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Updated: Nov 3, 2022




With the critical problems facing our world today, it is increasingly important to prepare our young for deep engagement in their communities; to support them to be effective and reflective agents of positive social change; to give them a sound understanding of Governance, Law, Politics beyond textbook exposure; to equip them to confront ethical dilemmas with value based decisions.


In keeping with the urgent need of our times, History for Peace explored The Idea of Democracy at the annual conference for teaching history in Calcutta in August this year. Over a period of three days close to a hundred participants from across the country comprising of school teachers, university students, civil society actors got the opportunity to engage and discuss issues of relevance with scholars and public intellectuals such as Romila Thapar, Krishna Kumar, Apoorvanand, Sundar Sarukkai, Sudipta Sen, TM Krishna, Arvind Narrain, to name just a few.


The conference now travels to Ludhiana with the support of Takshila Educational Society.


Speakers and workshop facilitators at The Idea of Democracy - chapter 2 are:


Romila Thapar and Arvind Narrain (in an online conversation); Krishna Kumar; Apoorvanand; Gitanjali Surendran; Asmita Prabhakar (@viaNewsDidi); Grace David and Neha Pradhan Arora; Surabhi Malhotra and Shipra Baduni (YLAC). Scroll down for the conference programme.

We are excited to share that for the first time, this chapter of the History for Peace conference will cater to teachers as well as high school students!


 
REGISTRATION DETAILS


IMPORTANT NOTE:


Participants not based in Ludhiana are requested to make their own arrangements for accommodation. Once you register, we will gladly help with suggestions.


Registrations extended to 4 November 2022!


Registration for teachers here


Registration for students here

 

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

The Idea of Democracy: chapter 2



12.11. 22


7.40 – 8.40 a.m. Registration


8.40 a.m. – 8.50 a.m. Welcome Address. Balmit Kaur, Principal, Delhi Public School, Ludhiana.


8.50 – 9 a.m. Opening Address. Meena Megha Malhotra, Director, History for Peace.


9 a.m. – 10.30 a.m.

Getting past the ‘top-dressing’: Ambedkar and his Dhamma in the classroom

Gitanjali

B. R. Ambedkar was a deep thinker of democracy. He launched sharp and persuasive critiques of caste, took on Hindu upper-caste patriarchs and drafted the foundational document of the republic—the Constitution. For most of India’s post-1947 existence, Ambedkar has been referred to as the ‘father of the Constitution’ but his social critique and commitment to a democracy that went deeper than ‘top-dressing’ has gone unacknowledged. How can teaching students about Ambedkar’s intellectual and political journey, reading his writing, and understanding his conversion to Buddhism, enhance their critical thinking and deepen our collective understanding of our democracy, its possibilities and perils?

Gitanjali is Professor of History at Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat. She has a PhD in History from Harvard University and Masters’ degrees from Oxford and J.N.U. Her first book, From Dhamma to Democracy: Buddhism in the Making of Modern India, c 1890-1960, will be out next year.



10.30 – 11 a.m. Coffee break



11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Romila Thapar in conversation with Arvind Narrain [online]


Romila Thapar is an Indian historian and an Emeritus professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her principal area of study is ancient India.


Arvind Narrain has been involved with research, writing and practice related to law and social concerns and visiting Faculty at the national Law School and Azim Premji University. He is also the President of the Peoples Union of Civil Liberties Karnataka. He is the author of India's Undeclared Emergency, co-editor of Law Like Love: Queer Perspectives on Law as well as the co-author of Breathing Life into the Constitution. He was also a part of the team of lawyers challenging Section 377 of the IPC right from the High Court in 2009 to the Supreme Court in 2018.


1 – 2 p.m. Lunch


2 – 4 p.m. Parallel workshops


  • Teacher's corner: Tips and Tools to make learning fun and engaging

Shipra Baduni and Surabhi Malhotra (YLAC) [TEACHERS]


Civic engagement is one of the prime responsibilities of every individual. While most classroom curriculums cover the notion of democracy and citizenship, we have found that the best way to engage young minds around these ideas is experiential learning. We at YLAC have developed experiential learning lesson plans to make classrooms fun and engaging. This workshop is aimed at introducing multiple teaching techniques—including role plays, videos, games, activities, debates and discussions.


Shipra Baduni, Manager, Citizen Engagement is an alumna of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. With a Master’s degree in social work, her specialization is women-centred practices. She has extensive grassroot experience working with rural youth on education projects. Her interest areas lie within the intersection of gender and tech-education. Being a staunch feminist, she believes in bringing a gendered lens to any work she pursues. She has been engaged with YLAC for over two years now, working with young people across towards the goal of active citizenship.


During her previous experiences, she has worked with adolescent girls of the Bedia community, who were at risk of being forced into sex work. She worked on an education model to provide an alternative safe space for these girls to pursue their dreams. She has also worked with rural youth on a governance based education model where she has led and designed programs with the objective of involving youth in local governance. During her free time she thoroughly enjoys writing poetry and learning new forms of dance.


Surabhi Malhotra, Manager, Citizen Engagement. An alumna of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Surabhi holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and is passionate about working with children. Although she started her career in the corporate realm as a Business Analyst, she soon joined the development space to follow her passion. Over the past few years, she has developed extensive experience in program and stakeholder management. She has previously worked with Pratham where she managed the implementation of education programs in collaboration with several state governments in India.


At TISS, she worked at the field level on projects aimed at skill-building of women and youth in the urban slums of Mumbai. An art and nature lover, she enjoys DIY projects on anything that involves colour or plants.



  • The Re-Imagining Media Workshop

Asmita Prabhakar (@viaNewsDidi) [STUDENTS]


In the two-hour workshop, students will become acquainted with key concepts related to media literacy and understand its significance. They will also learn a few key skills and digital tools to use journalism for advocacy! Below are the workshop objectives:


a) Students will be able to critically analyse news and media

a) Students will be able to develop basic fact-checking skills

b) Students will understand the basics of solutions based journalism

c) Students will understand how to use journalism for advocacy

Asmita is a graduate in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University and has a Masters degree in Public Policy. She began her professional journey in education as a Teach for India fellow in Delhi, where she taught in a government school for two years. Following this, she worked with Shiv Nadar School and went on to start Via News Didi in 2020. Via News Didi is a learning network that helps students understand how the world around them is changing and how they can change it for the better. Via News Didi brings together Asmita's academic inclinations in Politics & Public Policy and her passion for teaching and learning! Via News Didi is currently being incubated as one of nine start-ups at InnovatED- an incubation program run by Teach for India.





13.11.23


9 – 11 a.m. Parallel Workshops


· Do we need a government?

Shipra Baduni and Surabhi Malhotra(YLAC) [STUDENTS]


The history of how governments came into play is becoming increasingly important to understand, especially in today's world. It is also important for one to question the idea of democracy and its origins to be better able to understand the role government plays in our life and the role we as citizens have to play to ensure its longevity. It has become imperative to engage with the system meaningfully.

This workshop aims to dive into a philosophical understanding of why governments are needed and what are the best forms to structure it. Is democracy the only viable solution? It also aims to give a glimpse into how we as citizens, can engage with the system to drive change.


Shipra Baduni, Manager, Citizen Engagement is an alumna of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. With a Master’s degree in social work, her specialization is women-centred practices. She has extensive grassroot experience working with rural youth on education projects. Her interest areas lie within the intersection of gender and tech-education. Being a staunch feminist, she believes in bringing a gendered lens to any work she pursues. She has been engaged with YLAC for over two years now, working with young people across towards the goal of active citizenship.

During her previous experiences, she has worked with adolescent girls of the Bedia community, who were at risk of being forced into sex work. She worked on an education model to provide an alternative safe space for these girls to pursue their dreams. She has also worked with rural youth on a governance based education model where she has led and designed programmes with the objective of involving youth in local governance. During her free time, she thoroughly enjoys writing poetry and learning new forms of dance.


Surabhi Malhotra, Manager, Citizen Engagement. An alumna of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Surabhi holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and is passionate about working with children. Although she started her career in the corporate realm as a business analyst, she soon joined the development space to follow her passion. Over the past few years, she has developed extensive experience in programme and stakeholder management. She has previously worked with Pratham where she managed the implementation of education programs in collaboration with several state governments in India.

At TISS, she worked at the field level on projects aimed at skill-building of women and youth in the urban slums of Mumbai. An art and nature lover, she enjoys DIY projects on anything that involves colour or plants.


· Nurturing a culture of democracy and advocacy through Social Justice education

Grace David & Neha Pradhan Arora [TEACHERS]

Social Justice is often misunderstood and not seemingly connected to the practice of education in classrooms. Helping and charitable acts are encouraged while social change and impact through questioning and challenging inequality are considered disruptive activism. However, it is critical to understand that the concept and practice of social justice once embedded in our classrooms and our conversations will help to nurture a culture of democracy and advocacy through a commitment to acknowledging, questioning and challenging inequalities arising from a differential distribution of power, resources, and privilege. This workshop aims to provide educators with an understanding of the concept of social justice and a framework to embed this holistically into our education to be able to create a democratic and just world.


Grace David has a Master’s Degree in English from Delhi University. She is also a student of Christian theology and is in the final year of her M.Th (Systematic Theology) from Vidyajyoti College, Delhi. Her experience for the past 18 years has therefore been also largely with youth groups, Church communities and faith formation as well. For the last seven years she has been working as the Coordinator of Catechetics, Values and Social Justice Education in St. Columba’s School, New Delhi. She has also authored several devotional books in English and Hindi along with papers and articles on theological themes.


Neha Pradhan Arora has worked in the education and development sector for 20 years with a focus on building collective responsibility and transforming children, teachers and classrooms, through dialogue and learning experiences. A social worker and teacher by qualification, she has been the resource person for the Social Justice and Advocacy programme in the Edmund Rice schools in India since 2018. She is also the co-founder of an organisation that works on the issues of safety and protection of women and children from abuse, violence and exploitation.




11 – 11.30 a.m. Coffee break



11.30 a.m. – 1 p.m. How to live together in a Democracy?

Apoorvanand


Apoorvanand Jha is a professor of Hindi at the University of Delhi where he has been instrumental in redesigning the department’s academic program.


Dr. Jha has worked on the development of Marxist Aesthetics in Hindi Literature. He was part of the core group that designed the National Curriculum Framework for School Education in 2005 and was a member of the national Focus Group on Teaching of Indian Languages formed by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). He has worked with the committee to advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education in India under the Chairmanship of Professor Yash Pal. Created by the Government of India in 2008, the committee worked to craft a new vision plan for the sector of higher education in India.


Dr. Jha has published two books of essays in literary criticism: Sundar ka Swapna and Sahitya ka Ekant. His critical essays have appeared in all major Hindi journals. Apart from his academic and literary writings, he also contributes columns in Indian newspapers and magazines on the issues of education, culture, communalism, violence and human rights.



1 – 2 p.m. Lunch


2 – 4 p.m.


· The Re-Imagining Media Workshop

Asmita Prabhakar (@viaNewsDidi) [TEACHERS]


In the 2 hr workshop, teachers will become acquainted with key concepts related to media literacy and understand its role in strengthening democracy. Teachers will understand how to use news and journalism to empower their students to become active citizens with the ability to contribute to India's development.

Below are the workshop objectives:


o Teachers will be able to articulate the importance of media literacy in strengthening democracy

o Teachers will be able to critically analyse news and information and use basic fact-checking tools

o Teachers will be able to use current affairs to supplement Social Science lessons


Asmita is a graduate in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University and has a Masters degree in Public Policy. She began her professional journey in education as a Teach for India fellow in Delhi, where she taught in a government school for two years. Following this, she worked with Shiv Nadar School and went on to start Via News Didi in 2020. Via News Didi is a learning network that helps students understand how the world around them is changing and how they can change it for the better. Via News Didi brings together Asmita's academic inclinations in Politics & Public Policy and her passion for teaching and learning! Via News Didi is currently being incubated as one of nine start-ups at InnovatED- an incubation program run by Teach for India.


· Becoming advocates and changemakers for a democratic, sustainable and just world Grace David & Neha Pradhan Arora [STUDENTS]

Social Justice and democracy are abstract terms that are often misunderstood, especially in how we can advocate for the same. Helping and charitable acts are encouraged while social change and impact through questioning and challenging inequality are considered disruptive activism. However, young people across the world today are emerging as leaders who are questioning injustice and advocating for change.


This workshop aims to introduce the participants to the concept of social justice and the values of democracy while helping them identify the skills and tools needed to become advocates for the same.


Grace David has a Master’s Degree in English from Delhi University. She is also a student of Christian theology and is in the final year of her M.Th (Systematic Theology) from Vidyajyoti College, Delhi. Her experience for the past 18 years has therefore been also largely with youth groups, Church communities and faith formation as well. For the last seven years she has been working as the Coordinator of Catechetics, Values and Social Justice Education in St. Columba’s School, New Delhi. She has also authored several devotional books in English and Hindi along with papers and articles on theological themes.


Neha Pradhan Arora has worked in the education and development sector for 20 years with a focus on building collective responsibility and transforming children, teachers and classrooms, through dialogue and learning experiences. A social worker and teacher by qualification, she has been the resource person for the Social Justice and Advocacy programme in the Edmund Rice schools in India since 2018. She is also the co-founder of an organisation that works on the issues of safety and protection of women and children from abuse, violence and exploitation.



 

About Takshila Educational Society: Takshila Educational Society is driven by the desire to influence and shape culture through its liberal knowledge platforms. These platforms have grown over 25 years of dedicated work in education through Delhi Public School at Patna, Pune, Ludhiana and Coimbatore, in social development through Parivartan, in art and culture through Arthshila, and in children’s literature and publishing through Ektara. Takshila serves to be an expression of knowledge through the diverse and liberal learning spaces it owns and the multi-faceted initiatives it supports across India.

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