Centre for Multicultural Studies
Centre for Multicultural Studies
Chairperson: Dr Rajendra Prasad Chairperson, Delhi University UNESCO Club - A Chapter of National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt of India
‘Multiculturalism’ is the new buzz word of our times. It is a philosophy which allows for the possibility of different cultures inhabiting the same space and the endeavour is to make sure that there is no dominant national culture which claims a monopoly over truth.
Starting from the 1970s in Canada where ‘Multiculturalism’ took its first jittery step on the high road of history, to now when it is being increasingly accepted as an alternative to monocultural imaginations of nationalism, the world has undergone epochal changes.
The world is in a flux. The comforting ideas of the past no longer evoke the same loyalty or reverence. Liberalism may have vanquished its arch-enemy, but it is certainly not basking in the afterglow of victory. Identities--some old, some new-- are rearing heads everywhere, and people are getting acutely aware of their cultural moorings. Democracy and Liberalism are being challenged on grounds of perpetuating an uncontested rationality. Diverse cultural communities no longer feel enthused about citizenship under the rubric of nationalism. Rights need to be redefined in the present milieu as there is a greater acknowledgement of cultural diversity. It is the curious case of the old being dead and the new not yet being born.
We at Ramjas College want to do our bit and we propose to create a Centre for Multicultural Studies to help understand what is going on.
The first step towards understanding is discussion and dialogue. One of the most important activities of the proposed Centre would be to organize seminars and workshops on issues related to Multiculturalism and its impact. Our effort would be to call eminent scholars from around the globe to enlighten us on the varied nuances of Multiculturalism. These seminars would also serve to spread awareness regarding the possibility of an alternative vision of society and nation.
Students would be encouraged to undertake projects on issues relating to Multiculturalism. We believe that education serves no purpose if it does not change mindsets and does not challenge old and established norms. Theory and practice are parts of the same continuum and students doing some serious brain-storming would ensure that ideas leave their ivory towers and get mingled in the dust and grime of reality.
The proposed Centre would have an Advisory Board comprising distinguished academics, activists and experts who would be there to guide us all along the way. We would be in constant consultation with them to make sure that we steer our ship right.
We would look for all possible sources of funding. This includes primarily government sources like University of Delhi, University Grants Commission, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of External Affairs. However we would strive for sponsorships and grants from private channels and donations from industrial houses and individuals.The idea is to create a corpus fund which would help us to apportion money for all the activities that the proposed Centre for Multicultural studies would undertake.