“Ecological civilization, the only way to prevent the annihilation of life”

Experts present their views at a seminar organized by the MAHE Gandhian Center of Philosophical Arts and Sciences

Ecological civilization based on the harmony between man and nature was the only way forward if life on earth is to be better and prevent its annihilation, was the essence that emerged during the two-day international conference on “Ecosophy, Art and Peace”, organized by Gandhian Center for Philosophical Arts and Sciences, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, recently.

The two days were marked by four special interventions, 45 presentations of articles, a discussion on contemporary issues and future alternatives. The sub-themes included ecological challenges, socio-economic issues, literature, cinema, gender studies, philosophy and the individual to international peace.

In his inaugural address, MAHE Vice-Chancellor MD Venkatesh said the problems could be categorized as individual, socio-economic and ecological, which need to be addressed. The academic programs initiated by MAHE were in line with this broader vision.

In his opening speech, the President of UNESCO for Peace, MD Nalapat, said that the essence of Indian civilization was “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam” (The world is one family). The Gandhian notion of “appropriate means” must be the cardinal philosophy in all spheres of life, in international relations, so also in times of pandemic, he added.

In his session on “The Possibilities for International Peace: A Gandhian Approach”, journalist Sudheendra Kulkarni argued that the only option for industrial civilization was ecological civilization. Different sources of violence must be addressed by the Gandhian values ​​of non-violence, love and compassion, he said.

Writer Manu Chakravarthy argued for a shift from an anthropocentric worldview to a more nature-centered worldview, a kind of harmony between humanity and nature, for a better world during the session on “The cosmos and human consciousness: metaphysical explorations through cinema. “He demonstrated it with examples from films by Kubrick, Tarkovsky and Kurosawa.

In his session on “Tagore and the Environment: Philosophy and Praxis,” Bashabi Fraser, Director of the Scottish Center for Tagore Studies, Edinburgh Napier University, said that Tagore was inclined towards an ecological civilization as represented in his notion of a forest university and by Shantiniketan. Nature never betrays those who love it, she says.

MAHE Executive Vice President Vinod Bhat in his farewell speech said research and publication must define any university that holds the key to resolving crises and conflicts.

Gandhian Center director Varadesh Hiregange argued that art can be a means of peace and ecosophical exploration and expression.

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