A New Passage to India:From Wurzburg,Germany
Yesterday evening (1st July 2011), the Auditorium Maximum ,University of Wurzburg ,Germany witnessed two major events connected to exploring new passages between Germany and India.One was the inauguration of Euro-Indian Week,July1-8 ,and another was ,opening ceremony of Wurzburg Centre for Modern India.The Alumni-Office of the University of Wurzburg organised the Euro-Indian Week and Chair of Indology ,University of Wurzburg played the key position in the establishment of ‘Wurzburg Centre for Modern India’.
The guests were representative -heads of various partner institutions of these programmes ,viz.University of Wurzburg,City of Wurzburg,Consulate of India in Munich,German Academic Exchange Service(DAAD),European Parliament and Bavarian-Indian Centre,Munich(Baylnd).Welcome and introduction by Jurgen Lehmann,Vice-President of the University of Wurzburg,Speeches by Anup K.Mudgal,Consul General of the Republic of India at Munich,Georg Rosenthal,Mayor of the city of Wurzburg, Anja Weisgerber,Member of the European Parliament ,Klaus Birk,Director Asia-Pacific,German Academic Exchange Service(DAAD).Everybody mentioned the importance of INDIA as a strong democratic nation in the world and its development in the fields of science,technology and culture ,and also its gaining momentum in the frontyard of economy.They made a specific reference to the eagerness of European Union to have more collaborations with modern India.Anja Weisgerber ,as a Member of Parliament representing EU-India relations , stressed and identified the strengths of present day India.Anup Mudgal,the Consul General of India highlighted the strong democratic impulses inherent in the people of India and mentioned how developments in India are linked with democracy.
The Alumni office of the University of Wurzburg,offers its services to current and former students and employees from all over the world with a wide range of events and projects.The Euro-Indian Week,July1-8,is one such good practice ,which brought together about 25 scholars from different parts of the world,who visited and worked in this University in previous years.Some Indian academicians were among them,who are participating in this reunion.One such member of Alumni from Karnataka,India,who had accepted to join this group ,was Lingadevaru Halemane ,who was holding the position of Director of Rangayana,a theatre repertory at Mysore.The sad demise of Halemane about three weeks back was mourned in the public meeting yesterday in the speech of Prof.Heidrun Bruckner.
Euro-India week ,July 1-8,has many interesting academic programmes .Workshop on ‘Governance:Universal Challenges,Local Solutions’ ,lectures and presentations on ‘Apollo meets Buddha.The Gandhara-Culture in Northwest India and Afghanistan’,’Europe and India-Historical and Contemporary Perceptions’,’Round table:Dialogue of Religions-Hinduism ,Christianity and Islam’,’The Activities of the Bavarian-Indian Centre BayInd’,’Religious symbols in German schools-Legal and cultural issues’,’The world financial crisis-opportunities and challenges’,’EU and India:Towards a strong partnership?’,’Taurus and Elephant -different culture,joint action?’,’Intercultural training :’Do’s and Dont’s’,’The use of Information systems-a conflict of culture?’
‘Wurzburg Centre for Modern India’ is the new initiative of DAAD with a slogan, ‘More Academic Exchange between India and Germany’.This is the concept behind the “A New Passage to India” package.In 2010,the University of Wurzburg has been granted funding by the DAAD( German Academic Exchange Service) to enhance the India-competence of its students and scientists.* A scholarship programme enabling Wurzburg students of all faculties to go to India for study and research.* The interdisciplinary initiative ‘Wurzburg Centre for Modern India’ at the University of Wurzburg , promoting inter-and transdisciplinary structures with a focus on Modern Indian Studies.The grants allow the invitation of Indian scholars as Guest-Professors for teaching,workshops and conferences.The first Guest-Professor under this scheme ‘A New Passage to India’ invited is B.A.Viveka Rai (me)from Mangalore,Karnataka. This pioneering assignment commenced in October 2010.This is the first full-time Guest-Professorship of a tenure of two years(2010-2012) for an Indian scholar. Under short term invitation,Dr.M.D.MuthukumaraSwamy ,Director ,National Folklore Supporting Centre,Chennai visited this University and delivered lectures on different facets of Indian Folklore.Prof.Heidrun Bruckner of the Chair of Indology ,along with Viveka Rai and Muthukumaraswamy organised a gender workshop on “Gender and Beyond -New Perspectives on Gender and Transgender in South Asia”(4 Feb ,2011).
Chair of Indology is at key position in the establishment and extension of ‘Wurzburg Centre of Modern India’.The rapidly growing economic force of India requires not only economic and political activities ; of equal importance are in-depth studies of Indian culture and society in the present and past.The existing cooperative network between the Chair of Indology and the Institute for Political Science and Social research,as well as the Institute of Business management provides the basis for further interdisciplinary endeavours at the University of Wurzburg.In addition to these institutes ,Institute of Musicology ,Faculty of law and the interfaculty teaching project’Global systems and Intercultural Competence’ are now initiated under this scheme.Three Professors from JNU,Delhi are now in the University of Wurzburg for a short period of six weeks, under ‘A New passage to India’:Janaki Nair(History),Amitabh Kundu(Economics,Regional Development)and Valerian Rodrigues (Political Science).
Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) of Wurzburg University with Indian Universities /Research Institutions ,as as well as long-standing individual collaboration with Indian scholars /scientists provide a solid basis for connecting the ‘Wurzburg Centre for Modern India’ with actual developments in Indian research and facilitate joint research projects.The invitation of guest faculty aims at an enhanced value in teaching and syllabus for all partners involved.So far 4 Indian Universities have signed MOU with University of Wurzburg-Kannada University,Hampi and Mangalore University, both from Karnataka; JNU Delhi and University of Hyderabad .Apart from these there are also some reputed research centres of India collaborating.Last year ,some German students utilised this provision for their Masters thesis/Phd programmes :Benjamin Hahn,Sarah Merkle, Lea Griebel and Julia Helmerich to Karnataka (except Julia ,the rest also visited NFSC,Chennai) and Lisa-Marie Reuter ,Franziska Froehlich to North India.
In the opening ceremony yesterday,Prof.Heidrun Bruckner ,Chair of Indology explained the genesis,structure ,functions and initiatives of ‘ Wurzburg Centre of Modern India’.Really Prof.Bruckner is the ‘mother’of this Centre. With her love for and association with India for about 40 years,she coordinated with the University of Wurzburg administration and DAAD at one end ,and Indian scholars and institutions on the other.Barbara Lotz ,Professor of Hindi ,Department of Indology,who lived in India for about 15 years is a binding force and also co-ordinator of this Centre,who anchored the program yesterday with grace and pace.
Two Indian girls who are pursuing their research in the University of Wurzburg,Reenaben Rathod and Priyadarshini Panjwani raised the curtain of the ceremony by their impressive Indian classical dance.Dr.Aruna Bhat ,a dentist from Karnataka,living in Wurzburg with her Engineer husband Adarsh Kanchana,transcended the audience with her melodious songs.She sang three songs of three role-models of India-Tagore,Gandhi and Kuvempu,a great poet of Kannada.Rabindra Sangith,Bhajans of Mahatma Gandhi and the poem ‘Oh Peacock ,dance’of Kuvempu, are the real icons of ‘Universalisation’,the concept which can be an alternative for ‘Globalisation’.