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Sambhavna Trust Institutes PM Bhargava Memorial Lecture series on Science and Society

The first PM Bhargava Memorial Lecture series on science and
society  instituted by Sambhavna Trust
was delivered by Professor Apoorvanand in Hyderabad yesterday.  The lecture was on ‘Can Enlightenment Prevent
Aushwitz?’ and succinctly and emphatically pointed out the possibility of an
Aushwitz exists in every society and the signs and symptoms of its emergence
may be seen in India today.  It was an
apt subject to honour the memory of Pushp Bhargava, scientist extraodinaire,
who sought to see science as a means of exploring and understanding nature and
not violently conquering it.  Bhargava
was the chairperson of the Sambhavana Trust that runs Bhopal’s most important
and perhaps the only genuinely functioning clinic for the survivors of the
world’s worst industrial disaster of 1984.Apporvanand, who is a teacher, thinker and activist, began his
lecture elaborating Theodor Adorno’s assertion that there is a great need for
vigilance in tracking these  tendencies
that in time lead to an Aushwitz early enough to quench them, he outlined an
argument that education and enlightenment might stem them, but may not
eliminate them altogether.  Focusing on
genocidal violence, Apoorvanand illustrated its persistence through history
with many events in history.  How do we
prevent it from ever happening?

Can India ever be in danger of experiencing an Aushwitz? Apoorvanand
pointed to the wide spread, in geography, scale and time of targeted violence
against a community---Jabalpur, Bhagalpur, and so on to Gujarat.  These are dismissed as isolated events, with
no basis for comparison.  But there is
something that links them---all are targeted against one community with no
reason other than to brutally eliminate them. He cited Jairus Banaji  as  identifying the phenomenon as  the ‘seriality of violence’. These apparently
isolated episodes of violence, often dismissed as mere law and order problems
are in fact a different form of an emerging Aushwitz and they have the
advantage of flying below the radar.  It
is these that one must be vary of.  Further
it is difficult to mobilise people against these; no museums that afford a
reviewing and an understanding of the true significance of an Aushwitz or of
the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, can ever be created of these scattered

We should remember, said Apoorvanand,  that the Jews would only speak of the
atrocities unleashed on them only after the passing of Hitler.  So today in India a silence reigns among the
subject community.  This in turn gives
rise to a transforming of the victim---the perpetrators are to be sympathised
for after all they would not have unleashed such violence had there not been a
severe provocation.  And so the perpetrator
turns victim.  The danger of a series of
small episodes of violent becoming a new and a frighteningly different Aushwitz
in India is very real, he asserted. We must resist these attempts to destroy
the very basis of the idea of India.

The talk was followed by a lively Q and A session that indeed made
it clear that his cautions were well heard. It seemed incongruous to come to
the full realisation of the simmering violence that is being fanned in India in
the gentle and lovely ambience of the Vidyaranya High School grounds.  The event was organised by Manthan of
Hyderabad that  has made a name among the
city’s public and intellectual life by bringing to its platform thinkers,
philosphers, activists and others.  Manthan
and Sambhavana Trust will soon publish a complete videorecording of the talk on
their websites.


Source: Iris Knowledge Foundation

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Posted on : Aug 04, 2018