The volume is a collection of six lectures delivered by Dr Kapila Vatsyayan at different UNESCO seminars and two reports prepared for UNESCO. These present, discuss, analyse and prognosticate the varied aspects of human development in India and other developing nations. She has made pertinent observations and suggestions with a futuristic view on UNDP's "Human Development Report 1990" which defines and measures human development.
Through these papers and reports, Dr Vatsyayan has attempted to chart out a new perspective from the viewpoint of developing countries. The Western paradigms in defining development do not fit the frame of these countries. Culture, arts, oral wisdom, all should come to play a crucial role in defining, planning and executing developmental programmes in such countries, and in assessing their educational status.
In addition, the volume provides a historical glimpse of Delhi and addresses the issues of cultural heritage and cultural lifestyle of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. In a nutshell, Dr Vatsyayan makes the readers travel with her continuous UNESCO engagement of over a period of sixty years.
Kapila Vatsyayan, Chairperson, IIC- International Research Division, India International Centre, New Delhi, and a former Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), is a well-known and leading scholar of interrelatedness of the arts. She was the founder-director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in Delhi, and has been Secretary, Government of India in the Department of Arts and Culture, where she was involved in framing policies with regard to many institutions of higher education and culture in India. She has also been the President, India International Centre; and Member, UNESCO Executive Board. She is the author of over thirty books, including Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts (1968), The Square and the Circle of Indian Arts (1983), and a series of monographs on the Gita Govinda. She has conceived and organized conferences and exhibitions covering a range of concerns in Indian art, education and culture, and is the editor and general editor of several publications. In 2011, she was honoured with the "Padma Vibhushan" by the Government of India.
DEVELOPMENT per se is perceived as economic development. The indices of the same are Gross National Product (GNP), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), per capita income, employment opportunity, high literacy rate, urbanization, high standard of life and so on. But development sans arts, culture, ecology and human values cannot exist for long. Many initiatives undertaken across the globe in the name of economic development have backfired. For example, dams across major river systems of the world brought economic prosperity for few decades, .later they damaged the perennial 60w of those river systems, depleted ground water level, damaged the ecology of the surrounding areas, and destabilized the life, culture and economic condition of all those people who were displaced. So is the case with many atomic power plants. They turned out to be perpetual threat to human life and the entire ecosystem around them. In reality, the damages they brought in are more than the gains. Any initiative, be it economic, industrial or educational, should be inclusive of all aspects of human life, thereby development should be sustainable; it should in essence address economic, social, political and cultural factors.
Many of the less developed countries of Asia and Africa were acutely exploited by their colonizers for centuries curtailing their freedom and draining their resources, making their arts, culture, lifestyle, educational system and self identity almost die. Though these countries got freedom from their coIonizers post-Second World War, decades of their efforts haven't resulted in real development. They had to rebuild their nations and had many challenges to overcome. Imparting help in their reconstruction drive are organizations like United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which play a pivotal role in employing composite growth programmes.
This volume is a collection of eight lectures/articles contributed by the renowned scholar and administrator Dr Kapila Vatsyayan for different seminars/publications, many of them under the auspices of UNESCO. Given the author's close interactions with the organization over several decades, the volume appropriately opens with an article entitled "The Transforming Power of the Human Mind", which brings out the crucial role played by UNESCO as part of its mandate.
Chapter 2 "Contribution of the Arts in the Process of Social Transformation in the Third World" speaks about the contemporary situation of arts and artists of the Third World countries where the traditions of science and technology and their self-conscious awareness in regard to the role of the artist, and artistic and cultural expressions are crucial in national development.
Chapter 3 "Human Development in Indian Perspective: Strategies for the Future" raises a few observations on UNDP document "Human Development Report 1990" which defines and measures human development. It also proposes some strategies that could be considered for future planning and execution of developmental projects. Chapter 4 "The Promotion of International Exchanges in the Arts: The Indian Experience" brings forth the Indian experience on the role of art in human communication and in man's relations with the universe. It is the result of such communication and creativity which lasts over time and becomes monumental reminders of the meeting of minds and sensibility.
Chapter 5 "Cultural Dimension of Development: The Development of Appropriate Methodologies" speaks of the concern for taking into account the sociocultural factors in development which the existing world views on development do not address. The art of living is the greatest and hardest of any development plan. Recognition of each person as an artist with creative potential at his or her own level can produce another social, economic and political system, transforming lifestyle, education and much else.
"Strengthening Efforts to Assess the Interconnection between Culture and Development in the Elimination of Poverty", Chapter 6, is mainly focused on three components: necessity for a global dialogue among civilizations; the action to be taken for developing a culture of peace; to promote the interface between cultural diversity and sustainable development. It also delineates the need for an integrated approach in assessing the interconnection between these components; and discusses cultural diversity, cultural identity and environment, biodiversity and cultural diversity, water conservation, sustainable development, village societies and so on.
Chapter 7 ''Alternatives to the Norm: Examining Perspectives of Art and Culture" questions the manner in which the world's nations have been classified, first by political ideology, then by the linear progressive growth model, and now by the North-South terminology. These classifications cannot bind societies together for them to have a harmonious life. One cannot undermine the significance of art and culture in giving the universe a meaningful life.
Chapter 8 "Delhi Human Development Report: Historical Perspective and Culture of Delhi" is a historical glimpse of Delhi and addresses the issues of cultural heritage and cultural lifestyle of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. Delhi's cultural ethos is an accretion of millennia of history where each period and epoch has left an indelible mark, shaping the cultural personality of a fascinating city and its many hues and colours.
Through the above-listed articles, Dr Kapila Vatsyayan has made an attempt to chart out a new perspective as far as "development" is concerned from the position of a developing country or on behalf of developing countries. The Western paradigms in defining development cannot fit the frame of these countries. Culture, arts and oral wisdom all should come to play a crucial role in defining, planning and executing developmental programmes in these countries, and in defining their educational status as well.
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