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Seminar: “Synergies of Gandhi's and Tagore's anti industrialism visions with Degrowth frameworks and initiatives around the world”, by Pallavi Varma Patil

Date: 2019-12-05

Seminar: “Synergies of Gandhi's and Tagore's anti industrialism visions with Degrowth frameworks and initiatives around the world”

Speaker: Pallavi Varma Patil, Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India

Date: Thursday, December 5th 2019
Time: 11h
Venue: Z-033 ICTA-UAB

From the beginning of the 20th Century, both the ‘Prophet’, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, (born 1869) Gandhi and the ‘Poet’, Rabindranath Tagore, (born 1861) had been critical of ‘Industrialism’ (which Gandhi referred to it as Modern Civilization in his slim booklet, Hind Swaraj, 1909). 
Both were searching for an alternative to Industrialism which they saw as an evil force trapping humanity, in India and all over the world, into the vortex of perpetual material growth, mutual envy, rivalry, violence, inequality, hatred, unhappiness, and the robbery and destruction of nature. Today the various crises confronting us are playing out their warning like a movie script:  Global warming, climate emergency, economic breakdowns, socio-political turmoil and violence, frightening combination of rising intolerance and uncertainty and aspirations --- no place in the world is untouched from this dangerous cocktail.

Both Gandhi and Tagore not only formulated an anti- industrialism alternative vision of a good society which they called SWARAJ but actively sought to build and construct one.  What as students and practitioners of Degrowth can we learn from these visions and the various actions spawned by them? What synergies do we explore between Gandhi Tagore visions and constructive action with the degrowth movement of today. And lastly , what are some of the efforts taking place in India that make us feel hopeful that rural and urban communities in India are walking the path of degrowth -- building  just, equitable, healthy, happy, peaceful, creative, caring, sharing, self- sufficient, self- governing, eco-sustainable, non-exploiting communities.

This talk will focus on these aspects and will be based on two short readings, Gandhi’s letter to Nehru, 1945;  and Tagore (1924), City and the Village.  
Speaker’s profile:
Pallavi Varma Patil is Faculty, School of Development, Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India and offers courses at both the post graduate and undergraduate level on Gandhian Alternatives. These include ‘Gandhian Education for today and Tomorrow’, ‘Living Utopias’, and ‘India’s Futures’.  She is the Coauthor of The Gandhi Notebook (2017) which is meant for young adults who would like to engage with Gandhian action towards building a better world for all.

Her current interests include promoting Gandhi- Tagore alternatives through activism and education. Towards this she coordinated a school based food and nutrition programme called, ‘The Ragi Project’,  At present she is part of a small team that is active in setting up a Gandhi Tagore Centre in India whereby she offers short courses around Living Utopias (,   for non-university participants primarily activists across India. Since 2017, four such courses including one designed for an Indigenous community exploring deschooling efforts have taken place. 

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