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Sat 10 Dec 2022

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (UTC+5.5)

Language: Shaping Identity, Reflecting Consciousness, Instigating Conflict

The INDICA Center for Bharatiya Languages presents a conversation with Dr Ramesh Rao, one of the authors of the book Communicating Across Boundaries – The Indian Way, published by INDICA in 2021. Indian philosophers and sages have dealt with the nature of language for thousands of years, and Indian advances in linguistics have been profound and withstood the test of time. Indians reject the idea that language has a physical foundation, and that instead, language is “Consciousness”.  Philosophy of language has always been a part of the general epistemological inquiry in India, and therefore it has led to the search for evidence to verify belief and knowledge. But beyond this inquiry into the depths of our very being, languages, the very many in India, have shaped modern Indian identities. How we speak a language and what language we speak can affect our power and how we are perceived by others. How is it that in some Indian states there is a larger percentage of native language speakers than in other states? What does it say both about the mobility of Indians and the waning of the influence of some languages? What is the reality in India about multilingualism despite the avowed three-language formula? What should we do about the language of instruction? What should be the status of English in India? In this conversation, Ramesh Rao, a Professor of Communication, sketches some of the features of the Indian ‘language-scape,’ and how conflict is generated because of our language identities, choices, and abilities.


Dr Ramesh Rao

Professor, Department of Communications, Columbus State University

Ramesh Rao is a Professor in the Department of Communications at Columbus State University. He earned a BA from Bangalore University and then went on to serve as a bank officer, a school teacher and a copy editor. He earned his Diploma in Journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan while he was a school teacher. He earned an MS in Mass Communication from the University of Southern Mississippi (1987) and a PhD in Communication from Michigan State University (1992). He has taught at Truman State University (1991-2005), Longwood University (2005-2013) and Columbus State University (2013 to present).  Ramesh Rao is the author of books on Indian politics and society, and he has published essays and commentaries in a variety of newspapers, magazines, and web portals in India, the UK and the USA. He serves as the Chief Editor of India Facts (https://www.indiafacts.org.in/) and is on the review and advisory boards of Indian academic journals. 


Megh Kalyanasundaram

Host, Director – Special Projects, INDICA

Megh Kalyanasundaram is an Indian citizen with close to nine years of lived experience in China, an alumnus of ISB and is currently Director Special Projects at INDICA. His post-graduate specialization in Strategy, Leadership and Marketing included a study of research methods. His professional experience includes stints as a Market Leader at a Global Fortune 50 firm, as Head of Business Development at a leading Indian talent development multinational and he has served a term on the Board of a Shanghai-based not-for-profit. His academic research interests and 20+ papers span some aspects of ancient Indian chronology, Indian Knowledge Systems, Landscape in Indic texts, Ancient Indian Jurisprudence, Ideas of India and Philosophy. For his creative contribution to the first edition of the International Day of Yoga, he was invited by the Permanent Mission of India in the United Nations to attend the inaugural event at the UN. Other professional and pro-bono pursuits have included building differentiated digital platforms for Indic texts targeted at specific learning and research needs and music. His research-based compositional Sanskrit album 'Bhārata and her Kāśmīra' has been listed by the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts (IGNCA) while his subsequent album 'Indian Knowledge Systems and Yāskācārya's Nirukta' has recently been accepted for listing by the Vedic Heritage Portal. In 2022, Megh was invited by the National Museum Institute (NMI) to contribute content for multiple projects currently underway at NMI, including ones on Jammu Kashmir & Ladakh and Kedarnath.