BPHES’ CSRD Institute of Social Work and Research, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra
5th International Conference on Spirituality and Social Work
Building Community Resilience for Sustainable Development
February 19th – 21st, 2016
The fifth international conference on building community resilience for sustainable development held at BPHES’ CSRD Institute of Social Work and Research, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra on 19th to 21st February 2016 is the fifth in the series of international conferences on the major theme of spirituality and social work. It is being organized by BPHES’ CSRD ISWR with the support of Planning and Development Department, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune under Quality Improvement Programme and Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi. Resilience and sustainable development are inevitable expressions of spirituality in social service. The purpose of this conference is to show case the successful experiments and research findings in the field of resilient and sustainable development inspired by spirituality.
Altogether 59 registered participants including 12 international participants attended the conference. There were 12 conference sessions including 7 plenary sessions. There were 17 invited speakers for the plenary sessions who presented scientific papers and 13 paper presentations in the 5 technical sessions.
The inaugural session began with lighting of the lamp at 11.15 AM followed by the prayer song ‘There is a candle’ by the CSRD students’ group. Prayer song was followed by the theme song ‘we are the world’ presented by the Institute choir.
Welcome address was given by Prof. Suresh Pathare, conference director. Adaptive behaviour of individuals and communities is the key of sustainable development. The entire world is exposed to a large number of manmade and natural disasters which necessitate the development of coping and resilience skills on the part of the vulnerable communities. In this conference, 18 invited talks and 53 paper presentations are planned. He welcomed the chief guest, Dr. Rajendra Singh, Rajendra Singh, Magsaysay Awardee, Water Conservationist & ‘Waterman of India’, Keynote speaker, Vishantie Sewpaul, Professor, Zayad University, Dubai and the chairperson of the session, NM Aston, Former Chairperson, BPHE Society, all the resource persons, plenary speakers, paper presenters, the participants and guests.
Dr. Rajendra Singh gave his inaugural address. Today spirituality has great significance, because we are in a critical situation created by greedy development, displacement and alienation. Forced migration is due to climate change (flood and draught). Tarun Bharat Sangh is on work since 1985. Controlling education is optimum utilization of natural resources. People do not need education and medicine, the greedy development. What is required is love and affection of the nature. Aquifer is unconfined and confined. Spirituality is required to integrate humanity and nature. Controlling education is human centred. What is required is development of entire nature including man. This is spiritual education. Prevent water from evaporation, allow it to percolate into confined aquifers and rejuvenate the rivers. It is spiritual action in 1200 villages, 7 rivers rejuvenated by people’s action, not by government and corporate funding. Macro cloud formation in the sea and micro cloud formation in the water bodies created in desert. Rain shadow areas got converted into rain fed areas. Today we have challenges like encroachment, exploitation and pollution of water bodies. We need water literacy, spiritual education, converting red heat to greet heat by creating natural small scale water bodies in the desert and disciplined use of water.
Keynote address was given by Professor Vishantie Sewpaul on the theme of Social Work Towards an undivided humanity. Undivided humanity is the spirituality. Vibrant, locally viable social work interventions are the need of the time. Dichotomy between western and Afro-Asian values, culture and neo-liberalism is visible. Authoritarian, Eurocentric and patriarchal values are prevailing realities. Western imperialism is to be distinguished from western values. Respect for unity in diversity is the distinguishing characteristic of social work. The obligation of those in power is to protect and those powerless is to respect the powerful. Nothing is written in stone. Culture is made and remade every day. Social work sees people above profit. Taken for granted assumption is the convergence between democracy and the market, while in reality market and democracy are poles apart. Democracy is for human rights, social justice and people’s participation; while market is for insensitivity to inequality, profit and exploitation. Being for the other is standing for the undivided humanity. Justification for the self begins with the other. Our responses to the call of the other define ourselves. Integrated social, economic and cultural interventions are required towards protecting human rights. We have some Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi in all of us. Our world is burdening. The power of one, now and many for right action to save the world is the need of the hour.
Chairperson’s address was delivered by Prof. NM Aston. He thanked both the resource persons for the intellectual feasts. The world is at the verge of another crisis – between fragmentation and unification. There is little rainfall in Rajastan (8-10 days a year), but no suicide, for the people take up the task of repairing the world. It is the reverse migration taking place in Rajastan. Farmers have come back and rejuvenated the rivers. He thanked the director, the staff and students of CSRD for the organization of this mega event.
Vote of thanks was expressed by Mrs. Snehal Divekar, programme coordinator, CSRD-ISWR. She thanked all the guests, organizing team and the commentator, Dr. Kamalakar Bhatt. The inaugural session came to an end at 1.30 PM.
After the lunch the first conference session started at 2.30 PM. This plenary session was chaired by Professor Vishantie Sewpaul and the paper presenters were Dr. Kuruvilla Pandikkattu, Professor, JnanadeepVidhyapeeth, Pune, India and Vishwas Yeole, Founder President of Clean river committee, Pune, India. Professor Kuruvilla Pandikkattu spoke on ‘Spirituality, resilience and social work: Call to draw from our inner resources’. Nietzsche ‘if you have a why to live for, you can live with any how.’ Resilience is inner strength. Context, will to power (Nietzsche), will to meaning (Frankle). Ten farmers commit suicide in Maharashtra daily. Will to power (Nietzche), will to pleasure (Freud) and will to meaning (Victor Frankl). Logo-therapy consists of freedom of will, will to meaning and meaning of life. Spiritual resources drawing from our deeper self, listen to ourselves and others. Be sensitive, compassionate and cooperative is spirituality. Spirituality of living together ‘if we do not live together as brothers and sisters, we will perish as fools’ – Martin Luther Jr. Resilience is ability to bounce back, ability to deal with success and failure (equanimity) and learn from them. Spirituality is becoming wiser and joyful. Resilience is capacity to bounce back quickly. Poor people and farmers elsewhere are more resilient than others except in Maharashtra.
Dr. Vishwas Yeole, Founder President of Clean river committee, Pune, India spoke about ‘Jal Dindi: A Movement to Integrate Positive Health, Environment (specially Water) and Science with Tradition, Culture and Adhyatma (Spirituality)’. Being a gynecologist, he wondered how complex is the human growth process in the womb. In just one generation gap, the river with potable water (Mulay) has turned into sewer. ‘I am not scared of falling into water, but of falling into this dirty water’ is the opening story of rivers transforming into sewerages. Water does not get segregated by state, caste or community. If there is no river, there will be no prosperity. Jaldindi in 2002 is Jalyatra to Pandarpur along water alone. If every varqari plants one plant at Pandarpur, at least 10,00,000 plants will be planted every year. Spirituality is discovering the black and white between tree and man where the interchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide take place. If there is no river, no water, there is no life. Jalvarqari is for that cause. Religion is from viyog to yog, an excellence of action. Love and suffering are very close.
The chairperson commented that the physicians taking care of psychosocial and spiritual dimension of health would better humanize the world. The participants commented that the farmers’ suicides have become not only fashion, but glorified due to hefty compensation packages. Another question from participant was regarding the reason for higher rate of farmers’ suicide in richer part of the country. Answering to this query, the speaker placed the general observation that the richer parts of the globe like South Korea, Japan, Scnandinavian countries and states like Maharashtra and Kerala, have the suicide rate of 30 per lakh population. It is not the prosperity or poverty that cause suicide, but relative prosperity. It is not the expanding desert, but the expansion of interior desert that is problem today. Every action has the fundamental purpose of harnessing inner happiness available with us. Travelling along river is a spiritual yatra – 12 days of journey, realizing the inner harmony and unity with the nature. Social science is as complex as medicine. Concluding the session, the chairperson congratulated and thanked presenters. The session ended at 4 PM.
At 4.30 the second conference session began. Dr. Premkumar from CRHP chaired the session. Col. Baldev Singh Choudhary presented his paper ‘Harnessing Potential of Ex-Servicemen for Promotion of Sustainable Livelihood and Development in Remote Areas’. Ex-servicemen include the retired army, navy and air force men. Defense personnel are 22.5 lacs and increase by 0.6 to 0.7 lacs annually – 44 % retire between 40-50 years, 36 % retire between 30-40 and 13 % between 25-30 years. The retired servicemen cannot survive on meager pension. Ex-service men are highly resilient, well trained, resourceful, patriotic and withstand 60 degree to -60 degree centigrade. India has maximum variety or terrain and the servicemen are trained to withstand any adversity. Indian mission in UN is always highly appreciated. Indian army has a positive role in Bhutan.
Ex-service men are extremely useful for building resilient and sustainable communities. They are skilled and experienced, better morale, cost effective, beneficial to public and private sectors, cost effective, less attrition rate (they need stability and they do not shift their job), better human resources, resilient and talented workforce for critical areas of our economy. They need not be paid at par with other skilled force. They need to be paid only the difference between the pension and the actual pay for the specified job. When there is railway strike or postal strike the army has taken over and run the business. The soldiers can be employed in water harvesting, micro hydel scheme, social forestry, rural housing, learning centres, community help, resuscitation and recharging of rural wells etc. Servicemen know how to harvest water on hilltops in deserts and any tough terrain. Other fields where ex servicemen can be employed are adventure, social activism, war widows, health and hygiene, exposure, youth & community development, women empowerment, learning centres with computer kiosk, etc. Every year 1200 soldiers die in India due to fighting insurgency, war and rescue operations. Servicemen are well disciplined and mission accomplishment is their task.
Manisha Pimpalkhare from St. Mira’s college department of economics presented her paper on ‘Social Protection for Domestic Workers: Addressing the Vulnerability?’ Paid domestic work does not fit into industrial classification. It is often multi tasking ‘work like no other, work like any other’. Invisibility of work, lack of status, legal stigmatization and falling through the cracks, hierarchical relationships of private households are some of the characteristics of domestic work. They are highly vulnerable, not counted as workers, victims of feudal mindset, gendered perceptions (its is women’s domain), lack of training, lack of regulation, poor work conditions, and above all indefinite number (4.2 million to 19 million). ILO convention of Domestic workers was made in 2011, yet to be ratified by India (22 countries ratified). Provisions are partially made for prevention of child domestic labour, training for domestic work in Delhi, policy on domestic labour, minimum wages for domestic workers in 2012 by 10 states, piece rate or hourly wage or part time job, maternity benefit, funeral assistance (2000), one time social security measure of Rs. 10,000, i-cards and welfare board in Maharashtra. Current issues are lack of tri-partite agreements and lack of involvement of real employers in the welfare measures.
During the discussion hour, the participants raised the issues of one rank pension, armed forces’ special power act empowers the soldiers to enter any house, search people and families for illegal arms, gender discrimination in army jobs, disparity in expenditure for defense and social sector, whether reemployment of defense personnel create unemployment of the youth, the scope for employing experts in warfare in civil society, scope of employing transgendered people in domestic work or defense, limitation of employing women in war front (danger and possible shame on the nation when caught as war prisoners), need for treating domestic work as a profession and need for unionism for domestic workers. The chairperson concluded the session by thanking the presenters.
At 6 PM a documentary of sustainable development was screened followed by a couple of cultural programme. At 7.30 PM dinner was served and the day’s activities were concluded
On 20th February 2016, Saturday, the second day of the conference began with the third plenary session chaired by Prof. Sanjai Bhatt consisting two papers – ‘Resilience among Tribes: Communities’ Informal Care and Welfare Systems’ by Bipin Jojo, Professor at Centre for Social Justice and Governance, School of Social Work, TISS, Mumbai and ‘Resilience of Flood Affected People in Bangladesh’ by Tulshi Kumar Das, Professor, Department of Social Work, Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh.
Dr. Bipin Jojo started his presentation with a video clip ‘Gaon Chodab Nahi’, a folk song exposing the struggles of the ‘adivasi’ communities across the country. The aboriginals across the world are put to untold struggles to protect their land, water and forests. There is an informal security network in tribal communities taking care of the economic and social needs. Currently such informal welfare systems are breaking down. ‘Gan Pancha’ is an informal organization like self help group in Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. The community members gather once a week to meet the needs of a particular family having certain special occasion. People render volunteer service reducing the financial burden of that particular family. Social workers could identify such support systems and integrate them in their professional practice. There was an attempt to revive ‘Gan Pancha’ in some tribal communities. These are people driven sustainable development practices.
Dr. Tulshi Kumar Das made his presentation on ‘Resilience of Flood Affected People in Bangladesh’. Four fifth of the landmass of the country remain vulnerable to flood causing threat to 70% of the biomass. It has 230 rivers, Himalayas in one side, conjoining of Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna, backwaters from the Bay of Bengal and summer as well as winter floods. Floods remain regular activities for at least 6 months a year. People do not have any other alternatives, but learn to be resilient. Plants remain under water for 6 months and remain alive for the remaining 6 months. Several case studies were presented by the resource person depicting the resilience as well as vulnerabilities of the victims of the flood. Shifting of occupation and seasonal migration are some coping strategies. Agriculturists become fishermen and daily wage worker. Dormant resilience is shown by the people when facing crisis.
Prof. Sanjai Bhatt wrapped up the ideas presented by the resource persons. According to him resilience is a natural coping phenomenon. Silence is there in resilience which is nothing but recreating silence for rejuvenating. Participants raised several queries concerning scope for flood control measures by Bangladesh government, issues of heterogeneity in Bangladesh, scope for safe displacement for vulnerable people, tribal resilience in neo liberal society (accumulation by disposition of David Harvey), the scope for flourishing and development beyond mere resilience,
Answering the queries, Dr. Bipin Jojo explained the process of decolonization. Dr. Das explained the worst situation of flood affected Bangladesh, washing away of toilets, tube wells (source of drinking water) and all the living structures and limited scope for rehabilitation.
By thanking the resource persons, Prof. Bhatt concluded the session at 10.15 AM. The participants dispersed for tea.
Fourth conference session began at 10.30 AM. It was chaired by Rev. Dr. Nelson Falcao. The paper presenters were KRF Azafah, Asst. Lecturer, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and Manish Jha, Professor and Dean of School of Social Work, TISS, Mumbai. Ms. Azafah presented her paper on ‘A Sociological Study on Reintegration of Teenage Suicide Attempters in Sri Lanka’. Fourth ranked country in suicide rate (28.8 per 1,00,000). Global rate is 11.4. She based her study on 20 attempted suicides. Major reasons for suicde were relationship issues, grief at the loss of a loved one, examination pressure, unemployment and addictions. Most of the time, it is to get the attention and a cry for help. Only one per cent of the students get admission in Government University. Others are private university. There is a rush for admission. Need for integration into the same society where he or she attempted suicide. Experience of hospitalization is traumatic because of merely biomedical approach. Reintegration includes keeping the fact of attempt secret, shifting the college or residence, keeping them away from kin and kiths and psychological and social approach.
Prof. Manish Jha presented his paper on ‘Community Organizing and problematic of ‘Political subject’. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly, elasticity and ability to spring back to the original shape after being stressed for a while. Resilience is coping without challenging the political framework. There is no effort for transformation and change. Why not resilience means effort for change and it becomes political. Resilience can’t be so romantic as transformation. Social workers are criticized as disengaged clinicians and managers of development. Community development is a government construct or building and developing community. Community is at the receiving end of social policy and programmes. Why not be agents of political change? Critical consciousness, conscientisation of subject, claim making subject, subaltern consciousness is the subject matter. Subjects who are acted upon become political subject which is difficult because of gender divides and caste / class divides. Questioning the statusquo is destabilizing, challenging our value system, uncomfortable especially when we are in the comfort zone of the statusquo. It challenges everything we have been practicing day in day out. The community becomes political subject and claim makers. The state becomes nervous when the poor makes claims. The so called recipients of the state policy make claims and become people’s issues. The high or middle class claims are citizens’ demands. Claim making is prescribed form (historically and eventually admissible), tolerated claims (employment and security may be admitted at least allowed for claim) or forbidden (autonomy, demands by the extremists). Community is a romantic term. If we do not become part of the solution, you should be part of the problem. Neutrality is a trap. You have either to be for change or against change. History will be written about neutral people who damaged the society.
Questions raised by participants included the suicide rate first ranking countries, methodology of Sri Lankan study, causes of suicide, preventive measures of suicide, neutrality regarding the history written by the dominant class, undoing privileges, etc.
Answering the questions, the first ranking countries are Scandinavian countries, teenagers were 50-50 as far as gender is concerned, reintegration of teenage suicide attempters is more important than focusing on causes and consequences and limitation of counselling in bio physical perspective.
Regarding neutrality and subaltern perspective, our attempts should be to bring the marginalized from the outskirts to the central stage politically. Making claims is easier than losing the privileges. If admitted the higher and the middle class will have to face harsh realities. Social work profession has been acknowledging the positive efforts, but slow.
The chairperson thanked the presenters and the session was concluded at 11.30 AM. A photo session followed.
The fifth plenary session started at 11.40 AM chaired by Bp. Pradeep Kamble, Bishop of Nashik Diocese of Church of North India. The speakers were Pamela Trotman, B.Soc. Wk., Dip. Ed. AASW Reconciliation Ambassador, Australia and Joshua Aston, Assistant Professor of Law & Dean – Students’ Welfare, Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar. Ms. Pamela made her presentation on ‘Resilience and Vulnerability are conjoined twins: An exploration of lessons from Social Work practice on learning to work with both’. Like the tree rejuvenated and regenerated, everyone has the capacity for resilience and survival. Resilience is the ability to adapt, even change and some essential part of self. Challenges to effective practice with survivors are managing aftershocks (traumatic memory, breakdown of social structures, moral codes, loss of locus of being, emotional and physical and spiritual fatigue. Strategies to maintain emotional and spiritual balance are part of resilience – belief in the human capacity to regenerate and restore in body, mind and spirit, confidence in one’s abilities and knowledge, slf awareness and ability to remain grounded, patience and the willingness to pace with one’s efforts, accept with grace one’s own frailties and imperfections, knowing when to rest and willingness to do so and work in collaboration wherever possible,
Dr. Joshua Aston presented his paper ‘Advocacy for Building Community Resilience through Sustainable Development’. Sustainable development is the most effective strategy for building community resilience. Sustainable development depends on people’s participation. The challenges for sustainable development are deterioration of environment and climatic changes. Adapt, repair and renovate the environment. Spirituality helps building resilient and sustainable societies. There are challenges in using spirituality for sustainable development. The main challenge is spiritual diversity. Social policy and government security measures do contribute towards building resilient and sustainable communities. Community resilience and sustainable development are interlinked. Transformation is a strategy for building community resilience. Protection of environment is the key for sustainable development. Improvement in the access of the people to basic services and empowerment of the downtrodden are essential for sustainable development. Adaptive governance practices of government and non government agencies are useful building resilient and sustainable communities. Motivation and commitment are parts of spirituality contributing to resilience.
Questions from the floor included concerning the hesitation of Australian government to give citizenship to the aboriginals, difficulty in building community resilience, the scope of spirituality for building resilience, transforming common sense to better sense, using governance to bring forth resilience, standardization of indicators of spirituality,
While answering the queries, the resource persons admitted the fact of marginalization of the aboriginals in Australia, role of spirituality in knowing, being and doing, metaphor of religion the banana leaf and spirituality is the banana, resilience begins with individuals and grows with community (question is whether chicken first or egg first) and governance of the least and scope for inclusive growth.
Ms. Pamela shared about the death of her father, a soil conservationist. There was an interesting observation from the floor concerning the racial discrimination going on in the conference floor.
While concluding the session, the chairperson stated the three principles of liberty, justice and peace. He thanked the paper presenters and the session was over at 1.00 PM.
After the lunch, part of a documentary ‘Mother Teresa’ was screened. The first part was screened at 8.45 AM today.
Post lunch session (sixth plenary) was held at 2.30 chaired by Prof. NM Aston. The speakers of the session were Rev. Dr. Nelson Falcao, St. Johns Church, Bhingar and Chandrakant Puri, Chair Professor, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Contemporary Studies, University of Mumbai.
Rev. Dr. Nelson presented his paper on ‘Connections between Spiritual Faith, Core Belief and Resilience’. There is common spirituality and inner core of beliefs in all the religions – Islam, Hindu and Christianity. If you want life, you should give it. If you want to heal, you must go to the sick. If you want to give peace, go to the place of war. Faith is connected with good work – example of Mother Teresa. Whole humanity is one family. We have one God and one family. Faith, hope and love are the expressions of spirituality. War time service by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa was spiritual service, hardly taking any payment. Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King were deeply spiritual and dedicated life for service. Without God, sustainable development would not work. We need a triangle of creator (God), co-creator (man) and the nature. Sustainable development is a balance between these three players. A good religious person can contribute towards sustainable development. ‘When fear knocks at the door, tell faith to open the door and you will find none there’. ‘Worry looks around, sorrow looks back and faith looks up’- Mahatma Gandhi.
Questions from the floor included the scope of spirituality in today’s world, meaning of love, role of epistemic humility, practicing spirituality in the real world of practice, relationship between faith in God and spirituality, spirituality of criticizing other ideologies, relevance of communism today, faith in God or development, superstition, faith and spirituality, loss of tolerance in the diversities of faith systems, etc.
Answering the questions, the resource person opined that Communist ideologies are dangerous. We need to find some common ground for working with different religions. True love is that which is detached, not attached. ‘Namarupa’ is that differentiate between the people. Essentially they are very close. There are true and false humility. If there is only ‘puja’ without ‘seva’, it is false religion. Communism is narrow ideology. World is not created for man. Whole nature is to be taken into consideration. Pure communism is utopian. When applied in real world, there occurs problem. There are no true atheists. We need to educate people continuously against superstitions. Purushasukta is not about discrimination, but about the fact that all come from the same God.
Dr. Chandrakant Puri presented his paper on ‘Building Resilience and Inclusive Communities in India: Reflections from the Field’. Resilience is the tendency to recover from the shocks, inclusive growth for sustainable development. From the experiences of working with Dalits and the nomadic tribes in Maharashtra I wonder the relevance of ‘resilience’. Whom do we work with? – the victims or the perpetrator. The social workers and the government are engaged in intervention with the victims not with the oppressors. A vast majority of the people is deprived and the agencies are working with that majority, while the real change is required in the minority of the oppressors. The study on the nomadic people of 100 villages reveals that sorry plight of the displaced ‘adivasi’ communities – migration, loss of land and resources, rapes, forceful displacement, etc. Inclusive growth and inclusive development are two different issues. The system is making people unequal. There are a lot of contradictions in the present system. What is the relevance of inclusive development? Will any sustainable development take place here? Atrocities against the Dalits are increasing. ‘You would get justice in court, but court is superstitious. We need to work with possibilities for being positive. We need to work with the grassroots. My 20 years’ experience is given in ‘Karyakartha’s diary’. Keep doing, give pressure zones, no tolerance zone, sensitize the police, sensitize the tribal, begging community, create a cadre of young people to resist and protect themselves and unite the hearts of the people (not minds). Minds are divisive with ideologies, but hearts unify.
Questions from the floor included issues of value base and value change, complex process of challenging power structure and inequality, framing a vulnerability index, the constitutional status of the so called 11 % nomadic tribes, measures of empowering the marginalized, questioning the existing value system from structural, oppressive or radical social work perspective, etc.
Answering the questions, the resource person, raised whose values are we talking about? If we start questioning, we are targeted. The social work profession is also caste based. Process oriented social work is going on. We need to think about the changing the whole perspective on social work. A Brahmin would never talk about caste, because, he is the beneficiary of the system. NT belongs to OBC. We are talking about a third schedule for ‘adivasis’. Challenging the power structure is difficult, but changes have always come because, someone challenged someone. If there were no challenges, the 73rd and 74th amendments would not have been a reality. We need to talk about value based, inclusive development of the last person. Gandhian perspective of Antyodaya – development of the last person – should become a reality.
Concluding the session, the chairperson quoted ‘all religions are different languages god spoke to man’. All the religious devotees should be service minded. This conference would converge our ideas and energies towards resilience and sustainable development.
After the tea break, two technical sessions (sessions 7th and 8th) were held simultaneously at Lecture halls 1 & 2. The seventh session was chaired by Prof. Ganshyam Yelne. The paper presenters were Meera Kulkarni, Venkat Pulla, Bilal Khan and Rima Sengupta.
Meera Kulkarni presented her paper on ‘Case Study on the Mahatma: Giant among the ordinary’. Venkat Pulla & Bilal Khan presented her paper on ‘The ‘poor contest’ to habitat – A case of urban rights movement in Mumbai’. Rima Sengupta presented her paper on ‘Recent Development in Notified Area Council, Konark, Odisha, India: A Transformative Approach towards Sustainable Growth’.
The eighth session was held at Lecture hall 2 simultaneously with the 7th session at 4.30 PM. It was chaired by Mr. PS Patil. The paper presenters were Ms. Cherryl Kolhe, Ms. Priyanka Patil and Dr. Jaimon Varghese. Ms. Cherryl Kolhe presented her paper on ‘Tuberculosis in Prisons: The Case of India’. She presented the findings of her secondary data based study regarding the prevalence of TB in prisons of Maharashtra. She made an exhaustive study on articles published on the incidence of TB and suggested several measures to prevent the spread of TB in Indian prisons.
Ms. Priyanka presented her paper on ‘School based social work – a case study’. She conducted a field based experimental study on government primary school at Surat, compiled the findings this study and prepared her presentation based on that. It was a study on teacher empowerment, competency building, leadership building based on 19 parameters of teacher efficiency. She used an international tool for her study. She also shared her experience of her present placement, citing the challenges and difficulties.
Dr. Jaimon Varghese presented her paper on ‘Spiritual Social Work – a Strategy for Resilient and Sustainable Development’. He explained the concepts of resilience and sustainable development, history of spirituality, the concept of spiritual social work, spirituality and resilience, spirituality and sustainable development and finally presented some findings of his field study conducted on post graduate students of social work.
At 6.15 PM the technical sessions were concluded.
After a short break, the feedback session was conducted at the lecture hall 1 moderated by Prof. Suresh Pathare, the conference director and Prof. Sanjai Bhatt the chief advisor of the international conference. The issues discussed included the prospective theme for the 6th international conference. Indigenous social work was the first theme suggested from the floor. Participants gave feedbacks on the organization of the present conference, the hospitality, time management regarding sessions, resource persons, quality of the sessions, responses to the queries of the participants before the conference and during the conference, transportation etc. There was a recommendation that more questions may be raised by the students. The feedback session was concluded with the remarks from Prof. Sanjai Bhatt at 7.15 PM.
The ninth session of the conference started at 9 AM on the third day, 21st February 2016 chaired by Dr. Premkumar, CRHP. The plenary speakers of the session were Prof. Venkat Pulla, Coordinator, Social Work Discipline, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia, S B Kolte, Director General, BPHE Society’s IMS-CDR, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra and Gopalrao Mirikar: Senior Journalist, Ahmednagar, MS (India).
Prof. Venkat Pulla presented his paper on ‘A Template for Green Social Work’. There is difference in greening social work and green social work. The central theme of green social work is well-being of human kind, environmental centring and sustainable approaches. Environment, human being and human services are the chief concerns. Processes are reaffirming our fundamental faith in human values, communities as the means to achieve sustainable goals and community engagement as the underlying process that enables our journey. Sustainable life is conjoining full participation, engagement of people, life as right and democratic decision making. A displaced person keeps on displacing himself for want of daily bread. We look for peaceful solution not a sustainable solution. The displacement of dwelling place does not guarantee the replacement of livelihood avenues. Life as a right is not guaranteed anywhere in this world including the developed countries. We seem to have an agenda over the people not with the people. There is nothing called becoming sustainable – either it is sustainable of unsustainable and no midway. Concept of sustainability is straightforward. Sustainability is not debatable, relies on local positive practices. Equality in disposition and rights is valuable. Don’t speak about upliftment. Whose upliftment, if not yours own. You need to embrace not uplift. Discharge our responsibility is all that is needed. Unsustainable behaviours with regard to environment are all prevalent. Societal responses towards unsustainable behaviours are blaming poor, government, blaming the west, god will fix, and expending industries to do it. Our social responses are boredom, addiction, fragmentation, social paralysis, apathy, alienation and anomie. A dialogue for behaviour modification is community engagement.
Questions and comments raised from the floor included a complement to Prof. Venkat Pulla for his courage and resilience as an Indian academician in Australia, clarifications regarding the nomadic people begging in the street, invincibility of the structural arrangement in India, colonial mindset in India, applicability of the values in the field, whether to ignore the fact the slum dwellers wish to remain always in the slum and scope for green social work in India.
Answering the questions, the resource person remarked the sustainability is either total or nil and there is no midway. Hypocrisy is also a value people live by. The overall ecological impact of displacement in urban areas is often underestimated. Here we have highest tolerance towards corruption and zero tolerance towards corruption by the poor. The poor learn from others the ways of corruption. With humility, if we go to the people, they would share their plan with you. Greening is personal change within you and green social work is the declared agenda outside.
The second presentation of the day was given by Prof. SB Kolte on ‘Building Community Resilience for Sustainable Development’. Prof. Kolte began his talk with the introduction of his close association with the Institute for the past 45 years. He spoke about concept of sustainable development, economic structure, status of rural India and the responses. Concept of sustainability includes environment, economy and society. Focus is getting better that getting bigger. It is people centred, quality of human life based on conservation. It is a relationship between dynamic economic and ecological system where human life, culture and ecology develop. Environmental action is essential for sustainability. Indian economy has a growth rate of 7.5 (China, 6.3 and USA, 2.3) with the GDP share of Agriculture (18 %), Industry (26 %) and Service (55%). Environmental and population issues in India are crucial especially depleting water resources. Socio economic caste census 2011 (first done in 1932) reveals [640 districts covered, 23.39 crores of households surveys (17.39 cr in rural)] that 49 % rural households show signs of poverty (lack of basic amenities). According to planning commission, 25.7 % are BPL. 51 % manual casual labour, 13.25 % live in one room with kachcha house, 30 % rural households have no lands, 7 lakh households into begging and charity and 4 lakh in ragpicking. 96 % children (6-14 years) enrolled in schools, but 36 % are illiterate, 64 % of the school enrolled are dropout, 5 % are in government service, 1.11 % in public sector, 3.57 % in private sector, 30 % in cultivation and 1.61 % in own enterprises. UNDP HR index for India is 136th. Farmers’ suicide from 1995-2013 are 60,750. Most of the loan defaulters are big industrialists. Number of billioners in India is 1.96 laks in 2013 and 2014 (2.50 lakhs) an annual increase of 27 %. If our GDP is increasing, who is benefiting out of it? Challenges, government response and NGO response are in the conclusion. What can we do? Start with youth, educate them and sensitise them (youth from rural and urban areas). Train the youth for entrepreneurship is the key for sustainable development. ‘We must be the change we wish to see in the world’, ‘Nature has sufficient to satisfy everyone’s need, not enough to satisfy man’s greed’ – Gandhiji.
Questions from the floor included the disparity in the response with regard the challenges, the role of the existing political system contributing to the present crisis, importance of youth in change, the failure of current policies of the government, growth development versus human development scenario, how do the people enjoy the freedom of development, and how can we have development without deforestation.
Answering the questions, the resource person, commented on the government response and the need to wait and watch. What is going to happen if everybody comes here to make in India and sell anywhere in the world. How to change the mindset of the people is the real issue. The government school teachers do not send their wards to government schools, but private schools. Economic development through persuasion is the doctoral thesis of Prof. Hulbe. We need proper planning to develop without deforestation.
Prof. Gopalrao Mirikar presented his paper on ‘Communication and Social Support Network for Resilient Communities’. Journalist’s role is to inform you what people are doing for you and what you do for others. Spirituality is a process of reformation of personality through communication. Social work is improving the quality of life. Communication is a science of sharing, transferring the knowledge not only downward. The objective of development communication is community development. Business communication on the other hand is promoting business. Communication is interactive, requiring inspiration and clarification. All communications include sender, messenger and receiver. There is a role of messenger in processing the message. Often sender is unaware of the needs of the receiver and vice versa. Right media is essential for effective communication. Communication is bringing the receiver to the level of the understanding of the sender. Communication is a skill to be developed. Networking is sharing of communication to get social support. Resilience, sustainable development, health, governance and spirituality require different types of communication. The media should be people friendly. Online communication and social media have several purposes. Social networking gives social supports like information, emotional support and material support.
Questions from the floor included the short case study of resilient communication, gap between behaviour and development, stopping destructive works of the media.
Answering the questions, the resource person responded what is required is the credibility of the communicator. If there is credibility the message will be taken care of. Positive communication negates which is negative communication. Positive communication is constructive and gives energy for nation building.
In conclusion the chairperson stated that without participation, no sustainable development could occur. There is discrepancy in the findings of various national and international level findings regarding Indian economic and educational scenario. The chairperson concluded the session by thanking all the paper presenters. The session got over at 11.15 AM
After the tea break at 11.30 AM three technical sessions (sessions 10th, 11th and 12th) were held concurrently in three halls (lecture halls 1, 2 and 3). Three presentations were held in lecture hall 1 chaired by Prof. Tulasikumar Das. Atul More presented his paper on ‘The Role of Buddhism to Secure Resilience and Stability- An Analytical View in the Contemporary Context of Sustainable Development’. Kartiki Subakade made his presentation on ‘Role of Social Worker in Resilience of Disaster Management and Risk with special reference to Uttarakhand Disaster, 2013’ and Dr. Yelne Ghanshyam and Dr. Maroti Gaikwad spoke about ‘Development, Displacement and Rehabilitation: A Study of Nanded City’.
At the lecture hall 2, two presentations were held at 11.30 AM under the chairmanship of Dr. Patekar. Muralidharan Reddy presented his paper on ‘Study on Domestic Violence in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh’. Ganesh Rajapure made his presentation on ‘Co-Drive-PD an effective tool for Vulnerability Assessment’.
At the lecture hall 3, two presentations were held at 11.30 AM. It was chaired by Dr. Usha N Lolge. Hatim Fakhruddin Kayumi & Sayyed Mudassar presented their paper on ‘Tibb-e-Nabawi (SAS): A Potent Combination of Food, Herbs and Spirituality for Enhanced Health’. Narsing Gawli presented the paper on ‘Life Skills Development’.
At 1 PM all the technical sessions were concluded.
The valedictory session was held at 1.00 PM.
During the valedictory function, the participants expressed their feedback. Dr. Vishantie Sewpaul expressed her thoughts on the theme of the conference. Prof. Suresh Pathare presented the conference proceedings. While presenting the conference report, he thanked the international guests, resource persons and participants. He expressed special gratitude to abstract screening committee members Dr. Venkat Pulla and Prof. Sanjai Bhatt. Dr. Ravindra Jaybhay, Associate Professor at Department of Geography, Savitribai Phule, Pune University, Pune was the chief guest. He spoke about the issues of sustainable development from geographical perspective, the need to protect environment and promote awareness.
Prof. Sanjai Bhatt gave the valedictory talk. He explained the logo, the inter connectivity of five elements – water, air, earth, space, and soul. Man is rooted in nature. Bhagavan contains the same five elements. Connecting to the roots is spirituality. We have national flower, animals and birds. Are they respected? We have crack theory. No one follows caste hierarchy. Does anyone follow their caste responsibility? But casteism is growing everywhere. No one follow any religion seriously, but religious fundamentalism is growing. If we twist the wheel we get different colours. New schemes are generated by recycling the old one in to new stuff. The development lies in CSRD – Corporate Social Responsibility Development. It is not CSR development, but Citizens social responsibility for development. We need to redefine each term of it.
Dr. Anil Kawade, District Collector, Ahmednagar District was the chair of the session. He expressed his interest in the theme of the conference. Ahmednagar is spiritual centre – Saibaba, Meherbaba and Sant Jnaneswar. We are losing values. Since we lack values, we do not trust each other. Unless we cultivate these simple values, no sustainable development will occur. Social work is nothing but cultivate social values in the society.
Vote of thanks was expressed by Mr. Suresh Mugutmal.
The session got over at 2.00 PM and photo session followed.