IOS-IAMSS conference on “Role of Social Scientists in Resolving Socio-Economic Issues” at Pune
Two-day conference. Introducing the IOS, the assistant secretary general of the Institute, Prof. Haseena Hashia said that the institute specifically tried to create linkages with other NGOs on practical levels by creating synergy for collaborating efforts and programmes. Another notable area of interest had been to work on regional problems and profiles of marginalised section of society in different regions of India.
New Delhi: A two-day national conference on “Role of Social Scientists in Resolving Socio-Economic Issues”, was organised by the Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi, in collaboration with Department of Economics, Abeda Inamdar Senior College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune, and Indian Association of Muslim Social Scientists (IAMSS), New Delhi at the conference hall, Azam Campus, Camp, Pune on December 16 & 17, 2022.
The session began with the recitation of a verse from the Holy Qur’an by a student of the Abeda Inamdar College. Prof. Dr. Shaila Bootwala, Principal, Abeda Inamdar Senior College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune, welcomed the guests and briefly shed the light on the activities of the college and the importance of the two-day conference. Introducing the IOS, the assistant secretary general of the Institute, Prof. Haseena Hashia said that the institute specifically tried to create linkages with other NGOs on practical levels by creating synergy for collaborating efforts and programmes. Another notable area of interest had been to work on regional problems and profiles of marginalised section of society in different regions of India. She noted that the Institute had become a trend-setter in the fields of conceptual and investigative research on the Qur’anic approach to human problems and the problems of Muslims in India. Various survey projects focused on the problems of Muslims were fulfilling a long-felt need for statistical information and analysis in different areas. She observed that the Institute acquired marked credibility in few select areas, namely, achieving steady progress in bringing together a galaxy of social scientists, policy planners and social workers. The brain storming efforts had resulted into creating an intellectual movement all over the country among scholars, community leaders and social activists. She held that the IOS could create a synergy to focus on the problems of weaker sections of society, the marginalised and those suffering from deprivation.
While Prof. Shamim A. Ansari, Secretary, Indian Association of Muslim Social Scientists (IAMSS) introduced the theme, and highlighted its significance in the present-day India’s context. Prof. M.H. Qureshi, former professor of geography, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi inaugurated the inaugural session. Prof. Amitabh Kundu, Professor Emeritus L.J. University, Ahmedabad, delivered the key-note address. Speaking as a guest of honour, Vice-Chairman of the IOS, Prof. M. Afzal Wani, highlighted the role of social scientists in studying social problems and suggesting ways to benefit the society. Dr. Tabassum Sheikh, Principal. G.M. Momin Women’s College, Bhiwandi, Mumbai, was the other guest of honour who focused on the role of social scientists in the changed world scenario. Prof. Arshi Khan, professor of political science at Aligarh Muslim University, was the third guest of honour who said that social scientists had concerns for social issues facing nation and the world. Speaking as a chief guest, Prof. Dr. Vijay Khare, Director, International Centre and dean, faculty of humanities, SPPU, expressed the confidence that the two-day national conference would deliberate on the issues that were facing social scientists and arrive at a consensus to benefit the society at large.
In his presidential speech, Dr. P.A. Inamdar, president, MCE Society, Camp, Pune, stressed the need for the social scientists to come together to discuss and debate issues that confronted humanity. Social scientists could proactively help society to solve pressing problems of today’s world. Their knowledge and experience should be used to make the world a better place to live in. The session ended with a vote of thanks extended by Dr. Aftab Alam, head of the department of economics, AISC, Pune.
The first business session was devoted to the economic advancement and social issues. Prof. Dr. Shakeel Ahmed former director, PIMSE, Camp was in the chair.
The first speaker of the session was Prof. Moinuddin Falahi, Vice-principal, Poona College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune. He was followed by Dr. Malika B. Mistry, retired professor, Poona College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune. Dr. Aftab Alam, head of the department of economics, AISC, Pune, was the last speaker of the session.
The session was chaired by Dr. Salma Aziz, head of the department of sociology, Poona College of Arts, Science and Commerce. Dr. Gulab Pathan of the department of sociology of same College was the first speaker who was followed by Umer Farooque Khaleel Ahmad, assistant professor of mathematics and Dr. Nooruddin, assistant professor of Islamic studies, G.M. Momin Women’s College, Bhiwandi, Mumbai.
Third and the last session of the first day was chaired by Dr. Wahida Shaikh, dean of social science, Poona College. There were two speakers in the session who spoke on several issues related to the theme. The speakers were Dr. Ahmad Shamshad, head of the department of political science, Poona College and Shabana Shaikh of the department of political science, AISC.
Day-2 (December 17, 2022)
While Prof. Arshi Khan, department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, was in the chair, Prof. Shuja Shakir, head of the department of political science, BAMU, Aurangabad (Maharashtra) initiated the discussion by observing that social scientists were rarely visible. But, the people believed that the social sciences offered something to them. He said that if social sciences offered something, one had to go deeper into them. Citing an illustration, he held that U.S. president depended on economics to solve post-depression period. But that did not last long. Then applied economic was employed. There were many problems that required a lot of things to solve them. He noted that social sciences were a glory in the academic world. He talked about the importance, purpose and scope of social sciences and emerging challenges before it. Problems today were so many that they were beyond the reach of social science, he added.
Prof. Shuja Shakir was followed by Mr. V.B. Rawat, author and social activist, New Delhi, who focused on role of social scientists in helping society, expressed his disappointment with the way social science was limited to Hindu-Muslim binary. He urged social scientists to look into issues across countries, religions and regions. He noted how amazingly odd it was to show itself as victim and ignoring the real victims and vulnerable sections of society. He said that the government of the day did not do anything to enable students to know of their past particularly of casteism and inequality. History was converted into propaganda, WhatsApp and other social media platforms and social sciences could do a lot for the struggle of Adivasis. He observed that sociological point of view should be explained to the students of history. He said that the ruling political leadership made it feel that the elite was victimized. He called for creating a narrative through the curriculum.
Dr. Nasheed Imtiyaz, associate professor of psychology, AMU, held that the term ‘social sciences’ stemmed from the time of enlightenment. Social scientists conducted studies and spearheaded research projects. She explained the role and responsibilities of social sciences in the 21st century. She said that they included social stratification, economic, educational, political and social issues. She observed that psychologists did a lot during the Covid-19, especially for the improvement of mental health. Cognitive restructuring was the solution to the problems that followed the Covid-19 as it helped change the belief about society, she noted.
Prof. Afroz Alam, head of the department of political science, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad, devoted to the contemporary dynamic challenges of technologies. He examined the role of automation and big data enterprises vis-à-vis the heritage and freedom of human beings. New technologies were creating new equals and a new world. He said that data monopoly would twist fats and establish cyber colonialism. Today, everybody was suspected in the eye of the state. In the USA, they had precise data and about 65 percent people were connected to the internet. About eight billion people were under surveillance. They were surrendering their freedom voluntarily. Lakhs of people were dying due to eating more. They were making the world dependent on tools and technology. He observed that the facebook was the biggest platform of communication. He stressed the need for controlling the future monster, the power of social media.
The fifth session was chaired by the former professor of economics, Gorakhpur University, Prof. Nasrin Fatima. Prof. Syed Zahoor A. Geelani, school of education, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, was the first speaker who spoke on the role of social scientists in solving socio-economic problems: a case study of Kashmir. He said that there were four major types of social scientists. He discussed social principle and social pathways in resolving issues. He deliberated on six different social issues, like, poverty, illiteracy, corruption, child labour and health issues.
He was followed by Prof. Abdul Waheed, chairman, department of sociology, AMU. He focused on economic backwardness of Indian Muslims and said that the lack of trade and commerce was the main cause of it. Commenting on communal violence and commercial violence, he said that the latter was responsible for community’s economic backwardness.
The third speaker was Prof. P.H. Mohammad, head of the department of sociology, MANUU, who spoke on diversity and multi-culturalism: making up of India a multi-cultural society.
Fourth and the last speaker was Prof. Fahim Akhtar Nadvi, head of the department of Islamic studies, MANUU, who dwelt on the theme from the perspective of the Qur’an and Hadith.
Business Session –VI
The sixth business session was chaired by Prof. Haseena Hashia.
Dr. John Dayal, human rights and Christian political activist was the first speaker who underlined the importance of inter-community dialogue to understand each other and dispel prevailing misunderstandings among them. This could help face challenges from the media, government and the judiciary collectively. He discussed islamophobia, inter-caste marriages, religious conversion and uniform civil code. He said that the government should provide data on various issues related to the minorities.
He was followed by Prof. Abul Kalam Mohammad Anwaruzzaman, from the department of geography, Aliah University, Kolkata. He touched upon the theme, fertility differentials in India: religious or regional dimension. In his presentation, he showed state-wise data on fertility differentials. With the help of data, he proved that Muslim fertility rate was on the declining trend leading to fall in the fertility rate among Muslims.
Prof. Nasrin Mujib of the department of education, AMU, was the third speaker who spoke on the role of education in resolving socio-economic issues. Her paper was mainly focused on educational problems of the marginalised and economic. She said that the social and economic status was linked to the level of education of the people of that community.
She was followed by Athar Hussain from Assam who presented the paper on the agricultural problems of the state. He said how the labour class was suffering there and the economic slide was causing various problems for the labourers.
The concluding session was presided over by Prof. Z.M. Khan, secretary general of the IOS. Dr. Aftab Alam, conducted the proceedings.
Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, economist and professor at MCRHRDI, Hyderabad, spoke on the new areas in social science research, developing new methods to answer difficult question as the guest of honour. In his address, Dr. Khan dealt with the issues related to social science research and its application.
Prof. Asmer Beg, dean, faculty of social science, AMU, who was another guest of honour, shed light on various aspects of the subject.
In his valedictory address, former vice-chancellor of Rajasthan University and Himachal Pradesh University, Prof. Furqan Qamar said that social scientists could positively contribute to socio-economic development of the country. They could use their knowledge to address the issues that confronted the society.
In his presidential remarks, the secretary general of the IOS, Prof. Z.M. Khan, pointed out that the conference succeeded in its purpose to focus attention on social and economic issues. Social scientists could play an active role in solving several problems facing society. Because of their deep study of the problem, they could suggest ways means to tackle them, he concluded.
The occasion was marked by the adoption of a 7-point resolution by the participants. The resolution, read out by Prof. Haseena Hashia, states:
The National Conference jointly organized by Abeda Inamdar Sr. College (Autonomous) of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune, Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), New Delhi and Indian Association of Muslim Social Scientists (IAMSS), New Delhi on December 16-17, 2022 at Azam Campus, Pune on the topic “Role of Social Scientists in Resolving Socio-Economic Issues”, resolves following after two-day online/offline deliberations:
- To work towards cultivating moral/ethical values in the society.
- To work for strengthening the universal brotherhood envisaged in the preamble of the constitution.
- To inculcate habit of scientific thinking and reasoning and to promote other values mentioned under Fundamental Duties in the Article 15A of the constitution.
- To educate society on common and shared socio-economic problems of the society and the way forward.
- To work collectively towards the promotion of a fair and unbiased approach and treatment as well as to work for inclusive polity and environment.
- To set and define the roadmap for economic empowerment of socially marginalized individuals and groups.
- To find out all democratic and governmental mechanisms and policies to avoid and prevent any kind of unlawful and anti-social statements and activities which are detrimental to the socio-cultural fabric of India.
At the end, Dr. Rahul More, P.G. coordinator, department of economics, Abeda Inamdar Sr. College, proposed a vote of thanks to the participants.
A view of audience