Law court

Civics

Civics concerns the principles and structures through which humans interact with each other and the state to ensure a harmonious, peaceful and flourishing society. At its core sit our duties and responsibilities towards each other, the natural world alongside the educational and familial institutions we need to fulfill them. 

Featured Speakers

Lou Marinoff
Divya Prabha
Manoj Ladwa
Acharya Vidyabhaskar
Matthew McManus
Aniruddha Rajput

Can Rights be Sustainable Without a Set of Duties?

We are joined by Lou Marinoff: Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York, Aniruddha Rajput: Member of the United Nations International Law Commision and Matthew McManus: Professor of Politics at Whitman College, Washington. Our expert panel explore: can human rights be inalienable, or must they be coupled with a set of duties and responsibilities? Chaired by Manoj Ladwa: Founder of India Inc.

 

Closing Address: Having brought together so many experts from around the world, what have been the major themes and ideas to have emerged from the discussions and fireside conversations? What has the conference told us about the direction of the world, and how we might overcome the challenges that we face? Above all, what are the Sustainable Narratives that will serve us best into an uncertain future?

 

Fireside Conversation: Sustainable Ethics

Join Acharya Vidyabhaskar, head of Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy at the Omkarananda ashram in Switzerland, as he explores the moral maze of sustainable ethics. Human beings strive to lead an ethical life. Principles which underpin our experience of the world, ourselves in it, and shape the decisions we make. The world, to a large extent can be said to represent the combined ethics of humanity. Hosted by Vichaar Manthan Fellow - Abhilasha Kakkar.

Obesity - The silent pandemic; who is responsible?

Currently, 28.7% of adults in England are classed as obese and 35.6% are classed as being overweight. These figures are increasing year on year. Why is that so? Obesity is a complex problem; delving beyond the old tenants of diet and exercise is key to understanding and solving the growing challenge we now face in Britain. How do economic, social, and cultural factors play a role? Should the government be held responsible, or is it ultimately a case of individual liberty?

Is my Mother tongue worth preserving ?

Languages play a crucial role in our daily lives. They are not only our primary medium for communication, education, and social integration, but also lie at the heart of each person's unique identity, cultural history, and memory. Despite this, out of 7,117 languages worldwide, we are losing 1 language every 3.5 months. Why is this? Should we preserve the languages of our ancestors? With strong evidence showing that bilingual and multilingual children flourish more in society, now is the time to look at how we are building our future generations and what role, if any, our mother tongues must play. Join us as we earnestly explore a topic relevant to each one of us with Dr Ram Vaidya, a Sanskrit scholar, a linguist and an international coordinator for Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.

Sustainability - A Dharmic Perspective

What is Sustainability? According to the UN, sustainability is defined as ‘a paradigm for thinking about the future in which environmental, societal and economic considerations are balanced in the pursuit of an improved quality of life’. This wholistic view of sustainability sounds like an obvious approach to living but seems to fall short in this melange of modernity.

 

In reality, we live in an ever-changing complex social and political environment where market led economies dominate. Driven by limitless consumption and consumer demand, the pursuit of a sustainable lifestyle seems futile. To what extent should we rely on governments, shareholder-led enterprises or NGOs to bring about this balance? Who is responsible to ensure that we live in a world that is sustainable, one that not only secures human life, but all life on this planet?

Chair: Rajashekar Asireddy

Speaker: Dr Sachin Nandha

Is my Mother tongue worth preserving ?

Death, a fact of life, is one we cannot escape. The knowledge of our own or a loved one’s mortality can significantly dictate our thoughts and actions. From funerals and mourning traditions to wills and inheritance, can exploring our attitudes towards death give us insights into fundamental questions about life?

 

What is a good death? Should we talk about death more? And are we friends with death? What can Dharma teach us about this inevitability?

Join us as we explore these questions and find out if ultimately the answers can lead us to a more fulfilled life.

Chair: Daksha Raval

Speaker 1: Divya Prabha Ji

Speaker 2: Sidharthji Krishna

Speaker 3: Dr Ramesh Pattni

Are Schools Responsible For Building Character?

"Education, education, education." In 1996 Tony Blair, the future prime minister laid out his top priorities if he came to office. But what to teach?

 

Beyond academic and practical considerations, does it fall to schools to nurture the next generation on the ideals of character and the values by which to navigate life? If so what should those values be?

 

Todays children will shape the society of the future, what kind of Character would allow this society to flourish? And are schools responsible for developing this character?

 

Join us in conversation with Madhvi Haria to unpack these questions and explore the topic further.

hair: Gaurang Bhatt

Speaker: Madhvi Haria

The 'Greyness' of Being Good

81% of people believe humans are inherently good, but what does this mean? Our current ideas around “good” have emerged from a rich tapestry of debate, discussion and lived experience from some of the greatest minds in history and are by no means set in stone. From Utilitarianism and Kantianism to Dharma we look back, and project forwards, to explore our ideas of "being good" and how they shape our behaviour, culture and society.

 

Join us to unpack these questions and explore the topic further.

Chair: Pavni Lakhani

Speaker: Brahmacharini Shripriya

Speaker: Kushal Mehra

What is Beauty?

We all crave beauty in our lives. Every culture has a manifest idea of what beauty is. We can, some say, find beauty in everything; from art and architecture to people and landscapes. Yet, what is beauty, and why do we all crave it?

 

A survey shows that 90% of all women aged 15 to 64 worldwide want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest (Etcoff et al, 2005). This finding suggests that body dissatisfaction is a global phenomenon and people do not feel ‘beautiful’. Vichaar Manthan asks, “what is beauty?“? Is it in the ‘eye of the beholder’, or is it in our values and culture? With people becoming increasingly conscious about how they perceive themselves, how can we co-create a society where we can all live content and beautiful lives?

 

Join us, as we explore the essential nature of beauty, and how we might live beautifully.

Chair: Dishita Solanki

Speaker: Siddhartha Krishna

How To Deal With Uncertainty?

Human beings are often described as ‘creatures of habit’, largely based on the underlying premise that we crave a sense of order to feel in control. Yet, life is inherently uncertain and this uncertainty can trigger anxiety within us. How do we build our own capabilities in order to manage such uncertainty? Does British society provide an environment to facilitate the development of these capabilities? What is the dharmic approach to deal with uncertainty and does current Hindu culture align with this?

Chair: Abhilasha Kakkar

Speakers: Dr Mihir Meghani

Elderly: Who Cares?

Who Has The Moral Duty Of Care For The Elderly, in Modern Britain? Since 2001, care homes have seen an 11% increase in their overall population aged 65 or over.

 

On whom does the moral responsibility fall to accommodate our increasingly aging population? We may have learnt to preserve life, but have we sacrificed love in our efforts? Are our elderly parents merely a burden on state resources or an integral part of our children's upbringing? What are the effects on either party of grandparents and grandchildren coinciding?

 

Hear the insights of our expert witnesses at out next panel discussion, exploring our moral duty to our predecessors.