Annual Lecture

NIIT University celebrated its much awaited 14th Annual Lecture on November 15 , 2022. The campus was abuzz with enthusiastic students, academicians, and eminent dignitaries . The Annual Lecture is a yearly event commemorating Dr. Karan Singh’s first ever lecture. 

This year we had Mr Pavan K Verma, an Indian Diplomat, Statesman and an author. With his wise experience from such extensive fields, he spoke about the most fundamental question that bugs us once in a while – ‘Who are we ?’. Mr. Verma walked everyone 5000 years back to the Upanishads and discussed the idea of ‘Brahma’ a consciousness, notwithstanding the vastness of the universe, that we are an integral part of.He spoke of “Atma,” or the soul, which manifests out of mind and is nothing more than “Brahma,” hence the phrase “Aham Brahmasmi.”. He says that the idea of defining who we are is to keep it undefined.He says that we are a one unified force, a part of a larger schema. He then explained about the mind that needs to be calmed and to bring about that sense of calmness, one must feel the oneness. With examples from real life studies, he explained how meditation helps us in achieving that. He says that this is nothing but deeply  enriching dialogue. He gave the example of the three fundamental texts of Hinduism all of which are nothing but a dialogue between two entities. He says that however individualistic we are in the grids of separated religion, the idea of this dialogue sets us in a unified nexus, in a framework of science and philosophy. This he says is the metaphysical exploration of the question ‘Who are we?’.

With rich knowledge from 5000 years back, he talked about how these questions sought a different answer in the contemporary world. He talked about how the main challenge right now is to understand one’s own identity. In a world that is globalizing, the cultures tend to collide, and the challenge of identity is what the question has expanded to. He narrated a small anecdote of one of his colleagues who tried to celebrate ‘Karwa Chauth’ in Paris and got arrested. He gave this as an example of a question that takes a new form in the contemporary world. He then talked about how he believes the identity must be one’s own and one should be proud of it. We have a rich culture with more languages than any other country with their own corpus and scripts. He talked about his conversation with Amartya Sen and told how Amartya Sen will always remain an Indian despite living abroad. When cultures collide, one must be empathetic while at the same time acknowledge their own identity and roots and perhaps enlighten the global citizens about it. Mr VermaMr. Verma went on to explain how both metaphysical and contemporary answers to the question are important and how they only serve to improve us in the course of evolution that lies ahead of he concluded the 14th Annual Lecture. The session continued with a Question and Answer session in which attendees asked questions that led to fruitful discussions.