The Gandhian Centre for Philosophical Arts and Sciences (GCPAS), constituent department of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) along with UNESCO Peace Chair conducted two days international conference ‘Ecosophy” addressing the importance of art and peace in today’s era. A total number of 45 research papers related to art and peace are being presented online from different parts of the country and abroad discussing on contemporary issues and future alternatives that can be adopted to maintain peace and harmony in the world. The subthemes for the conference included as wide-ranging themes as ecological challenges, socio-economic issues, literature, cinema, gender studies, philosophy, individual to international peace etc.
The virtual conference emphasized the “Ecological Civilization”, based on harmony between humans and nature. Lt Gen Dr. M D Venkatesh, MAHE Vice-Chancellor addressed the Day 1 session highlighting the socio-economic and ecological problems which need to be addressed.
UNESCO Peace Chair Prof M D Nalapat, address his keynote stating the essence of Indian civilization is ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (The world is one family). The gandhian notion of ‘appropriate means’ needs to be the cardinal philosophy in every walk of life, in international relations, so also in the time of the pandemic.
The first-day virtual conference ended with the session concluded by well-known journalist Sudheendra Kulkarni on “Possibilities of International Peace: A Gandhian Approach” where he maintained that the only option for industrial civilization is ecological civilization. Different sources of violence need to be addressed by Gandhian values of non-violence, love, and compassion, he added.
The second day of the conference begin with renowned writer Prof Manu Chakravarthy with his session on ‘The Cosmos and Human Consciousness: Metaphysical Explorations through Cinema’, He reasoned for a shift from anthropocentric worldview to a more nature-centric worldview, a kind of harmony between humankind and nature, for a better world. He demonstrated his point of view with examples from films of Kubrick, Tarkovsky, and Kurosawa.
The next session was followed by Dr. Bashabi Fraser, Director, Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies, Edinburgh Napier University on ‘Tagore and Environment: Philosophy and Praxis’, where she stated that Tagore was inclined to an ecological civilization as represented in his notion of a forest university and Shanti Niketan. Nature never betrays those who love her, she cited.
The day two last session for the virtual conference was by MAHE Executive Vice-President Dr. Vinod Bhat. He said that the research and publication need to define any university which holds the key for crisis and conflict resolution. Later the virtual concluded was concluded by GCPAS Director Prof Varadesh Hiregange and Team ICEAAP. Director Prof Varadesh Hiregange said that maintaining art could be a medium for peace and ecosophical exploration and expression.