National Webinar on “A Call for Civilizational Change in the Hour of Covid -19 Crisis” organized by Department of Philosophy, M.L.Sukhadia University

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12 May, 21 05:00
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The World will have to Choose Between Nationalist Alienation and Global Solidarity to Meet COVID 19 like Crises

National Webinar on “A Call for Civilizational Change in the Hour of Covid -19 Crisis” organized by Department of Philosophy, M.L.Sukhadia University

Udaipur: The pandemic COVID-19 has presented a civilizational dilemma before humanity. In the face of increasing nationalist tendencies the world over including the narrow nationalism practiced by the BJP led NDA government since 2014, the world today is face to face with a dilemma. COVID – 19 has put a challenge before these nationalist tendencies and has proved that a genuine global solidarity between nations alone can enable humanity to face such pandemics in the future also. Narrow nationalism can only make countries with less resources feel destitute in such crises. This COVID -19 has also given rise to certain questions about the efficacy of institutions like religion, caste, state , political parties and parliaments and indicated at a need to rethink about their role in meeting such crisis. The helplessness of common men has been caused by systemic failure as well as the failure of these institutions. All these ideas emerged in a national webinar held on 5th May ,2021 organized by the department of Philosophy, M.L.Sukhadia University, Udaipur. The Webinar was inaugurated by Prof. Amerika Singh, Vice Chancellor of Mohan Lal Sukhadia University. Prof. Sudha Chaudhary, Head, Department of Philosophy and convenor of the webinar introduced the guest speakers and laid down the topic for discussion. She said that COVID 19 has presented before mankind an existential crisis. The global span of its spread has subdued national identities and brought together all people of the world. However, some leaders of the governments are busy consolidating their political positions instead of using all their resources to help people. This has given rise to a need of rethinking our civilization and its evolution. Addressing the webinar Prof. Ambika Datt Sharma, Professor of Philosophy at Hari Singh Gaur Central University maintained that the division of the streams of knowledge in various specializations has created a situation of Catch-22 in which nobody is able to talk about this situation authentically. He expressed his fears of the increasing Virtualization of world and life and said that the future could be more nightmarish. He feared that the future could see greater clashes between nations in the form of unconventional wars. He stated that Modernity has made this crisis more severe though, he clarified that, this disease is not a product of modernity. He maintained that Gandhian model could be explored as an alternative development model to save humanity from such crises. Prof. R.K.Deshwal, Professor of Philosophy at Kurukshetra University, Haryana talked about various streams of Philosophy and explained the practices of Yoga which could be helpful in facing Corona. He said that meditation and Aasans of various types can help in mitigating the pain of the disease. Prof. Alok Tandon, eminent Philosopher from Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh spoke at length about the socioeconomic dimensions of the topic and advocated the socialist model of political economy to face such challenges in future. He maintained that the crisis became more severe because of the failure of the states to assess its nature in time. Also, the crisis was caused by the systemic failure. In India it was worsened by the lack of modern and rational approach in the ruling party particularly, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister who kept holding massive rallies and permitted Kumbh gathering to fulfill their political agenda. He said that nations should plan to provide universal education, health facilities and ensure minimum income for the lower income groups if such a crisis is to be met effectively. He said that modernity has given a scientific and rational outlook to humanity. Only such an outlook can help us understand such medical emergency. The political and religious leadership should refrain from spreading superstitious propaganda about cure of such diseases as it confuses people. He said that the capitalist model of economic development which has given rise to a huge dependence on private sector in health and education sector is responsible for profiteering and corruption even in this crisis. Participating in the discussion Prof. Hemendra Chandalia, Professor of English at Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidyapeeth paid a tribute to the people who had died due to COVID19 and stated that more than 3.22 million people have died and about 154 million people have got infected in the world from this disease. He described this disease as the nature’s wake up call against consumerism and global ecological imbalance. He maintained that Neo-liberalism is the cannibalization of human society. We started from an age defined as “Barbaric” age but this COVID 19 has shown that barbaric tendencies in human society have remained despite centuries of civilization. He raised the questions about economic development vis-avis civilizational development. He questioned the efficacy of institutions like caste, religion and God in meeting COVID 19 crisis. He asked where are GOD, religion and caste today? Why can they not come with a solution to relieve humanity of this pandemic? He talked of power centers and their relationships which have grown during evolution of civilization.He stated that the major problem is that of distribution while capitalism focuses only on issue of production and consumption. He referred to US spending on defense which is about 721.5 billion dollars. He questioned what is the need of so much of spending on weapons of destruction. India also spends 1.63 % of the budget on defense and this year there is a rise of 19% on defense spending in Indian budget. He pleaded for a rethinking on these and demanded an equitable distribution of power and resources for a balanced development of the world. The webinar ended with a vote of thanks by Prof. Sudha Chaudhary. Nearly ninety participants were present on the virtual platform from across the country.

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