MONICA DAS’s ASSOCIATION WITH MATTERS RELATED TO FM SENAPATI (Odisha Specific):
SOME INFO CONCERNING Dr. MONICA DAS’s ASSOCIATION WITH ODISHA:
ONGOING AND FORTHCOMING ACTIVITIES OF FMF:
Promoting ‘Manav Dharma’ (The religion of humanism) figures majorly in FMF’s agenda. We have already put in our appeal to the post & telegraphs department Government of India for bringing out a stamp on Manav Dharma with Fakir Mohan’s picture and name. This is under process & would need your patronage for it to happen. We have a logo prepared on the theme and we would be treating it as our event logo hereafter for all our events, besides using the main FMF logo.
The foundation proposes to carry out its work under three categories or wings of FMF, viz Language & Culture, Socio-Economic Development and Education for Empowerment. The issue of language is uppermost on the FMF agenda.
I. Language, Culture & Heritage
Propagation of the Odiya language through ‘Make Books Your Best Friends’ and other Programmes:
The foundation believes that once the basics of existence are taken care of rest falls into place and among the basics are language, culture and heritage & environment. The Fakir Mohan Foundation (FMF) has various things as its mission, but the language issue is uppermost on its agenda especially in the context of Odisha. In order to understand and connect to one’s roots and heritage it is imperative to understand one’s mother tongue. The use of English and Hindi have to be there due to many reasons other than reasons which are market driven, but to nourish the inner core of humans, promoting the use of regional languages is important and seems to be the call of the day. Incidentally statistics says globally one language dies every fifteen days.
In view of the dying use of the regional language amongst the younger generation in particular, FMF wishes to launch a movement to encourage children to take more interest in the Odiya language- their mother tongue. Quiz competitions will be designed and other games around the Odiya language will be organized with special focus on Vyasa Kavi Fakir Mohan Senapati’s literary works. The idea is to familiarize children with the richness that exists in our literature, culture & heritage. Knowledge about Odisha also would also be woven around the quiz programmes in the proposed design. In order to motivate children prizes would be awarded. Free counseling will be provided regarding how the youth can nurture/cultivate their interest in so far as language, literature & culture etc are concerned.
This program/ movement will cover many places/schools pan Odisha. The resource persons would be drawn from various prestigious organizations like NCERT, Delhi university, Jamia Millia and many other renowned organizations of Odisha and Delhi. ‘Siddhi Organization of Bhubaneswar, Odisha’ which is doing commendable job and is also into research and surveys concerning the use of language and general literacy will be joining hands with us in doing the needful regarding the language issue.In due course we are hopeful that many helping hands from the civil society would be forth coming to promote this endeavour and in due course of time further momentum would be gathered. This could probably be a flagship movement for other regions of India to follow or it could just add value to similar programs that might be existing at other places.
The Human Development Ministry has in its pipeline the library scheme to reach most villages of India. FMF is seeking association with this movement and extend its reach to the elderly and the unemployed. FMF would also like to launch a Pustkalay Andolan in collaboration with various other NGOs. This movement will be titled ‘Make Books Your Best Friends’. So far as the use of the regional language Odiya is concerned studies conducted by a premier organization ACER reveal that only 34% are into the use of the regional language. So, promoting the language is rather imperative.
We are also pursuing with National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT) to include in their syllabus the writings of Fakir Mohan Senapati. We have applied to the head of the organization to this effect. We also plan holding book reading sessions in future on Fakir Mohan’s novels and short stories. We have spoken to Penguin and Harper Collins for the purpose and they have evinced interest in the matter.
Culture & heritage
Under this wing we plan to revive the dying arts and bring about awareness among the youth regarding their culture and heritage. Under this we plan to mobilize retired professors and committed researches from India and abroad to deliver lectures in schools and colleges on a voluntary basis.
American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) has agreed to route through Fakir Mohan Foundation (FMF) serious researchers from USA and other places, who are desirous of working on themes concerning Odisha, its culture and heritage and development.
* The AIIS features in the pages of our souvenir.
Workshops on Manav Dharam
The envisaged Workshop is based on the premise that Literature plays an important role in building and promoting values, beliefs and opinions in society. The focus is intended to be a critical understanding of literature with special reference to Fakir Mohan Senapati and its message, using multiple methodologies and pedagogical tools beyond lectures to presentations, screening relevant short films with an interactive discussion woven around it, Buzz and larger group discussions, role play, panel discussions, and other interactive exercises like Brain storming, LCD and OHP Presentations, group activities etc.
Oriya Music and Dance- Baithaks and Lecdems
Music and dance are an expression of the lyrics of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s works which transcend the mundane to the aesthetic and express all ranges and categories of human emotion. The Writer has given a voice and expression to emotional trials and tribulations. Baithak style informal music gatherings and lecture demonstration are proposed to explore and contextualise Fakir Mohan Senapati’s works.
II. Socio-Economic Development
Daya River cleanup program initiative of FMF
The Daya River cleanup program initiative of FMF is in collaboration with Rivers of the World Foundation (ROW) and BISWA (Bharat Integrated Social Welfare Agency) of Bhubaneswar. Under this program Dr. Subijoy Dutta scientist from ROW, Maryland, accepted our request to conduct a test on some of the rivers of Odisha and in particular the Daya river. In April, 2011, on the occasion of the Earth Day a successful Sensitization programme on the banks of Daya river near Bhubaneswar Odisha, was undertaken. UNDP state programme Officer Mr. Ambica Prashad Nanda, Mr. Dilip Routrai, senior official from Bhubaneswar Municipality Commission Director Biswa, Mr. Prafulla Dhal, Prof. Monica Das from Delhi University and many others had attended the function and also addressed the villagers in the local lingo. The river bed was cleaned up and FMF Members joined hands in picking up the garbage from and around the river. The gloves and garbage bags were sent by ROW, Maryland USA.
State Head UNDP, Odisha Dr. Ambika Nanda praised the above initiative, suggesting carrying forward the campaign to all rivers of Odisha. He further suggested strengthening the campaign with the help of civil society, Government and other agencies like UNDP. He stressed the role and participation of the community & women groups in this campaign and he hoped that it would change the situation considerably. Dr. Monica Das suggested some important points for the sustainability of the campaign. I) Steps should be taken to intensify the campaign. II) Plans should be in place for carrying it forward so as to cover all the rivers of Odisha. III) To chalk out a structured program. IV) Political will needs to be stimulated by motivating public opinion. V) “Gender representation in the campaign is of utmost importance”, she said. “Both women & men especially from the younger generation need to be closely involved in this movement in order to make a dent on the problem.”
Dr. Monica Das suggested some important points for the sustainability of the campaign. I) Steps should be taken to intensify the campaign. II) Plans should be in place for carrying it forward so as to cover all the rivers of Odisha. III) To chalk out a structured program. IV) Political will needs to be stimulated by motivating public opinion. V) “Gender representation in the campaign is of utmost importance”, she said. “Both women & men especially from the younger generation need to be closely involved in this movement in order to make a dent on the problem.”
III. Education for Empowerment
Seminar on Yamuna River
Seminar on Yamuna River, was organised by FMF at the National Foundation of India, IHC, in November 2011. Dr. Subijoy Dutta from Rivers of the World Foundation, Maryland, USA presenting his study. Among others who attended were Mr. Arya, Director, Jal Board, Mr. Vineet Narayan (activist) - seen in the picture.
The intertextuality of fiction and life is sought to be explored through the envisaged Book Readings on the myriad genre of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s works .
Panel Discussions on Fakir Mohan Senapati
The complex nature of issues dealt with in Fakir Mohan Senapati‘s works, is going to be explored by FMF through interactive panel discussions, especially in the context of :
• Intersection of Caste and Class
• Representation of Women
• Other– Vernacular Texts
Workshops On Writing Skills
FMF also intends to have workshops on writing skills by deconstructing the myriad nature of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s plays, essays, short stories, novels etc
These activities are being planned in collaboration with universities in Delhi; Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women’s Studies, Jamia Milllia Islamia, New Delhi, Delhi University (and its various Colleges) Literature and Languages Departments, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Guru Gobind Singh University & IGNOU amongst others to explore the gender quotient in academics.
Seminar on the Issue of Underage Marriages
The issue of rising underage marriages and its concomitant bigamy, both of which have an adverse effect on socio-economic factors and eventually in some way on the Human Development Index (HDI) and Gender Development Index (GDI) is also sought to be explored.
Seminar on the Issue of Child Labour from a cultural perspective Regd. Off. : 305, Nilgiri Apartment, 9 Barakhamba Road, New Delhi-110001 We have held several meetings in Delhi. Venue for our meetings mostly has been the conference room of NFI (National Foundation of India), India Habitat Centre, core 4A, Upper Ground Floor, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003. The meetings were attended by trustees, committee members and student volunteers from Delhi University. Some of the dates on which meetings were held - 25.08.2011, 14.09.2011, 09.11.2011, 07.03.2012, 03.04.2012, 03.05.2012 & 16.05.2012, . (Dr. Monica Das)
FMF intends to take up the issue of child labour from a cultural perspective. Much has been voiced and aired on the topic of child labour but it has been reduced to just some laboured lamentation. It is time that we revisit the issue and see it through the cultural lens. It would serve the twin objectives of having a cultural continuity along with economic regeneration with a difference. The idea should be not to condemn child labour as such and ban it outright instead to be pragmatic enough to put it in the right perspective. What is proposed here is that children of artisans, weavers, potters and craftsmen can be encouraged to be engaged in the family business, learn the traditional skills in the secure confines of their home & in due course carry forward and enhance these traditions over time.
FAKIR MOHAN FOUNDATION
Regd. In Delhi in Jan, 2011
Regn. No. 21/Book No. 4, Vol No. 1, 438 / Page 77 to 97 / Dt. 13.01.2011
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Associate Professor in Economics, Gargi College, Delhi University (formerly)
Presently Fellow, Developing Countries Research Centre, Delhi University,
Managing Trustee Fakir Mohan Foundation, (FMF), New Delhi
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Regd. Off. : 305, Nilgiri Apartment, 9 Barakhamba Road, New Delhi-110001
We have held several meetings in Delhi. Venue for our meetings mostly has been the conference room of NFI (National Foundation of India), India Habitat Centre, core 4A, Upper Ground Floor, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003. The meetings were attended by trustees, committee members and student volunteers from Delhi University. Some of the dates on which meetings were held - 25.08.2011, 14.09.2011, 09.11.2011, 07.03.2012, 03.04.2012, 03.05.2012 & 16.05.2012, .
(Dr. Monica Das)