The Centre organized the following lecture-programs during the period under review. The purpose of this lecture series is to facilitate dialogue among people from diverse academic disciplines and professions, and to help create an atmosphere at the Centre conducive for creative and critical interventions on topics of contemporary relevance.
Suchi Vyas, a renowned psychologist, counselor for drug addicted patients in
and author of fiction and non-fiction inspired by her experiences gave a talk on "Dialoguing with My Clients" and read from her stories on October 3, 2010. Suchi Vyas spent her early years in the Sabarmati Ashram where her parents lived as Gandhiji's followers. Her father, Shree Chaganbhai Joshi participated in the Dandi Salt March. Suchi’s reading from her book, Suchi Kahe, tinted with dark humor, helped the audience fathom the depth of insights gained from interacting with people who have toured the dark alleys of existence such as crime, substance abuse and prostitution. The persons in her therapy sessions took shape before the mind’s eye of the audience and their traumatic histories unfolded. Suffering, pain and death were frequent episodes in those lives and many asked Suchi: “How do you bear to witness such suffering and how do you handle the futility of the attempt to heal irreparable lives?” She observed that her greatest blessing is that she still has intense sensitivity and has not been hardened into an imperturbable, cold and callous therapist. That’s why the patients relate to her, talk to her freely and she is able to contribute in alleviating the suffering of many. The reading was in Gujarati and the discussion shuttled between English and Gujarati. Philadelphia, USA
Lakshmi Bandlamudi, Professor of Psychology at
, LaGuardia Community College
City University of New York talked on her recently published work, Dialogics of Self, the Mahabharata and Culture: The History of Understanding and Understanding History on 30 November 2010. She was in
on a Fulbright-Nehru Research Award. Her research and teaching interests are focused on the area of human development, with a special emphasis on dialogic consciousness. She is also the author of a travelogue entitled Movements with the Cosmic Dancer: On Pilgrimage to Kailash (with a foreword by H. H. The Dalai Lama). The interpretation of Mahabharata in her lecture was grounded on the theoretical foundations of two Russian thinkers: the literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin and socio-historical epistemologist Lev Vygotsky. Her discussion explored interrelationships between individual and cultural historical dynamics in interpreting texts, using key concepts from Bakhtin’s theory of dialogics. She offered an authoritative critique on the Mahabharata and interpretations at every turn. Using a technique that takes insights from contemporary Indians’ perceptions on a television version of this ancient masterpiece, she reflected on fascinating transactions between life and literary text. She presented dialogic readings of the Mahabharata through the scholars of ancient India Indiaand modern Europe, from Bhartrhari to Bakhtin, from Kalidasa to Heidegger. Her insightful interpretations of the ancient text were indeed an expedition of a terrain of epical magnitude and interdisciplinary.
The Centre invited the eminent Gujarati author, playwright, fiction writer and columnist Madhu Rye to "An evening with the Author" on December 29, 2010. Bini B.S. gave an outline of the activities of the Centre and welcomed the author and the participants. Sitanshu Yashaschandra introduced the author and pointed out how the creative use of language in Madhu Rye's fiction and plays opened up an unconstraining space for the readers and the audience, providing a scope for them to participate freely and productively in an interpretation of their meaning. In so far as General Semantics enables us to use language in a similar way, a live encounter with Madhu Rye's literary works would enhance the Centre's engagement with the city, he said. Madhu Rye read out a recently published short story from his well-known “Hariyo” series. He then engaged the audience in a lively session of dialogue, answering questions and opening up new areas of mutuality. A large number of students and teachers from different Departments and Faculties of M.S.University of Baroda as well as a multi-lingual cross-section of the local community participated actively in this lively conversation. Questions concerning aspects of human psychology and the use of language in interpersonal situations were raised by some students and the author was joined by other members of the audience in answering them. It was felt that the collective and participatory spirit generated during this meet, bringing out a sense of conversation involving the community rather than a "talk" by a speaker, should be extended to future events of "An Evening with . . ." kind at the Centre