International Conference on Indian Knowledge Systems: Issues, Strategies, and a Way Forward

Chanakya University’s three-day conference on Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS): Issues, Strategies, and Way Forward was held on 16 March 2023, at Yuva Patha in Bengaluru.

The rigorous deliberations over the three days of the conference witnessed the emergence of the extensive and intensive pool of Indian knowledge systems; whilst providing direction for the participants to further the exploration of our Indian wisdom.

The inaugural session was addressed by Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, NAAC and presided by Prof. Yashavantha Dongre, Vice-Chancellor, Chanakya University. In total there were six technical sessions and three plenary sessions.

Prof. Ghanti Suryanarayana Murthy, Director-IKS, GOI pointed out the need to cultivate pramaan over parinaam (Evidence over Outcome).

The session on Modern Education and Indian Knowledge System, spread across first two days deliberated upon different tools and mechanisms of applying tropes of Indian knowledge in classroom for better learning and communication strategies.

The paper on Aurobindo’s school of thought quite skillfully talked of strategies required to bring-in effectively the approach of NEP 2020. The paper on Colonial Consciousness talked about the challenges that our academia is facing in understanding the texts given the prevalent and dominant western episteme of interpreting texts.

The paper on Game design not only presented the challenges the Indian academia is facing but also exemplified the strategy of overcoming it through a game designed using Meru Prasthana and presented how the game can be used to make students learn Indian culture, mathematics and facilitate creative thinking.

Other papers highlighted the role of dharmic approach in science saying that human quest for wisdom is ignored in the realm of modern-day science. The contrast between modern-day notions of quality, pedagogy and IKS approach to the same can bring change in the prevalent education practices and at the same time fulfil the sustainable development goals. In this respect the relevance of Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam to modern education and science, and application of Mānyatā – Rāmāyaṇam based Dharmic Framework for Contemporary Value Education was also talked about. A roadmap was also presented to chart out the possibility of moving back to civilizational consciousness.

The session themed on Action Research Developmental Projects and Technology and IKS quite adeptly demonstrated the use of Indian knowledge in enhancing farm productivity and cognition among patients with brain disorders. The paper on bringing ancient astronomical wisdom to the modern world highlighted the need to incorporate Science in Art. Metallurgical concepts from ancient Sanskrit text like Agasthiya were elaborated. To understand the relevance of IKS for wellness, the examples from ‘Trikatu’ were taken, Rasapanchaka theory was applied and its ability to cure various health issues was appropriated.

Dr. Mala Kapadia (Professor, Research for Resurgence Foundation) elucidated very well the connectedness of Dharma with the well-being of human beings and thus of humankind. She encouraged the thought of introducing the concept of svasthavṛtta in school and college curricula. Dr. Vinaychandra Banavathy (Director – IKS, Chanakya University) spoke about according encouraging the contributions of Indian Psychology to IKS.

The session on governance and IKS; and sustainable goals and IKS, underlined the importance of Dharma in managing state affairs and mentioned ways in which Indian texts and scriptures can offer vision and wisdom for translating governance for social and cultural well-being.