‘Ecological civilisation, only way to prevent annihilation of life’

Experts air their views at seminar organised by MAHE Gandhian Centre of Philosophical Arts and Sciences

Ecological civilisation based on harmony between humans and nature was the only way forward if life on earth needs to be better and prevent its annihilation, was the essence that emerged at the two-day international conference on ‘Ecosophy, Art and Peace’, organised by Gandhian Centre for Philosophical Arts and Sciences, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, recently.

The two days witnessed four special addresses, 45 paper presentations, a discussion on the contemporary issues and future alternatives. The sub-themes included ecological challenges, socio-economic issues, literature, cinema, gender studies, philosophy, and individual to international peace.

In his inaugural address, MAHE Vice-Chancellor M.D. Venkatesh said problems could be categorised as individual, socio-economic, and ecological, which need to be addressed. The academic programmes being initiated by MAHE were in tune with this broader vision.

In his keynote address, UNESCO Peace Chair M.D. Nalapat said the essence of Indian civilisation was “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam” (The world is one family). Gandhian notion of “appropriate means” needs to be the cardinal philosophy in every walk of life, in international relations, so also in the time of pandemic, he added.

In his session on “Possibilities of International Peace: A Gandhian Approach”, journalist Sudheendra Kulkarni maintained that the only option for industrial civilisation was ecological civilisation. Different sources of violence need to be addressed by Gandhian values of non-violence, love and compassion, he said.

Writer Manu Chakravarthy argued for a shift from anthropocentric world-view to a more nature-centric world-view, a kind of harmony between humankind and nature, for a better world in the session on “The Cosmos and Human Consciousness: Metaphysical Explorations through Cinema.” He demonstrated this with examples from films of Kubrick, Tarkovsky and Kurosawa.

In her session on “Tagore and Environment: Philosophy and Praxis”, Bashabi Fraser, Director, Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies, Edinburgh Napier University, said Tagore was inclined to an ecological civilisation as represented in his notion of a forest university and Shantiniketan. Nature never betrays those who love her, she said.

MAHE Executive Vice-President Vinod Bhat, in his valedictory address, said research and publication need to define any university which hold the key for crisis and conflict resolution.

Gandhian Centre Director Varadesh Hiregange maintained that art could be a medium for peace and ecosophical exploration and expression.

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