More than 1300 thinkers and practitioners from 26 States; 250 volunteers looking after the entire organisation; presence of dignitaries like Vice President of Bharat and Speaker of the Parliament and performances by renowned artists to common tribal groups made the second edition of Lokmanthan held at Ranchi, in Jharkhand from September 27-30 a truly memorable event for every participant
Great or small, some things in the world are to be experienced, felt with the heart, not to be just touched, heard or even seen. What made the Lokmanthan 2018, held at Games Village in Ranchi from September 27 to 30, an unmissable aesthetic experience for a delegate was the way the organisers conceived the idea of the four-day conclave, which otherwise could have ended up as a usual exercise of churning out a series of lectures and performances on various topics.
Envisaged as a ‘Boudhik Mela’, the Ranchi edition of Lokmanthan was, in fact, a dynamic convergence of eloquent speeches on diverse topics, and comprehensive discussions and critical debates on the contemporary Indian conditions. It was coupled with a cultural extravaganza that put display richness of our heritage— indigenous art forms, literature, traditional rituals and documentaries which altogether offered not just a bona fide intellectual exercise, but an incredible aesthetic feel of our unique culture that celebrates diversity. Understanding and experiencing Bharat from the Bharatiya point of view was the real idea behind this core theme of Bharat-Bodh (Idea of Bharat): Jan-Gan-Man. In a way, this was an effort to build upon the intellectual momentum started in the Bhopal edition of Lokmanthan with the core theme of Decolonising Indian Minds.
A full-fledged exhibition hall, adorned with beautiful Rangoli designs with a blend of colourful tradition at all entrances, was the centre of attraction for guests, delegates as well as students and the local dwellers. More than fifteen thousand villagers and students from all across the capital city of Jharkhand throng the exhibition hall in the four days. Inside a large exhibition hall, located near the main venue, the photo exhibition and stalls featured the rich cultural and historical heritage of Bharat and local traditions of Jharkhand. “An array of photos, paintings, biographical portraits of Indian historical figures when put together creates a true narrative that alone tells us the story of real culture and history of Bharat,” said a school teacher, while uncovering new lessons to her students at the gallery.
Discuss, Debate and Decide
Inaugurating the Lokmanthan 2018, on September 27, the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that youth must understand the culture, heritage and traditions of our great nation and cherish our rich heritage and diversity. The Vice President said that a nation that is formed by its people, sentiments, and demographics must discuss and analyse itself from time to time. He further said that such practices are essential to keep the national life alive. To discuss, debate and decide should be a three-line mantra, he added.
Shri Venkaiah Naidu said, “In Bharat, we have a long and rich tradition of debates and discussions. It is the time to reinvent and put it before the public. It is our mission to present our real culture and legacy in its real form.”
While presiding over the function, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Raghubar Das, said that he was very fortunate to be able to host a galaxy of world-famous writers, artists and intellectuals in Ranchi. He welcomed all the delegates on behalf of the people of Jharkhand and also remembered brave hearts like Birsa Munda who fought against the invaders and made a great effort to preserve the Bharatiya culture in Jharkhand.
Addressing the gathering, J Nandakumar, national convener of Prajna Pravah and general secretary of the organising committee, said that Lokmanthan is as an open platform for all strata of society, not just for intellectual class. Prof Nandkumar Indu, Vice Chancellor Central University of Jharkhand welcomed the guests and delegates. Governor of Jharkhand Droupadi Murmu released two books on Lokmanthan 2018.
As organisers said, the idea of the Lokmanthan evolved around the concept of Bharat Bodh, which was not a monopoly of thinkers or intellectual class but an outcome of a milieu that has been enriched by creative minds of all walks of national life including artists and artisans.
Realise, Not Just Research
On September 27, immediately after the inauguration, the ball set rolling for the event with a keynote address by eminent columnist, thinker and politician Hriday Narayan Dixit. While elaborating on the core theme of Lokmanthan, Bharat-Bodh, he dwelt upon the core difference between Shodh (Research) and Bodh (Realisation). ‘While research can be done by facts and tools, for realisation you have to connect with the thought behind that culture’, he explained by giving the example of Idea of Ganga that connects with the Bharatiya mind.
Give back to the Society
For the valedictory function, Honourable Speaker of Lok Sabha Smt Sumitra Mahajan was the Chief Guest. Smt Asha Lakra, Mayor of Ranchi, welcomed everyone on behalf of the organising committee while Convenor of Lokmanthan, Rajiv Kamal Bittu read out a report of the entire proceedings. The main attraction was the speech by Smt Sumitra Mahajan who said that Lokmanthan is a mega event like Kumbh Mela where wise men and scholars of East come together and brainstorm on the present and future of Bharat. She said that every citizen must endeavour to build the future of Bharat with a feeling that “This is my nation, all people of this nation are my members. The elected government is my government.” We often talk about social harmony. When we benefit from reservation we must simultaneously introspect and analyse whether we have given back to our communities or simply moved ahead on our own, She added. While talking about the concept of Gender complementarity in Bharat, “The role of the Stree (Woman) is to be the 'Saarthi' (Charioteer) while that of the Purush (Man) is to be the Parikrama (Doer).
The Chief Minister of Jharkhand Shri Raghuvar Das chaired the session, and the State Cultural Minister Amar Kumar Bauri also spoke at the valedictory function. Pt Devi Sahay Pandey ‘Deep’ was felicitated with the Prajna Award for his outstanding contribution to the literature and Sanskrit language.
The four-day churning has recreated a socio-cultural and intellectual milieu in which the Indic wisdom was born and nourished. With the call to take this realisation of Bharat to the grassroots, Lokmanthan 2018 started a new process of rekindling Bharatiya wisdom for rejuvenation of Bharat.