February 16, New Delhi: ‘India at 70: LSE India Summit’, the annual flagship summit of the London School of Economics and Political Science’s South Asia Centre, commemorating seventy years of India’s independence, will be held between 29th -31st March 2017, at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
The summit will debate issues central to India’s way forward as a dominating South Asian power in the 21st century. An important session titled ‘Do We Need a New Constitution for India?’ will discuss citizenship in contemporary India, and will be part of the programme on 30th March (between 1-3 pm).
The Constitution of India, the world’s longest written document belonging to a sovereign country, is the supreme law of the nation and the bedrock of our identity. It guarantees every Indian justice and equality in all spheres of life.
The Indian Constitution lays down the basic and fundamental laws of the land, and is a product of intense scholarship and research envisaged by the founders of our nation who debated upon its contents for 2 years 11 months and 18 days. Dr B R Ambedkar, and LSE alumnus, was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the Constitution of India, which was first introduced in 1950, and has since evolved and adapted to emerging issues through more than 100 amendments till date.
Even though India’s Constitution is the longest written one in the world, there is a view that this in itself makes it unwieldy, largely unreadable, and perhaps unread. The Constitution, some argue, vests the government with overwhelming powers, which, though may have been suitable in the early years of independent India, may be outdated and discriminatory and not cohesive to the Indian “identity” in the current context. Moreover, parts of the Constitution were taken from Britain and elsewhere; it is important to remember some of those very laws have since changed in countries of their origin but are still to do so in India.
So do we need a new Constitution or a complete overhaul of the one we have? The LSE India Summit session will debate the career of the Constitution over the last 70 years, amidst the changing ideas of citizenship and patriotism, examining the text that guarantees equality to all Indians.
The other part of the session’s theme is even more complex – India’s population continues to rise at alarming levels and yet new measures to combat and increase awareness towards planned parenthood seem to be largely ineffective. Our citizenry is galloping rapidly towards an overwhelming two-billion mark while we watch with concern and perhaps ambivalence.
How does one curb the country’s growth as an open and liberal space, a fulcrum of inclusiveness and progress, specially at a time when it is crucial to welcome those who have been displaced and marginalised?
The panel led by Dr Mukulika Banerjee of LSE will have experts such as prominent political and economic commentator S Gurumurthy, Madhav Khosla of Columbia University, Niraja Gopal Jayal of JNU, prominent lawyer Pinky Anand, and sociologist, legal researcher and Director of Council for Social Development Kalpana Kannabiran.
‘India at 70’ is part of the India-UK Year of Culture 2017, announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015.
Experts at the summit include J A (Tony) Allan, Rahul Bajaj, Mukulika Banerjee, Harry Barkema, Amita Baviskar, S Gurumurthy, Suhasini Haidar, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Kalpana Kannabiran, Onkar S Kanwar, Madhav Khosla, Marcus Moench, Meera Shankar, Mukund Rajan, Kanwal Sibal, Pinky Anand, and Ashley Tellis.
· A special exhibition marking the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 in association with The Partition Museum in Amritsar
· a ‘Master Class’ on Quantitative Data and Analysis by Ashwini Deshpande (Professor, Delhi School of Economics)
· a lecture by Mick Cox, chaired by Ramachandra Guha on LSE’s historic relationship with India, going back more than 100 years
29-31 March 2017, The Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003.
Free pre-registration (beginning 23 January 2017) is required.
ABOUT LSE INDIA SUMMIT
The LSE INDIA SUMMIT is held annually in a different Indian city every year. The distinctive features of the Summit are:
1. It is the only such event hosted by an internationally-reputed university in India, focusing on India.
2. It is a public event, open to all, and free of charge.
3. A minimum of one hour is dedicated to giving the audience the chance to question experts
4. The Summits are always in association with local philanthropists who share our belief in debate and dialogue.
5. The first LSE INDIA SUMMIT was held in Goa in January 2016, with discussions on Global Finance, India’s Infrastructures, Civil Society and India & West Asia – and panelists included Sam Pitroda, Siddharth Varadarajan, Yogendra Yadav, Talmiz Ahmed, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Lisa Bjorkman, Partha Mukhopadhyay, C Uday Bhaskar, James Crabtree, Nasser Munjee, Shubhrangshu Choudhary, and grassroots activist-journalist Meera Devi Jatav from Khabar Lahariya.
6. Working papers (of each panel discussion), podcasts, special and exclusive interviews and conversations are available on the website of the South Asia Centre to ensure that the proceedings are accessible to everyone across the world, free of charge.
The South Asia Centre (www.lse.ac.uk/southAsia) was set up in 2015 at LSE; the Centre harnesses LSE’s world-class inter- and multi-disciplinary expertise to underwrite the School’s fundamental mission of impacting public awareness through informed knowledge. All activities of the Centre focus on public engagement and impact, capacity and skills development, and the creation of a global platform to engage with South Asia – whose particularities constantly challenge conventional social science thinking about the region.
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