Published: 14th March 2019
This forum established by PhD scholars from around Kerala aims to create a new intellectual space in the state
Prajna Foundation aims to create an intellectual space that is ideas for Kerala's thinkers
The Prajna Foundation was inaugurated on 22 February with the aim to change the academic scene in Kerala. The forum was dreamt up by a group of research students and scholars along with Professor N Prasantha Kumar, former Head of the Department of English, Sree Sankaracharya University in Kalady. With this, they aim to explore the domains of cultural and literary theories, in addition to carrying out research of the finest quality. Ultimately, the foundation will work towards bringing various elements of the intellectual world together by building a community of teachers, researchers and students who are interested in engaging with cultural and literary theories and using that information to solve a range of societal issues.
"The plan right now is to create a free and independent intellectual community where we can build the type of space that we really need in this country right now," says Aswin Prasanth, Founding Member and son of Professor Kumar. "It's not simply an organisation for the student community. We welcome participation and inputs from people across various fields and occupations. In fact, we have had professors, scholars and everyone participates with equal interest and intensity."
Lead roles: N Prasantha Kumar is an HOD in English
Going forward, the team aims to cultivate a much-needed culture of intellectual conversation by organising a range of educational conferences and lectures by scholars in cultural and literary theories each year in a bid to bring the academic world closer together. They are also preparing an international journal on an annual basis to conduct an open dialogue on such subjects. In addition to this, they plan to establish an academic centre with a well-equipped library and an archive which will be maintained with literature, research and other cultural productions.
"We aim to strengthen the way research works in India," explains Aswin. "With Prajna, we also plan to offer consultancy, resources and experts for various academic activities." Why was such a forum important for Kerala? Aswin explains, "We had a few reasons behind setting it up. We have very few such forums in our circles. Especially when it comes to subjects like social sciences and the Humanities, we do not have enough avenues to discuss such topics. In fact, we barely have enough spaces where we can speak our minds."
Having been established, this brainchild of Kerala's intellectual community aims is all set to celebrate such research and what it represents. With amazing minds at work behind it, it looks like the space that Kerala's thinkers have been dreaming of is finally here. Aswin says, "Going forward, all our attention is focused on ensuring that we celebrate the opportunity that this represents and to spread it around enough for it to really reach the people that it needs to." Let's hope that this academic renaissance sees smooth sailing in these uncertain times.