Divyadaan Participates in the Philosophers Meet in Gauhati
Cls. Lawrance Vincent & Prasanna Kumar
Guwahati, 24th-27th October, 2017: The Salesian Philosophers (comprising of three professors and seven M.Ph. students) of Divyadaan, Nashik participated in the 42nd annual research seminar of the Association of Christian Philosophers of India (ACPI) from 24th-27th October, 2017. It was held at the provincial house of the Fransalian priests’ northeast province in Guwahati, Assam. Around 90 philosophers around the country participated and engaged in this intellectual exercise which was centered on the theme – ‘Indian Hermenutics of Suspicion.’
The Chief Guest for the same was Bp. John Moolachira, the Archbishop of Guwahati. He asserted the requirement for thinkers to impart positive and constructive critique for the common good of all. Professor Ram Puniyani presented the Keynote Address and he set the tone for the seminar by suspiciously viewing the works of the powerful as an indication of threat to the longstanding culture of pluralism and diversity. Followed by this Twenty-Three researched papers were presented depicting various philosophies and philosophers in line with the theme. The members who presented the papers laid emphasis on religious fundamentalism, freedom of expression, religious pluralism and suspicion on oneself. They gave the guidelines as to how the dictations of religion, law, media and politics need to be critically analysed.
Among the Divyadaan representatives, Frs. Ashley Miranda and Wyman Gonsalves presented their papers on ‘Hermeneutics of Suspicion as a tool for transformation of Society’ and ‘Sacred India Losing the Sense of Sacredness’ respectively. The former stressed that the hermeneutics of suspicion should be carried out in a culture of trust to bring about transformation in the society. The latter concentrated on the philosophy of Enoughness according to Vandana Shiva (a social activist) which will create a culture of caring, sharing and peace.
Fr. Banzelao Texiera (the Principal of Divyadaan) headed the committee that formulated the statement for the ACPI, which incorporated with the thoughts and insights that emerged in the papers and discussions. The M.Ph. students organized an informal and creative session for the participants to have the knowledge of each other’s role in their respective settings. They also actively participated in the students debate organized on the last day of the seminar. It brought forth their insights and rhetorical skills to limelight.
At the conclusion of the seminar the members of ACPI resolved to follow the examples of B. R. Ambedkar, Periyar E. V. Ramaswamy, Narayana Guru, Pandiat Ramabai and other such Indian “masters of suspicion”, who critiqued texts, beliefs, practices, traditions and ideologies that perpetuated ignorance, fear, division, violence and marginalization of the poor. Fr. Keith D’Souza, the President of ACPI emphasized that the conferences such as these will help to promote an enlightened collective consciousness which will prevent regression of the targeted communities in the society.
The Divyadaan students benefitted a lot from this seminar as it gave them a taste of an intellectual discussion at a national level. Added to this, it broadened their outlook towards society and most importantly, it trained them to be suspicious about the happenings in the society with a constructive purpose.