Panjab University celebrated its 130th Founders Day at its campus in Chandigarh on Saturday afternoon.
The chief guest on the occasion,Romila Thapar,a historian and PU alumna,delivered a public lecture on the Interpretation of Early Indian History.
She focused her talk on the incarnations that Indian history has gone through over the years,contoured as it has been by two substantial views of the past – the colonial representation of Indian society and the European perception of it. She ended her lecture by cautioning that,when we invoke the past,we need to ask what are we invoking and why.
Professor R P Bambah,former Vice Chancellor of Panjab University presided over the lecture and in his address complimented the university authorities on instituting the practice of an Annual Foundation Day lecture,starting this year.
A heritage exhibition was also organised at the law auditorium by the Department of Fine Arts and Communication Studies. It included photographs,record documents,sketches of buildings and other artifacts.
Post-lunch,a panel discussion was held on the Panjab University Vision 2020 Document moderated by Professor Bambah. The Vice Chancellor,professor A K Grover,referring to a story in the Indian Express,published on October 18,mentioned that none of the Indian Institutes are among the top 200 in the world.
However,according to parameters suggested by the author of the story,PU has all the required infrastructure to reach such a stage,and concerted efforts to build up on these strengths is required.
The panelists were all PU alumni drawn from different disciplines. Dr B S Brar,professor of Political Science and former Dean,University Instruction,focused on giving social sciences their due,particularly in light of the fact that globalization and new economic policies,regionalization of politics,urbanization and an expanding vocal middle class had necessitated such a primacy.
Dr R K Kohli,professor of Botany and Dean,University Instruction,focused his viewpoint on the biological sciences as a thrust area. He stressed upon the need for cultivating creative instincts and a scientific temperament and called for a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach and the inception of scholarships to attract students to the science stream.
Dr G Munjal,CEO and MD,Ind-Swift Limited,enjoined the gathering to work together to take the university to the top 200 league in the world. According to him this goal required the establishment of innovation centers,greater industry-academia interaction,skill enhancement projects,attraction and retention of talented faculty and a reaffirmation of the missionary role that the university should play.
Dr Jaspal Kaur Kaang,Professor and Chairperson,Department of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies and former president of PUTA,made a passionate plea for due respect to be accorded to Punjabi language and culture,while Dr M M Gupta,professor of physics and former co-ordinator,Centre of Advanced Study in Physics,spoke of having a formal Post Doctoral programme and fellowships on the lines of those offered by foreign universities.
Dr. Satpal Singh,Professor,School of Medicine and Bio Medical Sciences,State University of New York,Buffalo,U.S.A. spoke of the intersection of science,religion and philosophy.
Members from the audience too put in their viewpoints ranging from the need to have a cordial work environment,a clean and green campus,residential accommodation,greater student-faculty interaction,and a greater say to students in the functioning of the University.
A cultural program with a mix of classical and folk music and folk dances rounded off the Panjab University Foundation Day celebrations.
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