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Book Launch

The Doon University: A New Paradigm

On April 4, 2009 Prof Girijesh Pant, Vice Chancellor of the Doon University delivered a lecture on The Doon University: A New Paradigm. Explaining the meaning of the term he said that the university had to function to meet the demands of the present day educational needs. In the recent past because of the rapid economic growth fuelled by the growth of the service sector, rather than agriculture or industry, a number of institutions training people in information technology-related skills sprang up. The value of traditional education went down and the distinction between skill and knowledge got blurred. The new education system according to Prof. Yashpal has been producing “knowledge coolies”. The challenge before the educationist today is to redress the imbalance between knowledge and skills.

The function of Doon University, according to Prof. Pant, has to be to integrate teaching and research. The Planning Commission and the Knowledge Commission have emphasized that India should become a knowledge super power. If that is to happen our higher education system must build the capacity to innovate. This will be possible only when the standard of research is upgraded. There has to be an effort to see that research addresses the problems of our society and also offer solutions to the problems. The Doon University must became a part of the solution to the problems of Dehradun, Uttarakhand and even India.

Slide Show: Himalaya Darshan

On March 28, 2009 Shri Threesh Kapoor, Chairman Uttaranchal Gramin Bank and a well-known photographer, presented a slide show titled “Himalaya Darshan” at Regent Hotel to a packed hall. Shri Kapoor showed some recent photographs of his (taken during the last two years) depicting the various facets and moods of the Himalayas. There were slides of nature, forests, fauna, flora, famous valleys, people and their habitat and of Almora in different seasons and moods. A large number of slides depicted the well-known snow-covered peaks of Uttarakhand, especially Nanda Devi, Trishul, Panchachuli, Chaukhamba to name just a few, taken from different places and at different places which showed their various aspects and moods. The audience was kept spell-bound by this veritable visual feast for about an hour-and-a-half. They frequently expressed their appreciation by spontaneous clapping and loud sighs and exclamations.

Dr B. K. Joshi, Director Doon Library & Research Centre welcomed all the guests and Shri Threesh Kapoor and also introduced Shri Kapoor to the audience. Shri Rajen Brijnath, Advisor Doon Library & Research Centre proposed a Vote of Thanks at the conclusion of the slide show.

An educational excursion-cum-picnic for the staff and family

An educational excursion-cum-picnic for the staff and family was organized to Rajaji National Park, Chilla on Sunday 15th March 2009. Before proceeding to the Park everyone assembled at the Library where the Director of the Park, Shri Rasaily, gave a talk on the salient features of the Park, what to see, and do’s and don’ts for visitors to fully enjoy and benefit from a visit to the Park. In particular he emphasized on the need to respect the habitat of the animals and not leave any litter, especially plastic bags, inside the park. As he put it, we should realise that we will be entering the house of the animals uninvited. Hence we should not be unnecessarily obtrusive and loud in our behaviour. It is, moreover, for the owners of the house (the animals) to decide whether they wish to come into our presence or not.

Global Economic Crisis and its Impact on India

Date: February 28, 2009 Speaker: Dr B. K. Joshi, Director, Doon Library & Research Centre (This talk was organized in response to a request from a group of young people who are regular visitors to the library)

An English essay and English quiz competition

Two new activities have been initiated. These are: (i) an English essay competition for teachers of local schools; and (ii) an English quiz competition for students of local schools. These are planned as continuing activities to be organised every year. The quiz competition will consist of two preliminary rounds, a semi-final followed by the final. Prizes will be awarded to the winners and runners-up in the semi-finals and finals. Teams eliminated in various rounds will be given vouchers for purchase of books as token of their participation. In future we also plan to organize Hindi essay and quiz competitions. Shri Rajen Brijnath, Advisor will organise and coordinate these new initiatives.

Communication and Education through the Folk Media of Puppetry

On 25th February, 2009 Shri Ram Lal, a well-known puppeteer, delivered a talk on ‘Communication and Education through the Folk Media of Puppetry’. He illustrated his talk with brief puppet performances. Shri Ram Lal spoke about the medium of puppetry as an effective, easy and interesting medium of education. This assertion of his was amply supported by the reaction of the audience, which included many young children from Welham Girls School, to the two short puppet shows on the themes of environment and necessity of education for both boys and girls that he put up on the occasion. There was a live interaction between the students and the puppets. Shri Ram Lal was able to make some very telling points and observations through his puppet show.

Climate Change and Himalayas

Prof. S P Singh, former Vice Chancellor Garhwal University, Srinagar (Garhwal) spoke on ´Climate Change and Himalayas´ on 29th January, 2009. He said that climate change would spell danger to many plant species and alpine meadows. It would mean spread of tropical diseases in the hills. The impact of climate change in the Himalayas would be felt by the entire Indo-Gangetic plain in the form of widespread disruption of normal life and threatening the livelihoods of millions. Unfortunately vital data for understanding the full implications of climate change in the Himalayas are not available. This will hamper efforts at mitigating the impact of and adapting to climate change. Prof. Singh concluded by advocating efficient and economical use of energy in order to reduce carbon emmission.

Mountain Echoes

The Doon Library & Research Centre in collaboration with Penguin Books (India) and Yatra Books organized a two-day programme of book readings, literary symposium and conversations with Uttarakhand based writers during May 2 and 3 at Hotel Madhuban. The programme was christened Mountain Echoes. More than ten Hindi and English writers participated. The highlighted of the programme on the evening of May 2 was a reading of one of Ruskin Bond’s short story followed by a conversation with the author. On this occasion the Hindi translation of Navtej Sarna’s novel (We Were not Lovers Like That) was also released by Shri S. K. Das, Chief Secretary Uttarakhand. Shri Sarna read excerpts from his novel in English. The programme on May 3 consisted of conversations with author Vidya Sagar Nautiyal (conducted by Hammad Faruqui) and Jasjit Singh (conducted by Neeta Gupta), discussion between Ira Pande and Pushpesh Pant, poetry reading by Vicky Arya and a symposium moderated by Hammad Faruqui in which Himanshu Joshi, Hari Datt Bhatt ‘Shailesh’ and Subhash Pant participated.

The programme generated considerable interest among the people of the city and there was a demand to make it a regular feature.

Meeting of the Research Advisory Committee

The first meeting of the Research Advisory Committee was held on September 6, 2008 at Dehradun. Following are some of the important recommendations made by the RAC:

  • The library should be developed as a reference library in social sciences with special emphasis on Himalayas as well as a public library.
  • Interaction with other libraries in Dehradun and elsewhere, and networking among libraries should be explored. The Doon Library should take a lead in this regard.
  • The library could initiate a documentation service and indexing of articles on specific topics and issues, publication of an Abstract or Digest on Mountain Studies on a regular basis
  • It should function as a mother library for other libraries, especially school libraries, by extending support to them.
  • The library should contribute to fostering a culture of book-reading and visiting and using libraries, especially among the youth and school children. In this context it could organize workshops on how to access information on the net.
  • The library should not just be a repository for books; it should become a vibrant living institution by organizing regular activities like book-readings, talks, discussions etc.
Research Centre
  • The Research Centre should undertake studies broadly on Himalayan Studies. It would be best to have research conducted by awarding fellowships for short durations and by commissioning studies.
  • Funding arrangement for two fellowships of the value of Rs 75,000.00 and Rs 40,000.00 p.m. respectively should be explored
  • A national seminar on a subject related to the Himalayas from a social science or humanities perspective (Bhagirathi Seminar) and lecture by an eminent scholar or person on a similar theme (Nanda Devi Lecture) should be organized annually.
  • Commissioning on books on social, political, economic and cultural developments in Uttarakhand by eminent scholars since the third quarter of the 19th century (when the Gazetteers were first written) should be taken up.
  • The feasibility of starting a research journal should be explored. It should have an independent editorial board and all papers accepted for publication should be refereed.
  • While the research journal is likely to take some time to materialize, a quarterly newsletter can be started sooner.
Talks on Contemporary Issues

The Doon Library & Research Centre initiated a programme of organizing talks on issues of contemporary and topical relevance by local experts. The first talk in the series was delivered on October 20, 2008 by the eminent scientist, former Vice Chancellor of HNB Garhwal University and Padma Shri recipient Prof. A. N. Purohit on “Climate Change”. The second talk was given by Dr Ravi Chopra Director of People’s Science Institute, Dehradun on November 29, 2008. The subject of his talk was “Conservation of Rivers in Uttarakhand”. Both the talks generated lively interest among the listeners as was evident from the large number of questions that followed.

Exhibition-cum Sale of Books by National Book Trust

The National Book Trust organized an exhibition-cum-sale of books in the premises of the library from November 11 to 17, 2008. A large number of people visited the exhibition and there was a brisk sale of NBT publications on the occasion. The exhibition was inaugurated by Shri Keshav Desiraju IAS, Principal Secretary Medical, Health, family Welfare and AYUSH, Government of Uttarakhand. Speaking on the occasion Shri Desiraju emphasized the need to spread the reading habit among children. He suggested that the schools in the city should be informed about the exhibition so that they could bring the children to it. Dr B.K. Joshi, Director Doon Library & Research Centre welcomed the exhibition of books by the NBT as one of the efforts being made by the institution to link the library to the citizens of Dehradun. He suggested that the NBT should make the exhibition an annual feature.

Brainstorming on Higher Education

A brainstorming on higher education was organized in the library on November 3, 2008. The aim of the exercise was to identify challenges and issues in the field of higher education in Uttarakhand. It was decided to hold a round table discussion on the subject early next year to which academics and policy makers connected with higher education would be invited.

Children’s Day Celebration

On November 14, 2008 we celebrated Children’s Day with the children of Government Girls’ Upper Primary School, Parade Ground (which adjoins the library) by organizing a brief programme for the children. The programme included separate competitions for students of classes 6, 7 and 8. Prizes were distributed by to those who stood first, second and third. A gift of 83 books was made to the school library. All the students and teachers were treated to light refreshments on the occasion. The children of the school put up an impromptu song and dance presentation on the occasion. A similar programme had been organized in 2007 as well.

Exhibition of Books on Himalayas and Paintings by Local Artists

On the occasion of Uttarakhand Day 2007 the library organized an exhibition of books on Himalayas and paintings by local artists during November 12-14. The exhibition was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Uttarakhand Maj. Gen. B. C. Khanduri.

Collaboration with Doon Art Society’s Art Exhibition

The Doon Library & Research collaborated with the newly formed Doon Art Society’s Art Exhibition that was held at Hotel Regent, EC Road during November 4-6, 2008. the exhibition was inaugurated by Shri Prakash Pant, Minister for Tourism & Culture, Uttarakhand.

Distribution of Book on Pt. Nain Singh Rawat to Libraries in Uttarakhand

The library purchased 200 copies of the book Asia ki Peeth Par: Pandit Nain Singh Rawat by Shekhar Pathak and Uma Bhatt from the publishers PAHAR and distributed them free to intermediate colleges and public libraries in Uttarakhand. The book is on the life and work of the renowned nineteenth century explorer and surveyor Pt. Nain Singh Rawat, who was responsible for surveying Tibet and parts of central Asia.