A Fireside Conversation at Vichaar Manthan’s Sustainable Narratives Conference 2020

With Dr Shashi Tharoor

by Dr Sachin Nandha

In July 2020 Dr Shashi Tharoor, the Indian Member of Parliament, famous author and ex-United Nations Diplomat gave his thoughts on themes ranging from the “Chinese model” vis-à-vis Liberal democracies, to his defence of multiculturalism, and the need for re-ordering global institutions such as the United Nations.

The three greatest challenges facing the planet right now, according to Tharoor are the challenges facing democracies — where even those living in democratic nations are beginning to become ‘impatient’ with the outcomes produced by…


A Fireside conversation at Vichaar Manthan’s Sustainable Narratives Conference 2020

With Achārya Vidyabhaskar (N.B. Achārya is the Sanskrit term for ‘scholar’)

by Abhilasha Kakkar

This fireside conversation with Acharya Vidyabhaskar explored the underlying notions of what it means to be ‘good’, from the paradigm of sustainable ethics. The aim was to examine which ethical principles human beings ought to live by, both for short-term and longer-term flourishing; by way of explanation, a set of ethical principles that are sustainable.

Vidyabhaskar began by commenting that although the use of the word ‘sustainability’ sounds wise and can often be synonymous with being…


A Fireside conversation at Vichaar Manthan’s Sustainable Narratives Conference 2020

With Suhag Shukla, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Hindu American Foundation.

by Daksha Raval

Shukla sought the views of a focus group consisting of four Republican-leaning and four Democrat-leaning Hindu Americans prior to this discussion.

This conversation set out to understand Trumpism as a trend, a narrative and a movement that the speaker suggested had arisen in response to the undercurrent of disillusionment within the communities left behind as the US has chased the gains promised by globalisation. Suhag explored Donald Trump’s character, language and key policies, beginning with…


A Fireside conversation at Vichaar Manthan’s Sustainable Narratives Conference 2020

With Abhijit Iyer Mitra, senior fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

by Kishan Chohan

Abhijit Iyer Mitra opened by unequivocally stating that he prefers to take a pragmatic approach when discussing state governance systems and will not blindly follow ideology. In his terms, “ideology is outsourcing your brain to somebody else who has thought up the ideas for you”. He clearly stated that the role of the state should be fluid and dependent on its industrial situation and on the level of self-control that a specific population…


A Fireside conversation at Vichaar Manthan’s Sustainable Narratives Conference 2020

With Eric Lonergan, co-author of ‘Angrynomics’

by Dr Sachin Nandha

In 2020, Eric Lonergan, a macro hedge fund manager and Mark Blyth, an economist at Brown University, co-authored a book titled ‘Angrynomics’ where they tried to make sense of why societies all over the developed world might be so angry. The book is a conversation between the two of them as they explore a wide range of issues concerning political economy. …


A Fireside conversation at Vichaar Manthan’s Sustainable Narratives Conference 2020

With Drishti Mae

by Anusha Kasture

In this raw and thought-provoking fireside conversation, Drishti Mae shares her extraordinary journey of religious identity through Islam, agnosticism, atheism and Hindu Dharma. The poignant discussion takes us through various stages of her life, from early childhood years to present day.

Growing up in a Muslim household, Drishti describes in detail how her childhood was set against the backdrop of a self-policing Islamic community and the Madresa school which introduced her to concepts in the Quran at a young age. The emphasis was on…


A Fireside conversation at Vichaar Manthan’s Sustainable Narratives Conference 2020

With Kushal Mehra

by Gaurang Bhatt

This fireside conversation with Kushal Mehra aimed to shed some light on an intellectual movement that characteristically eludes clarity — postmodernism. The aim of this discussion was to address a few key questions about the movement: how did postmodernism come to be, who are the key thinkers of the movement and what are their key ideas, and finally, how have these ideas manifested in Western society?

How did postmodernism come to be?

The predominant intellectual movement from the 17th to 19th centuries was “modernism”. Modernism can be defined by three…


by Ravi Lakhani

The evolution of human rights is a thread that can be traced to the origins of human civilisation. Intertwined with this history is the ever-present concept of duties. In this paper we will seek to understand the interdependency of the two concepts and ascertain if they can be sustainably prised apart or if they are inexorably linked. For the purposes of this discussion Professor Lou Marinoff defines rights as “an entitlement to something”, be it moral, legal, or customary. In modern society, legal rights often come with legally defined obligations. The legal right to drive on our…


by Dinaay Sharma

History/definition of postmodernism

The narratives dominating the academic biosphere at present can be summarised under the umbrella term: postmodern.

Postmodernism has been articulated as a departure from Modernist thought, generally distrusting the idea of an “objective” truth or reality. Professor Makarand Paranjape opened with remarks on the history and a description of postmodern thought. Professor Paranjape began with remarks on the history of postmodernism, summarising it as the following: the “death of man”, that is, the death of the sovereign individual in favour of group identification; the “death of history”, best characterised by Karl Marx’s proclamation that all of history…


by Ravi Lakhani

This candid exploration of the nature of wealth creation and the future of sustainable wealth creation begins with Dr Jamie Whyte providing temporal context to the discussion:

Nearly all human wealth has been generated in the past 200 years (see above). Whilst this growth has not been evenly distributed across the globe, we can say with some certainty that there has been no better time in history to be alive. Jamie Whyte contextualised this explosion in wealth within the backdrop of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment; an outright rejection of authority in enquiry and the rise…

Vichaar Manthan

An independent voluntary organisation which engages in open dialogue, exploring issues facing modern British society through a Hindu civilisational lens.

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