Thursday, January 21, 2010

A book launch, a lecture and a seminar

New Delhi is in the grip of an academic fever, despite the unprecedented fog in recent years. Only yesterday, I attended a huge gathering, (with the Conference room literally overflowing with the listeners) at the India International Centre to witness the launch of Rajeev Bhargava's two books, What is Political Theory & Why do we need it? and The Promise of India's Secular Democracy (OUP). Listening to six speakers, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Nivedita Menon, Christophe Jaffrelot, Yogendra Yadav, Achin Vanaik, and Rajeev Bhargava himself on the occasion was a feast, even if one hasn't yet found the time to read the books.

On January 23, the Campus Law Centre is organising a lecture by Raju Ramachandran on....what else?: "Is the Basic Structure Doctrine counter-majoritarian?" at 11 a.m. at the Seminar Hall. This is the first of a series of talks CLC is organising to mark 60 years of the Indian Constitution.

Many believe that campaigns for democratic rights such as RTI, education, food and NREGA would have come to a naught without the media’s support. But a consistent charge is that the media ignore issues of rural poverty because they are ‘down-market’ and ‘non-sexy’, to use media’s own lingo. Is there truth in these charges? Can something be done to make these issues ‘sexy’?

The Foundation for Media Professionals (FMP) is bringing together some of India’s best known media professionals and development thinkers to discuss this on Monday, January 25, from 10.30 am to 1 pm at the main auditorium of the India International Centre, New Delhi. The panelists are:

Mr. Vinod Mehta, (Editor in Chief, Outlook)
Dr. C P Joshi (Union Minister for Rural Development)
Mr. Arindam Sengupta (Executive Editor, The Times of India)
Ms. Aruna Roy (Magsaysay award-winning RTI pioneer)
Mr Harivansh (Chief Editor, Prabhat Khabar)
Ms Sunita Narain (Director Centre for Science and Environment)
Mr Jean Dreze (Economist)

The discussion will be moderated by FMP’s Vipul Mudgal. And it will be followed by lunch.
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