Changing Aspects of Governance
Prof. Satyajit Singh
The first session of Day 4 of the capacity building workshop saw Prof. Satyajit Singh from the Department of Political Science, Delhi University deliberating on the future challenges of governance in his lecture titled ‘Changing Aspects of Governance.’
Broadly, governance is a technical term, which has an administrative and economic underpinning and not so much related with communication. However, the architecture with which communication and information is managed in bureaucracy, has a bearing with the linkages of administration and control. Although people’s participation forms the bedrock of good governance, the bureaucracy has quite a different understanding of participation. Although the bureaucracy talks about participation, they usually would have already designed the terms and conditions of that participation. Therefore, Prof. Singh says, there is mere tokenism in the name of participation.
Prof. Singh dwelled on the importance of managing issues of public affairs and underlined different traditions of democracy right from the Greek tradition of Athenian democracy to Indian democracy. He also spoke on the newer debates surrounding managing institutions, particularly the debate on whether institutions should be decentralized or recentralized. Drawing on lessons from the lost decade in Africa in the 1980s, the idea finally surfaced that issues of governance should be looked at in a wider perspective, which goes beyond government administration and into spaces like civil society, private sector and even women’s groups. So, the definition of governance is widened to include not just the government but broader parameters for inclusive growth. Secondly, the push for a uniform paradigm of governance came from the capitalists’ desire to have all government institutions to be similar all over the world. The collapse of the Berlin Wall gave us an opportunity of rethinking about governance, in ways that were not clouded in ideology but emphasized on people’s rights. Therefore, in such a system, economic development became very important, free flow of capital, people with knowledge became very important and as a result what was required was an operating system in governance. Therefore, the experience of structural adjustment learning, dominance of official neo-liberalism, collapse of communist regimes and rise of pro-democracy movements around the world led to the concept of New Public Service.
This paradigm, which apparently is more democratic in nature wherein the state enjoys legitimacy and authority, is derived from a democratic mandate and is built on the liberal notion of a clear separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers. This new paradigm puts the focus back on the citizen in all administrative decision-making, rather than treating them as mere customers, seeks to enlarge public interest, values citizenship over entrepreneurship and prescribes a model of public affairs that thinks strategically and acts democratically. This model, Prof. Singh says, is appropriated from the western democracies, which seeks to link development assistance by foregrounding the ideas of participatory development, human rights and democratization. The shift in focus between the World Bank’s definition of governance that emphasized on the exercise of political power to manage a nation’s affairs to the United Nation’s definition of the same, which widened the ambit of governance to include inclusivity, rule of law, effective and efficient, equitable, responsive, accountable, transparent and consensus-oriented. He enumerated various types of governance in currency around the world, particularly focusing on the Manila and Johannesburg models of governance to underline the dichotomy between public interest and private interest.
Prof. Singh also spoke on key dimensions for reforms in governance, namely through public sector management, greater accountability, designing legal frameworks for development and employing systems to ensure greater information and transparency mechanisms. He finally touched upon the concept of meta-governance that focuses on priority-setting, soft laws, maintaining the golden thread and performance management in a world where the Weberian system of state has failed and hybrid systems have taken over.
Anti-Plagiarism: Use of an Anti-Plagiarism Tool (Turnitin)
Mr. Muzaffar Azim
Mr. Muzaffar Azim introduced the concept of Plagiarism and how plagiarism can be identified and analysed using the software Turnitin. Turnitin has been used by numerous academic professionals, teachers, researchers and students all over the world to maintain academic integrity in case of writing of Dissertations, Theses, academic articles etc. Mr. Azim pointed out that in today’s world when everything was being digitized plagiarism, could not only affect the publications and their authors in today’s world but what had been done in the past. In the past when information was not digitized then people indulging in plagiarism had used to usually get away with it. Now with vast digital repositories being accumulated everyday, people indulging in plagiarism will have difficulty in doing so.
Turnitin is a web based tool which can be used to see and analyse the amount of text that has been borrowed from other sources. The software runs on a subscription based model and hence, access to the software has to be purchased. The software need not be downloaded and can be used by logging on to http://www.turnitin.com/ with a valid user-id and password. This internet based software is a tool that helps to locate the text that has been sourced and used in a certain publication which helps one to locate whether such texts have been properly cited, acknowledged and referred to. The tool becomes instrumental in self-evaluation so that before research papers or other academic content is submitted for publication can be checked for the authenticity of the content and if it is arranged properly.
When the content is uploaded in Turnitin, a live report is generated. That report is an interactive one and the parameters of the check can be changed according to the criteria needed. The live report displays the percentage of the text that has been sourced from other texts. The tool does ignore the quoted texts thus making the task a bit easier while sieving the content. However the tool only shows the matches. Whether those matches have been referred or not, has to be done by the one who is checking, the supervisor in case of a Mphil/PhD scholar or the teacher in case of class assignments. In case the person who is checking the content, does not want the content to be available for all, due to certain reasons, the tool provides an option for deleting the content as well.
After giving an idea how the web-based software operates, Mr. Azim gave a hands-on training on the use of Turnitin. The participants uploaded content on the website to see how the tool operates.
Film Studies and Material Culture
Prof Ravi Vasudevan
Prof Ravi Vasudevan of CSDS talked about the idea of archives in films. He stated at the beginning of the lecture that Archives are not simply about the past but about the future as well. He made some key points in the beginning of the lecture. He mentioned about the associated materials that would come out along with and on the films, for example the song books. Also that initially the film industry did not value maintaining an archive of the films in the beginning, thus the celluloid rolls of the films were not preserved thus making the content of yore hard to get. However the gap in the archival records has been filled by the private collectors. The Rosamuthaiah Library in the outskirts of Chennai is a case in point. The material of the archives has been mostly VHS cassettes rather than celluloid films. Now a vast repository of digital films is being stored for posterity. There are institutions now which are exclusively trying to create well-organised archives making use of technology. One of them is Indiancine.ma. Indian copyright laws state that the films are having copyright for 60 years after which it becomes open for all until and unless someone buys control of the content. Jadavpur University has developed a mechanism of annotating films so that they can be used for informed viewing. In today’s age the digitality of the production of the content has added a new dimension to the saving of the archival materials.
Prof. Vasudevan then moved on to discussing the nuances of earlier film making. The silent films that were screened in the silent film era, were not silent per se. There used to be individuals who would give commentary along with the silent films. They were the sutradhars of the films. Sometimes a single person would be the sutradhar, the hall owner as well the usherer in a film screening. Prof. Vasudevan then came to the idea of viewership in the realm of movies and cinema. He pointed out that how it is different from the idea of readership. Spectatorship occupies a different position to that of readership.
In the early cinema it was the one shot setup in India. These were the films that were made very early. The films that were made initially in India, followed the traditions of “Dastan” and “Darshan”. Darshan had led to mythological points of origins which led to the mythological films. On the other hand, the Dastan had influences of Parsi Theatre and Arabian Nights style of story-telling. Religious experiences have always been associated with the Indian Films. The films which were seen as impure, adopted the mythological characters as a route to make them acceptable to the public. Now that religiosity can be seen in the form of Fans of the Heroes. It has been seen and researched extensively in the southern part of India. S.V. Srinivas and M S S Pandian are to name a few. The idea of fandom can be seen from the perspective that the Film Star becomes a representative of the Fan watching it. The star imaginatively represents the public.
Towards end of his lecture, Prof Vasudevan gave a practical idea about analysing films. He took an early film which has shown the idea of showing Vishnu and the devotees thronging to him for his blessings. The film clearly shows the caste divisions and in the end integrates them. Thus the film operates as a site of both division and integration. He then brings under his lens of analysis the film Sant Tukaram, a marathi film of the 1930s. The one-shot narrative now becomes multiple-shots narrative. He also brings an example of Dharmputra, a Yash Chopra Film to show how films became the site of nation-building. In the film, the idea of identity has been interrogated and tried to be located in a certain context. Thus, cinema can complicate the idea of identity.
Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics
Dr. Sahana Udupa
The last session of the day was a discussion on the book Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics written by Dr. Sahana Udupa of Central European University, Hungary. She spoke on the process of writing the book which was an ethnographic work conducted in Bangalore. She narrated her experiences of conducting interviews with journalists of the English and Kannada-language print news media. She emphasized on the fact that it was essential for a researcher to learn the language of those among whom she had to conduct her field-work.
The local language gives the researcher an entry into the everyday utterances which cannot be completely grasped in the translation into English. She shared how her knowledge of Kannada helped her in grasping the colloquial expressions and how the same enriched the narrative and argument of the book.