In conversation with jnu news interviewed New Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sudhir Kumar Sopory

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Second Youth Film Festival

The Second Youth Film Festival was held on 1- 2 February, 2011 at Jawaharlal Nehru University Campus. It was a great success and the response was overwhelming.

The two days festival was inaugurated by Hon'ble Vice-Chancellor Prof. S.K. Sopory, along with the senior actor Ms. Sushma Seth and number of other celebrities and dignitaries in the Auditorium of School of Social Sciences.

The Festival was organized in Collaboration with JNU Faculty Club, Films Division, PSBT, Atom Awards Australia, Short Film News and Arab Film Festival Rotehndam & Sophodok.

The first day of the festival began with the screening of the film "Watch Clinic" by FTII Students and followed by another classic "Kal" by L.V. Prasad.

The International Film that brought the house down was "UWE+UWE". It was a sweet film on the migration issue in Germany. But the most interesting film was "Diploma" from Israel, about the struggle of a brother & sister in Gaza. The night of the Hebron. The night of the Jewish settlement Masquerade. 15 year old Samer insists on taking his older sister Ayat to collect her diploma from the Palestinian University. Walking through the city roof tops and side narrow allies they must avoid the settlers, the army and the curious foreign news reporters settlement Masquerade.

Another amazing entry was from Iran, titled "Sun is Smog" - This is the story of a small boy who on hearing about the Prophet Muhammad caricature being drawn in Denmark decided to do something in reply to this. However, after much effort and deliberation came to the conclusion that Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ were both messengers of Allah, and preached goodness and unity.

Another mind blowing film on trans-gender issue was from Australia and it was called "Mind".

The other well appreciated films were "Clay" from Egypt, "Vida' from Israel "Back to the Roots" from Germany and "Whistling Under Water" from Iran by Hooshamand Varai.

There were 337 entries in the festival, out of which, 22 Short Films & Documentaries were screened in the Competitive & non-Competitive section. All the Films were produced & directed by young film makers from all over the world.

On 2 February, 2011 Documentary Films dominated the show. The first film "Nero Guest" was written by Ex JNU Student P. Sainath. The Documentary was about Agrarian crisis and the growing inequality. This was followed by the French Documentary "Puisque Nous Som".

Other attractions of the festival were "Double Date" from Australia "Journey to Nagaland, "Moksh", "All is Well", "Vaisnav Jan Toh", "Devadasi". These Short Films were made on different video formats and thought provoking issues like Peace, Human Rights, Civil Rights, Environment, Education, Senior Citizens problems, Health, Violence against Minorities & Backwards, are tackled in a sensitive manner. These films are not available on DVDs and online.

The awards were distributed by Shri Salman Khursheed, Hon'ble Minister, Govt. of India. The minister spoke and enriched the audience and participants, in his impeccable manner. He greatly appreciated the efforts & Mission of FACES organization.

The jury of the festival included veterans and stalwarts from the field of cinema and literature like Tinnu Anand, Virender Saxena, Dolly Thakore, Ramola Bachchan, Dr. Diwakar, Indira N, Usha Jain, Anirudh Behl, Sushma Seth, Bijon Das Gupta,

Dr. Libiyal, Dr. Sunta Reddy, Dr. Khwaja Ekram, Dr. Preeti Das, Dr. Subi Chaturvedi, Dr. Rakesh Soni, Saleem Shah, Anup Ranjan Pandey, Preeti Kashyap, Basheer Ali Pathan.

The Awards given were :

- Best short film in foreign category "Diploma" from Israel by Yaelle Kayam

- Special Jury Award; "Sun in Smog" from Iran by Ahmad Ahamadpur

- Critic Choice; "Vida" from Israel by Anant Malz

- Viewers Choice Award ; "uwe+uwe" from Germany by Robert Kellner

- Consolation Award to "Double Date" from Australia by Smolen

Indian Category

- Best short film; "Watch Clinic" by Vikrant Pawar

- Special Jury Award; "Kal" by Manjunath

- Critic Choice; "Vaishnav Jan Toh" by Aushal Oza

- Viewers Choice; "Devadasi" by Olena Laxmi Shantokhina

- Consolation Award; "Diven" by Laxman

Sunita Reddy, Assistance Professor,

Centre for Social Medicine
& Community Health, SSS

XI Annual Yoga Competition 2010-2011

JNU Yoga Kendra organized the XI Annual Yoga competition on Sunday 27 February 2011, at the sports stadium. The competition was held in two categories.

1. Students (separate for Boy's & Girl's)

2. Non-Students (separate for mens & womens)

There were 44 participants in different categories with maximum number being in boys category. The competition Instructor Ajay Shastri gave demonstration of the compulsory asana which were to be performed by all the participants in the competition in the presence of the two external Judges. The final result was declared after completion of all the competitions.

The winners were :

Student Category

Boys - Arvind Kumar, SCSS First

- Alok Kumar Satapathy, CES/SIS Second

- Syed Usma Ameen, CAAS, SLLCS Third

Girls - Alpana Tripathi, SLL&CS First

- Jigyasa Meena, CHS/SSS Second

- Heabin Song, SLL&CS Third

Non -Students (Men)

Mr. Rajeev Kumar Raju (Ex. JNU students)

Dr. Rakesh Azad (CGS, Medical Dr.)

Non –Student (Women)

- Niva (Staff Dependent) First

- Pushpa (Staff Dependent) Second

- Shivani Dogra Third

Mrs. Damayanti V. Tambay, Dy. Director, PE appreciated the performance of the participants and informed that the Yoga Kendra is a very active club and has been conducting various programs including this competition for the past 12 years.

At the end of Yoga competition, Judges appreciated the performance of the competitors. A vote of thanks was given by Mr. Ajay Kumar Shastri, Yoga Instructor, JNU.

Umesh Babu, Yoga Instructor
Sports Office


Seminar on "Spectroscopic Investigation of Protein Aggregation"

Advanced Instrumentation Research Facility (AIRF) Organized a seminar on "Sepctroscopic Investigation of Protein Aggregation" in December, 2010 at AIRF. The lecture was delivered by Dr. Rajesh Mishra, Centre for Biotechnology, University of Allahabad. The work Presented by Dr. Mishra included the work carried out by him at Dortmud University of Technology, Germany and IFM-Chemistry, Linkoping University, Sweden. The seminar was attended by the JNU Faculty and user researchers from different Science Schools.

His talk covered the brief introduction on the basics of protein refolding and misfolding and the pathophysiological significance of protein aggregation. During in-Vitro protein refolding and cellular protein misfolding, the side reaction of protein folding encountered is termed as aggregation. This cellular protein misfolding leads to the formation of ordered protein aggregates called amyloid which are highly symmetric, unbranched, fibrilar structure and composed of cross beta sheets. Until now, more than 30 diseases have been identified which are known to be associated with the deposition of protein aggregates. Various spectroscopic techniques like fluorescence, circular dichroism (CD), Fourier transform-Infraed (FT-IR) spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can be employed to monitor this conformational changes in proteins observed during aggregation. The fibril morphology can be studied using atomic force microscopy (AFM).

Dr. Mishra in his lecture described the characterization of the conformational transition as well residue specific changes during the formation of ordered protein aggregates in lysozyme, Abeta and islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) by using the above mentioned spectroscopic methods. His work presented shed new light on the aggregation mechanism and existence of its potential for use in the drug discovery approaches.

Tulika Prasad, Assistant Professor

Advanced Instrumentation Research Facility

Workshop on "Water Resources: Impact on Agriculture, Health and Environment"

A two day international workshop "Water Resources: Impact on Agriculture, Health and Environment" was organized in a collaborative effort by Jawaharlal Nehru University (Dr. Ashwani Pareek, School of Life Sciences and Professor A. L. Ramanathan, School of Environmental Sciences) in conjunction with McDonnell Academy, Washington University in St Louis, USA (Professor Tuan-Hua David Ho and Professor Himadri Pakrasi) on 11-12 January 2011, at School of Life Sciences, JNU.

"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in a drop of water" this quote perfectly emphasizes the role played by water in each and every dimension of life. However, over the past few decades its availability has dramatically fallen to crisis levels. Over 40% of the world population is already under the grip of water shortage. Therefore, the primary focus of the workshop pertains to the shrinking water resources and its global impact on all spheres of life including agriculture, health and environment. This workshop will provide us with a platform to discuss the research efforts being undertaken, across the globe, to overcome the adversities brought in by the limiting water resources, success achieved so far and measures required to keep this menacing problem at bay. Eminent personalities with expertise in their research area from reputed institutes like JNU, India; IIT, India; IARI, India; NBPGR, India; ICAR, India; CSSRI, India; Washington University, USA and University of Essex, UK will share this platform to give a holistic view of the present situation with respect to available water resources and research efforts being pursued in their respective area of interest.

Ashwani Pareek, Associate Professor
School of Life Sciences

Sixth Sat Paul Memorial Lecture

The Sixth Sat Paul Mittal Memorial Lecture on Population, Development and Environment was organized by the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, jointly with the Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (IAPPD). The lecture was delivered on 21 January 2011 by the eminent demographer Tim Dyson, Professor of Population Studies and Head of the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The lecture was chaired by Prof. B.B. Bhattacharya, Vice-Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the theme of population-development linkage was introduced by Shri P.A. Sangma, former Speaker of the Lok Sabha. In the lecture entitled "On the world demographic transition and some of its effects". Professor Dyson first gave an overview of the sequence of processes in the demographic transition and pointed out that the basic sequence has happened in a huge variety of settings- cultural, economic, geographic, social, and political. The lecture noted how mortality decline and fertility decline are central components of development and argued that demographic processes play a 'remote' causal role in urbanization. The debate on the implications of population growth for economic growth was critically reviewed during the course of the speech. In the concluding remarks, Professor Dyson presented the essence of his analysis of India's demography. He expects that India's demographic transition will stretch over approximately 150 years and the transition growth multiple will be moderate, slightly higher than that for China but lower than that for England.

The lecture was followed by a question-answer session. In his closing remarks, Prof. B.B. Bhattacharya highlighted the role of demographic factors in economic development. The lecture was attended by a large number of students and faculty, social scientists, planners, policy makers and population and development professionals from various institutions.

P.M. Kulkarni, Professor
Centre for the Study Regional Development, SSS

International Conference on "Global Infectious Diseases"

Every year, Seattle-India Joint Research Training Program organizes workshops in India with the help of Global Infectious Diseases Training (GID) grant to enhance research and training on intracellular pathogens and the diseases they cause, particularly Malaria, Leishmaniasis and Tuberculosis to doctoral and post doctoral scientists and researchers. The Program co-ordinators were GID co-Director, Prof. Rentala Madhubala from India and Dr. Marilyn Parson, co-Director (Seattle Biomed). Dr. Ken Stuart, Director and President of Seattle Biomed was the Director of this program. The 8th workshop was held from 30 January - 5 February, 2011 at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) New Delhi. This workshop was a joint venture between both Indian (JNU and International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology) and US (Seattle Biomedical Research Institute and University of Washington) organizations, funded by Fogarty International Centre of the National Institute of Health (NIH). This training was first of its kind and was focused on advance fields including Next generation sequencing, bioinformatics, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and structural and computation biology in infectious disease research. In addition to these advanced topics, major emphasis was also given to research proposal development, round table discussions, research ethics, laboratory management, and lectures on current research and technologies. This training gave a great opportunity for the young researchers and emerging scientists to update the current advancement in technologies.

The inaugural key note talk was made by Dr.V.M.Katoch, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, India. He spoke on the current problem of HIV, TB and Malaria with respect to the Indian scenario and emphasized on conducting translational research in order to accelerate the bench to bed-side transit. As part of the program, a Nobel Lecture was organized. Dr. Ada E. Yonnath, Nobel laureate 2009, gave a talk on "From Basic Research towards better antibiotics".

R. Madhubala, Dean
School of Life Sciences

Lecture on "Faiz Ahmad Faiz: The Man and His Art"

The Centre of Indian languages organized the first Faiz Ahmad Faiz Memorial Lecture on 14 February 2011 to commemorate the Birth Centenary Celebrations of the noted poet, known for his life-long commitment to the ideals of humanism and rationalism.

The lecture entitled "Faiz Ahmad Faiz: The Man and His Art" was delivered by the London based Urdu-Persian Scholar, Archaeologist and Historian, Dr. Mohammed Ziauddin Ahmad Shakeb. Dr. Shakeb, a retired faculty member of London University and a close friend of the late poet during the last fours years of his life, had a number of anecdotes to share with the audience. He also spoke in detail about the influences of Arabic Language, Persian Literature and Socio-Political ideology of Progressive Writers' Movement on the creatire self of Faiz.

Professor K. Nachimuthu, Chairperson, CIL welcomed the guests; and Convenor, Prof. Moinuddin A. Jinabade, introduced the speaker while Professor Mohd. Shahid Husain proposed a vote of thanks.

K. Nachimuthu, Professor
Centre of Indian Languages, SLL&CS

Conference on "Human Right issues in Venezuela"

The Centre for Spanish Portuguese Italian and Latin American Studies, SLL&CS on 14 February 2011 organized a lecture on "Human Rights and its Achievements in the Venezuelan Revolution" delivered by a prominent scholar and an activist on human rights from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Prof. Alfredo J. Ruiz A. The lecture was attended by a large number of students, teachers and diplomats from the Spanish speaking world. Prof. Ruiz was accompanied by Her Excellency the Ambassador of Venezuela Mrs. Milena Santana Ramirez who introduced the human rights activist and professor to the audience. The lecture highlighted the institutional and legislative reforms which the government of President Hugo Chavez has carried out in the last ten years so that the masses at large can enjoy their basic human rights including the right to health, education, security and justice. The professor highlighted several programmes of sensitization of the Police Institutions about human rights in Venezuela which have brought about a positive change in the society and has created a sense of safety and security among the masses. Of particular interest to the audience were the issues of participatory democracy and how the common masses are involved in the framing of policies at the grass root and national levels, the special missions established by President Chavez to take the health care and basic education services to the marginalized and poor people living in slums and remote areas of the country and the challenges ahead. The lecture was followed by a free and frank discussion on what lessons can be learned by India and how some of the best practices in the field of implementation of human rights can be replicated in our country.

Subhas Yadav, Reasearch Scholar
Centre for Spanish Portuguese Italian and Latin American Studies, SLL&CS

Lecture on "Point of Compass: Hafiz's Position in the History of Persian Poetry"

The Centre of Persian and Central Asian Studies, SLL&CS organized a special lecture on "Point of Compass: Hafiz's position in the History of Persian Poetry", on 14 February, 2011. The lecture was delivered by Professor Ahmed Karimi Hakkak, Director, Persian Studies, University of Maryland, U.S.A. Recently, he was a visiting scholar at the Centre of Persian and Central Asian Studies, SLL&CS, JNU. Dr. Ishtiaque Ahmed of CPCAS introduced Prof. Hakkak as a noted scholar of Persian language and literature and Iranian Culture and Civilization at the University of Washington for 19 years and an author of 19 books and over 100 scholarly articles on Iran and Persian literature. He was a regular contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the Encyclopaedia Iranica and the Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies to name but a few. His works have been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, Arabic, Japanese and Persian.

Prof. Hakkak having thanked Dr. Ahmed for speaking highly of him, began the special lecture. He determined the position of Hafiz, the 14th century Persian poet of Iran, in the Persian literary scenario with help of some of his lyrics. According to him, Hafiz is a figure in Persian literary history who has achieved a central position. The study of literary history of Persia reveals that before Hafiz there were many poets in Iran. But Hafiz has attained a central position by playing a vital role in lyric writing of Persian literature. It is not correct to assume that Hafiz was an imitator of the earlier poets of Persia. In fact he was a creative genius in the annals of Persian poetry. The poet does not use words in his lyrics in one sense only. His lyrical words have surface as well as multilayered meanings. He has used words like "Taale" (fortune). Etymologically the word is derived from the root-word of "tolo" which means rising or appearing. "Shafaque" meaning evening twilight, "Mehr' means love or the Sun in his lyrics. The poet projects in his lyrics that the beloved remained indifferent to his/her lover and disappeared from his/her sight like the Sun. For this reason the lover cries and laments over the separation or disappearance of the beloved from the romantic scene and thus his eyes turned red like the evening twilight. Hence the poet uses the word "Shafaque" to depict the plight of the lover who endured the indifference and disappearance of the beloved from the site.

Prof. Hakkak said that some lyrics of Hafiz seem to be insignificant and copied from the earlier generation of poets like Rudaki, Khayyam, Salman Savji and Rumi. A close study of them, on the contrary, reveals a good deal of poetic creativity on the part of Hafiz in the lyrics. In fact, Hafiz has ushered in a new approach to lyric writing in Persian poetry and in turn made the genre of Persian lyric very beautiful. He paints pictures in his lyrics. He explains the secrets of life by narrating a story of a young man who was unaware of the secrets of life and remained entangled in the web of the worldly affairs. He wanted to come out from it. So he came to the Saqi and prayed for his admission into the Tavern where hecould enjoy liberty and freedom. The Saqi allowed him admission into the Tavern and told him the secrets of life. "Life is for enjoyment and every moment is a moment to experience". Thus he bid him to come to his Tavern and enjoy and experience life. He told him that in his Tavern wine of wisdom was distributed among the liberated souls. This wine did not make a man unconscious of his obligations but it gave a power of wisdom to him. This lyric of Hafiz has the tone of Khayyam's quatrains (Rubaiyyat) that life is beautiful and created for enjoyment and experience.

Prof. Hakkak analysed a lyric of the poet in which the poet speaks about the world and the heaven. The poet says that when he sees his evil deeds and remembers the Day of Judgment, he is worried about his retribution. Then an unseen voice is heard by him which says not to be disappointed and be hopeful and optimistic about the divine forgiveness. After that the poet gives example of "Jesus" (Messiah) who was a symbol of spiritualism and savior of mankind. The poet also brings example of powerful kings like "Kai Kaoos" and "Kai Khusraw" who had the power but both of them were mortals because they lacked in spiritualism. He noted thatJesus (Messiah) was immortal by dint of his spiritual power and was free from all evil deeds or entanglements of life.

The professor explained in the discourse that verb is a very important segment in a language as well as in the lyrics of Hafiz. The poet has used verbs which prescribe dos and don'tsfor his readers. He bids his readers to abstain from evil deeds and be like Jesus who achieved immortality in life by his sheer good deeds. Another verb which he has used is "beshno" meaning listen. The poet tells people to listen togood advices of others - a way of success in life. Verbs which he has used in the lyrics are "Boro" which means to go. Hafiz says that one should go away from hypocritical world and try to develop the spiritual power for success in life.

Professor Hakkak recommended reading the poetry of Hafiz to the audience which in turn would develop inner bliss in them and also a flair for poetry. What would be a better reward one can get from literature other than reading poetry of Hafiz in isolation. Indeed one may at least enjoy poetic melody of Persian literature. He added that poetic merits of Rudaki, Firdowsi, Saadi and Rumi have been inherited and embedded in the lyrics of Hafiz. The two hours' scholarly lecture of Prof. Hakkak was very informative and fruitful for the students of CP&CAS in JNU.

The lecture was followed by a question and answer session in which a member of audience asked if Iranians consider Hafiz as a Sufi (mystic) poet? The professor replied to the question that Hafiz speaks like an "Arif" (Gnostic) but he is not a Gnostic. Rumi is a Gnostic and his poetry is also based on Gnosticism but Hafiz is not like him. Hafiz was not a Sufi (mystic) but his poetry smacks of Sufism. Dr. Syed Akhtar Husain of CPCAS asked that we have the biography of "Ghalib" in great details, over the years whether the Iranians have written a biography or life history of "Hafiz" in minute details? Prof. Hakkak answered that whatever Iranians know about Hafiz is through his poetry. Unfortunately over the years no serious efforts were made by the Iranians to write a full length biography of the poet.

The lecture was presided over Prof. Khailque Rasheed, Cultural Counselor at the Afghan Embassy, New Delhi and attended by most of the faculty members and the students of CPCAS. Prof. Khalique Rasheed thanked Prof. Hakkak for his erudite and scholarly discourse on Hafiz whose popularity reached beyond the frontiers of Iran during his life time.

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