National Seminar on ‘Society, Culture and Modern Intellectuals’ at St Aloysius College
Mangaluru: St Aloysius College (Autonomous)- Mangaluru, a College with Potential for Excellence; Ranked 44 among Colleges in the Country by NIRF, MHRD, Govt. of India; and Re-accredited by NAAC with A Grade – CGPA 3.62, where The Department of English organized a national seminar on ‘Society, Culture and Modern Intellectuals’ on 25 January 2018 at Fr Robert Sequeira Hall in the LCRI Block of the campus. The seminar aimed at addressing concerns of countering the regressive with the progressive by placing contemporary intellectuals in relation to the changing dynamics of culture and society.
The seminar was inaugurated at 9.30 am. The Chief Guest was Dr Vincent Alva, Principal, Milagres College, Kallianpur, Udupi. Rev. Fr Dionysius Vaz SJ, Rector, St Aloysius Institutions presided over the function. Rev. Dr Praveen Martis SJ, Principal, St Aloysius College, Dr Mellisa Goveas, HOD of the PG Department of English, Dr Ratan T Mohunta, HOD of the UG Department of English and convenor of the seminar and Anup D Veigas, organizing secretary were also present.
In his welcome address, Dr Mohunta explained why the Department of English had chosen the topic. He did so by explaining that the intention was “venturing into other areas which are broadly in the realms of society and culture.” The Chief Guest, Dr Alva narrated his days as a student of St Aloysius PU College. He remarked how there was “a close-knit relationship between society, culture and intellectuals. He urged the crowd to overcome the fragmentation of society, and opined that society is still safe only due to intellectual deliberation. “Silence of the intellectuals is the greatest damage,” he said.
The Principal, Rev. Dr Praveen Martis SJ involved the Jesuit idea of ‘roving into the deep’ and quoted Isaac Asimov, saying “Science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” In his presidential address, Rev. Dr Dionysius Vaz SJ, Rector, St Aloysius Institutions, spoke about how globalized consumer culture has destroyed several indigenous cultures.
Two sessions were taken up by Dr R, Shashidhar, Professor, Department of English, Mangalore University, and Prof Prasad Pannian, Associate Professor, Department of English, Central University of Kerala, Kasaragod. The crux of Dr Shashidhar’s lecture dealt with the fine differences between intelligentsia and intellectuals. “Today, ideologies have splintered into cyberspace personality. Technology has effaced the old intellectual. The Old Intellectual has sunk with the Leviathan”, he said. He also urged students to keep abreast of the times and to do their homework well before critiquing anything. “Do not take readymade positions on any issue. Do not take the media as your scholarship”, he insisted. Prof Pannian’s lecture was titled ‘Public Intellectual in Moments of Danger’. Briefly touching upon the areas of the politics of exclusion, absolute relativism, planetary conjecture and the Anthropocene, he presented a juxtaposition of the intellectual in the complex web of society. “The role of the intellectual in today’s society is important, to speak truth to power especially in the face of danger”, he stated.
Papers were also presented by students and research scholars on various topics ranging from utopian fiction to economic choices. The valedictory function was held in the presence of Dr Alwyn D’Sa, Vice Principal, Dr Ratan Tilak Mohunta, HOD of the English Department, UG Department and Dr Melisa Goveas, HOD of the PG Department of English. In his valedictory address, Dr D’Sa congratulated the department for their efforts and for organizing such a seminar with the intention of increasing the values taken home by the students with their respective degrees. The Vote of Thanks was delivered by Dr Mohunta, Convenor of the seminar.
About St Aloysius College:
St Aloysius College is a one hundred and thirty-eight-year-old institution that has trained thousands of men and women in various fields and presented them to the nation. Named after St Aloysius Gonzaga and founded by the Mangalore Jesuit Educational Society, the college aims to create men and women for others by reinforcing the motto ‘Lucet et Ardet’, which means ‘Shine to Enkindle’. The college became autonomous in 2007 and has been making rapid progress in all fields by introducing innovative courses and regularly updating teaching methodology. The college also boasts of an Olympic-standard swimming pool, inaugurated in 2017.