1) Aarathi Chellappa, Bangalore
Understanding the Patenting of Traditional Knowledge
In the recent past, there have been several instances of the USPTO granting patents over products or processes that are already known in certain traditional systems of knowledge. Normally, a patent can only be obtained over a product or process that is not already known or anticipated by ‘prior art’. This raises the questions of whether traditional knowledge would qualify as prior art, if it does, then what are the factors that lead to it being overlooked during the examination of patents. I also propose to study the efforts being made by organizations in India to counter the possible patenting of traditional knowledge. I will also be examining the patents already granted by the USPTO over products or processes that would qualify as traditional knowledge and trying to identify measures that may have prevented the granting of such patents
2) Abir Neogy, Kolkata
Fire That Evoked Warmth : Emergence of lesbian activism in Kolkata
The burden of isolation, the torment of intolerance, the curse of invisibility, the deep ambiguity about homosexuality and lastly the overwhelming silence about the very existence of women with same sex preference worked as the impetus to find out like-minded people to build a support from within. Even this was not that smooth. The six women from Kolkata who founded Sappho, the only support group for lesbian, bisexual and transgendered women in eastern India, had to bank on support groups from outside the city to come closer. Immediate after the release of the film “Fire” as a response to a supportive article in a leading Bengali newspaper, a series of letters came up and proved the very existence of lesbians in Kolkata and put aside all the hesitation and rethinking about being organized. Thus Sappho came into being in 20th June, 1999. This study will narrate the organized effort of lesbians in Kolkata from its inception till date. Also it will highlight the facts about the hidden violence, which each and every woman with same sex preference comes across in life at any form.
3) Aparajita De, Surat
Imagined Geographies: Geographical knowledge of self and others in everyday life, the case of Ahmedabad
The study attempts to link the spatial processes with the social processes, particularly in terms of relating relative location in the social hierarchy and the relative location of social groups over space. The problematic of this study is to know whether space is organized and structured socially. If so, how is space created and defined socially? What kinds of spatial imageries are produced and reproduced (through the construction of cognitive maps and narrations) by social groups that reflect the social relations in which they are embedded in? The study proposes to examine the social groups and their relative locations over space at the local level contextualized within everyday life worlds.
Social group specifically refers to a group that is defined on the basis of certain group characteristics or attributes. This at once indicates a simultaneous process of categorization and identification. A sense of self, of who one is, that emerges from such a process is essentially a dualistic construct. The idea of self distinct from other is built around the perceived notion of difference and separateness from the other, where perception of self stands out in binary opposition to the other. Such categories of self and the other are inherently political in content and have the potential to be politicized as the construction of such difference is also about the exercise of power: the power to include or exclude in accordance to particular sets of interests. But how does the social consciousness of self merge with the spatial consciousness of self and vice-versa; and that of the social other with the spatial other?
The study tries to understand the processes through which space becomes an extension of self and symbolically represent the other. This experience is also encountered materialistically as a visible definitive proof of reality in terms of spaces used, assigned to and occupied or acquired by the self or the other.
The study tries to grasp how social meaning and concepts are embedded in spatial concepts. How spatial concepts of centre, core and heartland translates itself as the self, that is located inside, in a bounded manner defining and protecting the sacred and the known self. On the other hand concepts of margin, periphery border becomes analogous with the profane, unknown other. Space emerges as a principle of organization and differentiation, a mechanism whereby self is distanced from the other. The familiar known world is kept inside close and bounded at the centre or core and the unfamiliar unknown other is pushed far by keeping it at the periphery or margin and on the outside.
4) Avinash Kumar & Surya Sen, New Delhi
Livelihood Through Play, Play by Design
Scores of people survive in the City by pushing mobile play equipment through colonies, providing a play experience to young children. They identify themselves as the ‘Jhoolewale’.
While many of the Jhoolas can be seen in local fairs where they can be appreciated for their fantastic vernacular & folk style, art and design, their true uniqueness comes from the fact that they reverse the traditional relationship between a child and the play facility. These are indeed ‘play-grounds’ that are wheeled out right to the doorsteps of childrens’ homes so that grand acts of play can then be enacted with the Jhoola as the facilitating artefact.
However, like most other fascinations of Indian material culture, the City is steadily consuming the Jhoola. The Indian city might lose one of its many wonders forever.
The Project envisages the collaborative creation of a ‘Mobile Playground Community’ that provides…
(a) sustainability, respectability & identity to the profession of a Jhoolawala
(b) a rich & unique play experience to the Indian city child, and
(c) character to the Indian city.
The Project will be an interdisciplinary exercise, and a participatory process will frame the objectives and outcomes. Several stakeholders have been identified: jhoolewalas, children, makers, caregivers, designers, researchers...and each group is expected to enrich the project as a co-designer.
Anticipated areas for investigation & documentation include...
~ Play Elements in Indian Culture
~ The evolution of the Indian Playground
~ Childhood in urban India
~ The Jhoola: An Indian play facility
~ The Jhoolewala: A play provider, his role and presence in the City
~ User Generated Scenarios: Tools to understand complexities of systems
~ Indian visual and material Culture: Folk, Vernacular, Kitsch...Indian Style.
~ Indian culture of mass & solitary leisure
~ Design for Economy, Sustainable design, Recycling...
5) Balvinder Singh & Sanjay Sharma, New Delhi
Veydh Aveydh: Tambu Mein Dawakhana [Hindi]
The title itself denotes – curiosity, question, doubt, and desire to know are the key ingredients of this proposal. Filling the curiosity, answer the questions, clearing the doubts and fulfilling the desire by exploring into Tambu Dawakhana is the aim. Some interesting unknown incidents of these peoples’ daily life will be collected. However, some questions will be dropped whenever they came to legality medical degree, their possession of land etc.
A study will be carried out on relationship between :
· Tambu Dawakhana and the spot where it is situated.
· Vaidya (Medical practitioner) and patient.
· Contractor of the spot and company
6) Basharat Peer, Srinagar
Shrinking Public Spaces in a City of Bunkers
Wandering through the alleyways, parks, restaurants and cyber-cafes’ of Srinagar, witnessing the visible and invisible no-entry signs, the researcher would attempt to draw a verbal portrait of Srinagar- the city which houses many prisons and is a prisoner herself.
7) Biren Das Sharma, Kolkata
The Forgotten Empire: The Madan Theatres Pvt. Ltd
The Indian cinema industry started taking shape in the early days of silent era when pioneers like J. F. Madan of Calcutta ventured into film business as early as 1916 and eventually established an empire with a network of production, distribution and exhibition spread over the entire Indian sub-continent. The role of the Madan Theatres was of immense interest as the company had virtually monopolized film business and introduced trade practices such as block booking and minimum guaranty. With its huge network of more than three hundred theatres the company had both economically and ideologically dominated the film scene with its hegemonic presence and had lasting influence on the film industry itself. The proposed research project focuses on the Madan’s emergence and growth in the background of nationalist movement.
8) Chander Nigam, Delhi
Ek Hi Patri Par Daudti Nyay Aur Anyay Gadi: Tees Hazari
Tees Hazari is the oldest District and Session Courts in Delhi which came after Independence. It is very significant to know that the Civil Litigations from all over Delhi come to this court only. It is also important to know that inspite of setting of anther District and Session Court Karkarduma in Trans Yamuna area and Patiala House in New Delhi area, Tis Hazaari's jurisdiction is still very vast. Everyday large number of people come here in various role. Some come to appear as witness while some witness come to be hostile, some come as accused while some come to meet them, some come as lawyer and while some come as judge and magistrate to deliver justice, And many other come as govt. and non govt.staff to assist the court proccedings. Some come as hawkers while some operate PCO booths and photostat machines. Some come to offer their 'help' as tauts while some (prostitute) come here in search of their costumers.Police is the regular visiter of this campus with various assignment in various roles.Besides, by the afternoon boozing and womenising get started in some of the advocate chambers.
And it is obvious that the activities performed daily in this campus which is supposed to be the center of Justice delivery is a mixture of both legality and illegality. The people engaged with these activities have certain relationship and networks of their own. These networks and relationship reflect new picture and provide new meaning to this space. Which is very significant in making of the daily life of the city. Therefore I am interested in understanding the networks and relationship which operate in this space and their mode of functioning as well.
9) Deanne Uyangoda & Abhayraj Naik, Bangalore
The Need for Anonymous Notice Boards in Universities in Bangalore: An empirical study
The Need for Anonymous Notice Boards in Universities in Bangalore: An Empirical Study manipulation, and the overall deterioration of public debate, etc. Such contrasting facets of anonymity, provide for a particularly interesting study in the conceptualized urban space of an Indian university, not only for its symbolic and actual representation of larger socio-politico-economic realities but also for some of the unique attributes that are peculiar to universities in India, viz., top-down transmission of education, identity formation in universities, unique heightened ramifications of hate-speech, etc. It is within this framework that we plan on studying the incidence and characteristics of hate-speech, the existence, characteristics and functioning of institutional and non-institutional forums for anonymous speech and expression, and the linkages, if any, between anonymous speech forums and hate-speech, in universities across Bangalore.
10) Dhiraj Kumar Nite, New Delhi
Workers in the Jharia Coalfield, Family- Time / Work, Survivalities and Mining Capitalism: 1920's - 1970's