroom discussions

For democracies to prosper, it is critical that citizens understand the importance of engaging with their government. While we, as Indians, are very proud of our democracy, we often do not do enough to engage with it. This diminishes accountability in governance and reduces the say we have in crafting our future.

As teachers, we have a key role to play in imbibing a sense of responsibility and active citizenship in our students. However, this is easier said than done. Neither the curriculum, nor the pedagogy is conducive to creating interest in such matters. In classrooms, we need to contextualize citizenship to the students’ age group, talk about things they relate with and care about, and nudge them to think of institutional design rather than just memorize its construct.

This session will deal with tools that teachers may deploy to make such discussions engaging in their classrooms.

Young Leaders for Active Citizenship. Founded by Harvard and Oxford alumni Rohit Kumar and Aparajita Bharti, Young Leaders for Active Citizenship (YLAC) encourages youth to engage in governance and civic participation early on, right from the school days.

Rohit Kumar, co-founder YLAC is an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School of Government and IIT Bombay. Rohit served as the Head of Policy and Research at the office of Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha). In addition to supervising research at Panda’s office, Rohit was responsible for working with central/state governments and non-governmental organizations on development projects.

Aparajita Bharti, co-founder YLAC , after having earned a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from Oxford University has gained rich experience in policy and communications. In her previous role, she was Manager, Corporate Affairs and Communications at Snapdeal where she was responsible for media messaging and engagement, in addition to providing inputs on policy and legislative issues that affect the digital commerce sector.

 

1 – 2 p.m.

Lunch

 

2 – 4 p.m.

3 parallel workshops

 

Kruthika RVineeth Krishna

Indian Constitutional History Workshop 

CLPR has developed a website – ConstitutionofIndia.net –  which curates, tags and presents the Indian constitutional history materials in an interactive and engaging digital format. Additionally, the site archives materials used at our workshops and also our continued efforts to develop curricular constitutional education content.

The workshop will engage with teachers in a pedagogically nuanced and active manner to secure the following outcomes:

  • Orient teachers to the website and its features and how to use it as a resource in the classroom
  • Introduce them to the Constituent Assembly Debates and Indian constitutional history
  • Emphasize the relevance of these historical materials for civic citizenship in India today.

CLPR is a non-profit organisation dedicated to making the Constitution work for everyone through law and policy research, social and governance interventions and strategic impact litigation. The Centre was established in recognition of the need to have a legal research organisation dedicated to the rule of law and defence of constitutional values.

Kruthika R is Associate Editor for Constitutional and Civic Citizenship at the Centre for Law and Policy Research. Kruthika graduated with a B.A. (Hons.) LL.B from School of Law, Christ University in 2017. Kruthika’s research interests include Indian constitutional and political history, constitutional law and civic citizenship.

Vineeth Krishna is Senior Associate Editor for Constitutional and Civic Citizenship at the Centre for Law and Policy Research. He has an undergraduate degree in Economics, Politics and Sociology and a Master’s in Development (Law and Governance). His primary interest revolves around understanding Indian constitutionalism through intellectual history and political theory.

 

Making Sense of a Contested Canon: Developing a Constitutional Sensibility in Grades 11 and 12 in Complicated Times

Sathish Jayarajan

In this workshop, I explore whether an enquiry based approach to the study of the Constitution of India (as a text or primary source) leads to the development of a constitutional sensibility and makes for good teaching practice. The approach involves creating an argumentative classroom that is enabling of active intellectual exploration.

We will actually try and set up an argumentative classroom and run some activities in this workshop. We will then ask ourselves whether a constitutional sensibility is about appreciating the contested and complex nature of constitutional arrangements.

Sathish Jayarajan is Principal and Higher Education Advisor, Mallya Aditi International School, Bangalore.

 

We, the Students

History for Peace

Large scale protests upholding the Indian tricolour, mass readings of the Preamble to the Indian Constitution in anti-government demonstrations, school students sending postcards to the Prime Minister supporting CAA as assignments, women-led occupations of public spaces demanding secularism: what’s happening, who is opposing what and why, who isn’t opposing and why? What questions do our students have about all of this? Do our Civic textbooks hold the key to these questions?

While we do not and cannot claim to have the answers, we do know that the times demand we seek clarity, that the misinformation that clouds minds including those of the young, is addressed.

So, what we propose is this: engaging students critically in an exercise that will enable them to seek the answers to these questions themselves. If not answers, students will at the very least have moved on to newer, different questions.

This workshop will bring you well researched material that can be used in the classroom to critically engage students towards a deeper understanding of the recent laws.

 

4 – 4.15 p.m. Coffee break

 

4.15 – 5.30 p.m.

Teaching the Indian Constitution

Vineeth Krishna

For India to remain a constitutional democracy, India’s youth must have a sharp awareness of the place of the Constitution in our everyday lives and critically engage with and commit to its radical transformative goals. For this, we need to seriously reimagine how we teach the Constitution to students. This session will advance, advocate and elaborate upon the following pedagogical strategies:

  • Constitution as a Living document

To introduce the Constitution to students as a historically contingent text that allows them to engage with the Constitution as a living social contract that requires constant re-interpretation, rather than a ‘scriptural mode’ of teaching which introduces students to the Constitution as a static text.

  • Primary Materials

To pay emphasis on engaging with the origins and practice of the Constitution by reading two types of primary materials: historical and contemporary.

  • History of ideas

To allow students to quickly pair key constitutional ideas with key constitutional drafters and interpreters, and their contingent social, political and economic backgrounds.

  • Pedagogy of discovery

To increase the chances of students critically engaging with primary materials, they should be allowed to discover them on their own

Vineeth Krishna is Senior Associate Editor for Constitutional and Civic Citizenship at the Centre for Law and Policy Research. He has an undergraduate degree in Economics, Politics and Sociology and a Master’s in Development (Law and Governance). His primary interest revolves around understanding Indian constitutionalism through intellectual history and political theory.

 

23 May 2020

9 a.m. – 10.30 a.m.

Founding Fabric: Nisha Abdulla & Deeptha Vivekanand 

Using theatrical tools and stories to teach the values enshrined in India’s Constitution 

 

10.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.

3 Parallel Workshops

 

Indian Constitutional History Workshop 

Kruthika R, Associate and Vineeth Krishna, Senior Associate, Centre for Law and Policy Research

CLPR has developed a website – ConstitutionofIndia.net –  which curates, tags and presents the Indian constitutional history materials in an interactive and engaging digital format. Additionally, the site archives materials used at our workshops and also our continued efforts to develop curricular constitutional education content.

The workshop will engage with teachers in a pedagogically nuanced and active manner to secure the following outcomes:

  • Orient teachers to the website and its features and how to use it as a resource in the classroom
  • Introduce them to the Constituent Assembly Debates and Indian constitutional history
  • Emphasizethe relevance of these historical materials for civic citizenship in India today.

 

Making Sense of a Contested Canon: Developing a Constitutional Sensibility in Grades 11 and 12 in Complicated Times

Sathish Jayarajan

In this workshop, I explore whether an enquiry based approach to the study of the Constitution of India (as a text or primary source) leads to the development of a constitutional sensibility and makes for good teaching practice. The approach involves creating an argumentative classroom that is enabling of active intellectual exploration.

We will actually try and set up an argumentative classroom and run some activities in this workshop. We will then ask ourselves whether a constitutional sensibility is about appreciating the contested and complex nature of constitutional arrangements.

Sathish Jayarajan is Principal and Higher Education Advisor, Mallya Aditi International School, Bangalore.

 

We the Students

History for Peace

Large scale protests upholding the Indian tricolour, mass readings of the Preamble to the Indian Constitution in anti-government demonstrations, school students sending postcards to the Prime Minister supporting CAA as assignments, women-led occupations of public spaces demanding secularism: what’s happening, who is opposing what and why, who isn’t opposing and why? What questions do our students have about all of this? Do our Civic textbooks hold the key to these questions?

While we do not and cannot claim to have the answers, we do know that the times demand we seek clarity, that the misinformation that clouds minds including those of the young, is addressed.

So, what we propose is this: engaging students critically in an exercise that will enable them to seek the answers to these questions themselves. If not answers, students will at the very least have moved on to newer, different questions.

This workshop will bring you well researched material that can be used in the classroom to critically engage students towards a deeper understanding of the recent laws.

 

12.30 – 1 p.m.

Closing remarks. Introducing website

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

 


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