Conceptual knowledge inspires imagination. On the other hand, it is a claim to power as well. Multiple knowledge claims often, therefore, are engaged in a contest. This contest can take the form of several discourses. Extant power structures play a significant role in lending (or not lending) a voice to one or several such discourses. To one with the power to govern, knowledge claims flowing from abstract concepts generated in an elite discourse not only inspires imagination but also often leads (...) to ‘norms’ and ‘rules’ that drive governance in the system which leads to action. Norms and rules define actionability of the conceptual knowledge claim. However, for the one weighed by powerlessness in being governed, knowledge claims often get generated only in action, since an autonomous discourse is often lacking. Yet the sheer powerlessness of the authors of such knowledge claims generated in action leads to its non-celebration. It fails to get elevated. It might also wither away. Such actionable knowledge claims of the powerless often then gets manifested as something like an ‘unvoiced’ or an ‘unvoicable’ discourse, in macabre forms of subversion of ‘norms’ and ‘rules’ of the system that leads to a sense of failure in governance among those with power as well. Power, thus, brings actionable knowledge to the fore, but in two different forms. For the power-holder, it takes the form of a ‘deviation’ from norms and rules in the actionable domain through subversion by the powerless, revealing a gap between knowledge in the conceptual and actionable domain that is reluctantly (often tacitly) tolerated. For the powerless, on the other hand, actionable knowledge is living; negotiating on the ‘deviation’ is an existential requirement. This paper is an attempt to explore these dichotomies, how power (and the lack of it) alters the significance and implications of actionable knowledge. (shrink)
Contemporary knowledge systems have given too much importance to visual symbols, the written word for instance, as the repository of knowledge. The primacy of the written word and the representational world built around it is, however, under debate—especially from recent insights derived from cognitive science that seeks to bring back action, intent and emotion within the core of cognitive science (Freeman and Nunez in J Consciousness Stud 6(11/12), 1999). It is being argued that other sensory experiences, apart from the visual, (...) along with desires (or intent) and emotions—like pain, pleasure, sorrow or joy—constitute equally important building blocks that shape an individual’s cognition of the world around. This multi-sensory cognition colored by emotions inspire action and hence is valid knowledge. This is probably nowhere more apparent than in the world of the visually impaired. Deprived of visual sensory capability, they have to perforce depend on other senses. But the dominant discourse in wider society plays a major role in determining what they (the blind) can do. A society built around visual symbols and the written word underplays other elements of cognition and in the process undervalues them. This also gets reflected in the construction of social artifacts of various kinds, such as the educational certification system (The Braille system is an attempt to make the written world accessible to the blind through tactile signals—so that words are ‘felt’ and ‘read.’ But it is quite cumbersome. For instance, even a blind highly skilled at writing in Braille would not be able to match the writing speed of an ordinary visually endowed literate person. Effective and efficient computer-based voice–text–voice converters might solve this problem better.)-based primarily on skills over the written word. Linguistic ability becomes most valuable and at another level the written word gets salience over the spoken word. The blind hardly has a chance, therefore, except through concessions or piety. A practice built around the imagery of an empowered blind person, therefore, must depart from mainstream conceptualization—for power is derived from what one has rather than from what one lacks. It must begin by tapping and valorizing one’s own endowments. This paper is an attempt to identify such a departure based on the experience of Blind Opera—a theatre group of the blind working in Kolkata, India. It seeks to provide an exposition in written word of an experience that can only be partially captured within the confines of a text. It is an incomplete account, therefore, and may be taken as an attempt to reach out and seek an exchange of experiences and insights. (shrink)
Iron(III) complexes [FeL(B)] (1–4) of a tetradentate phenolate-based ligand (H3L) and biotin-conjugated dipyridophenazine bases (B), viz. 7-aminodipyrido [3,2-a:2′,3′-c]-phenazine (dppza in 1), (N-dipyrido[3,2-a:2′,3′-c]-phenazino)amidobiotin (dppzNB in 2), dipyrido [3,2-a:2′,3′-c]-phenazine-11-carboxylic acid (dppzc in 3) and 2-((2-biotinamido)ethyl) amido-dipyrido[3,2-a:2′,3′-c]-phenazine (dppzCB in 4) are prepared, characterized and their interaction with streptavidin and DNA and their photocytotoxicity and cellular uptake in various cells studied. The high-spin iron(III) complexes display Fe(III)/Fe(II) redox couple near −0.7 V versus saturated calomel electrode in dimethyl sulfoxide–0.1 M tetrabutylammonium perchlorate. The complexes show (...) non-specific interaction with DNA as determined from the binding studies. Complexes with appended biotin moiety show similar binding to streptavidin as that of free biotin, suggesting biotin conjugation to dppz does not cause any loss in its binding affinity to streptavidin. The photocytotoxicity of the complexes is tested in HepG2, HeLa and HEK293 cell lines. Complex 2 shows higher photocytotoxicity in HepG2 cells than in HeLa or HEK293, forming reactive oxygen species. This effect is attributed to the presence of overexpressed sodium-dependent multi-vitamin transporters in HepG2 cells. Microscopic studies in HepG2 cells show internalization of the biotin complexes 2 and 4 essentially occurring by receptor-mediated endocytosis, which is similar to that of native biotin and biotin fluorescein isothiocyanate conjugate. (shrink)
Surface modification of type RD silica gel was achieved by depositing layers of thin-film copper on the parent silica gel surfaces so as to improve their performances, circumventing the poor thermal conductivity of the adsorbent. Porous properties (surface area, pore size and volume) were determined using nitrogen adsorption/desorption isotherm measurements, which were performed on adsorbents for both parent and Cu-sputtered silica gels in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of 77.4?K. The copper sputtering experiments were conducted in a chamber of inert (...) argon gas where the chamber was bombarded with a radio frequency (RF) of 13.56?MHz. The comparative performance of the parent and Cu-sputtered silica gels was determined via various key measurements such the Brunauer?Emmett?Teller (BET), the Horvath and Kawazoe (HK) and the hot-disc sensor methods. (shrink)
Buddhism traces its origin to the teachings of the historical figure of Gautama, the Buddha. Buddhist system addresses perennial human concerns and articulates profound insights into human nature and thus provides a practical context against the back ground of which it is possible to unravel the meaning of lives. Different branches of this school developed various scriptural traditions. Among them early Buddhist thought branched out into diversity of orders, schools of thought and teaching lineages. Wisdom and compassion are the distinctive (...) marks of Buddhism and this strife-tormented world is in dire need of these qualities. Buddhism not only talks about these qualities, it also illustrates the way how to acquire the same. Post-modernism which is a movement in different fields, culture, philosophy, literature, and arts etc. claims to decentralize the importance of reason. There are many post modern thinkers like, Derrida, Lyotard, Deleuze, Guattari, Levinas who worked in their own way and they discerned a shift in the art and culture of their societies from a distinctively modern phase to a postmodernist phase. Considering these observations this paper is motivated by two questions. On the one hand, one is constantly intrigued by the vast treasures of early Buddhist heritage; on the other hand, one is perplexed by the post modern deconstructive method which has some point of similarities with early Buddhistthought. In between these two lines of thinking this paper tries to argue that the better our understanding and appreciation of this ancient legacy of Buddhist treasures becomes, the more able we will be to grasp the lines of post-modern thinking. There are certain concepts of Buddhism namely, language, writing, desire, suffering, death which are all important issues to the post-modern thinkers. The present paper is an effort to high light some of these concepts against the back ground of early Buddhist traditions. (shrink)
The ethnic conflict between tribals and non-tribals compounded by the insurgency has disturbed the peace in the state for more than 20 years and also resulted in the internal displacement of thousands of people. In order to restore peace and to prevent future internal displacement it would be necessary to give to the tribals their due share in governance.
Environmental debates are frequent nowadays. It is a common trend to seek the solutions of these issues in the fields of science and technology. There are at least two main arguments in support of this view. The first is that science provides objective answers that are based on fact. And the second is that the ecological threat that confronts us can only be measured with the help of advanced technology. The present paper tries to show that although science and technology (...) are of great help in solving these issues, environmental problems are not exclusively of a scientific or technical nature. This paper is divided into two sections. The first section tries to show why these problems are not exclusively scientific or technical in nature. And the second section tries to unveil the need for environmental ethics in the present-day society. (shrink)
The “centre-periphery” relationship historically structured scientific exchanges between metropolis and province, between the fount of empire and its outposts. But the exchange, if regarded merely as a one-way flow of scientific information, ignores both the politics of knowledge and the nature of its appropriation. Arguably, imperial structures do not entirely determine scientific practices and the exchange of knowledge. Several factors neutralise the over-determining influence of politics—and possibly also the normative values of science—on scientific practice.In examining these four examples of Indian (...) scientists in encounters with their peers at the centre, exceptional scientists are seen in a social context where the epistemology of science supposedly describes its practice. Imperialism imposes practices and patronage, which moderate the exchange of scientific knowledge. But, at Level Two, the politics of knowledge and the patterns of patronage within it mediate exchanges between the centre and the periphery.The first step in reconfiguring exchanges between centre and periphery —in this case, between Europe and India during the period 1850 to 1930— is to recognise the relation between the acquisition of resources and the maintenance of legitimacy and identity.67 Political life is not confined to the core of political institutions.68 Second, in examining science as practised in the colonies, it is necessary to see stages of scientific institutions, whose development structures the exchange.From the encounter of Ramchandra and De Morgan, it is evident that the centre-periphery framework should be separated from the models of transmission embedded within it. The notion of “translation” helps to suggest that scientists bring personal motives and meanings to each encounter. Ramchandra, for example, sought a novel method of teaching Indians calculus, while De Morgan's interest lay in finding a place for algebra in a liberal education.The hierarchy inherent in the centre-periphery framework compels the conclusion that, at Level Two, the autodidact outside the institutions of science must have his work presented to scientists at the centre by authoritative figures from the centre. This is not mainly a question of imperialism, but rather of patronage. The peripheral scientist could not be granted direct entry into the collegial circle until his efforts at the periphery could be translated into the language and concerns of the central community. Ramanujan's enigmatic formulas were translated into the language of analysis by Hardy, which enabled the creation of a field to which Hardy was committed.Scientists from the periphery who were already part of the circle by virtue of their training, were not necessarily subject to the same degree of attestation as other scientists from the periphery. P.C. Ray, with his DSc from Edinburgh, and his position at Calcutta University, had less difficulty in winning the trust of colleagues at the centre, even when he returned to India. On the contrary, remaining at the periphery, he moved from a context of patronage to a sphere of competition. In addition, Ray's collegiality, even at Level Two, was more comprehensive, and connected him with Level One.Eventually, the professional Indian science graduate found collegiality within the international community of scientists. Saha's self-imposed progressive nationalism constrained his identification with the centre and made him a potential competitor instead. Once having achieved eminence in the world of science, C.V. Raman and Saha shifted their work to journals of physics published in India in order to further the cause of physics research in their own country.69To go beyond the limitations of the centre-periphery model, it is necessary not merely to examine exchanges between scientists functioning in a “shared epistemological universe”,70 but also to recognise the part played by institutions, the experience of colonialism, and the forms of patronage characterising both colonialism and science. Put another way, although there is relative epistemological autonomy within the disciplinary research communities of science, the interplay between knowledge and power structures this exchange.The scientific links between colonial India and Britain at the turn of the century were mediated by structures which prefigured change. Does structure determine all? If it does, we are left with an Orientalist reconstruction of the docile native, and a passive cultural medium into which science percolates. But this neglects the role of scientists in creating new structures within which they worked. A middle position—one more sensitive to the exigencies of colonial scientific life—would be one where the participants are seen not as the dupes of “structure nor the potentates of action”, but as occupying a ground between the two.71. (shrink)