KATHMANDU, March 2: The Literary Association of Nepal (LAN) has concluded its 35th annual international conference here in the capital on Wednesday. Held at the Danish Hall of Padma Kanya Campus, the intellectuals’ symposium dwelled on the crisis in humanities studies in the present-day world.
In the two-day international conference, over a dozen academicians from Nepal and abroad presented their papers on different topics, primarily focusing their ideas on the crisis in the humanities.
Presenting his paper titled “Humanities in ‘Crisis’: Some Reflections on the Nepalese Scene” in the symposium, Prof. Dr. Hriseekesh Upadhyay said, “Socio-cultural, political-economic factors have combined to eclipse the vibrant position of humanities which has led to the serious decline of culture and human values in all areas of civilized living.”
Likewise, Dr K Kaviarasu’s (from Tamil Nadu) paper underscored the need for maintaining a nail-fleshlike relationship between the people and the nature to preserve the human values.
The program also held a panel discussion involving distinguished scholars and think-tanks including Prof. Dr Arun Gupto and also conducted a workshop on the Promotion of Humanities Education. Organized to generate ideas from the participants, the workshop was carried out by dividing the participants into three groups in which all the participants expressed their views on the topic in question and each group leader eventually presented the collective ideas before the participants.
The group discussion tried to define crisis in the humanities, find reasons behind the crisis and solution to the crisis. The workshop which primarily focused on the crisis in the Humanities was moderated by Prof. Dr Hriseekesh Upadhyay. Almost all the participants agreed that humanities is in a crisis as the number of students opting for humanities education is dwindling.
Some participants attributed the decreasing number of students to the lack of job market, while others blamed the poor quality of education. Political activist Surendra Chaudhary argued that Tribhuvan University is producing a huge chunk of unskilled mass unsalable in the job market. He stressed the need for maintaining quality education to attract more students.
Other participants said that the crisis has been caused by the social attitude where money is valued, not the human values. The participants suggested adopting an interdisciplinary approach, i.e., adopting some science papers in the humanities and vice-versa while some suggested holding awareness programs at the institute or community level to promote human values and cultures.
LAN was founded in 1981 by a group of scholars and writers to promote academic, literary and research scholarship in the country. The main objectives of LAN are to disseminate Nepalese literature abroad, provide a forum for the study of foreign literatures in Nepal, and promote creative writing. To achieve these goals, it organizes regular seminars, symposia, talks, creative writing workshops, discussion and an annual two-day conference inviting scholars and writers from Nepal and abroad. In addition to that, it publishes an annual journal and regular newsletters.
After a long deliberation among the paper writers, panelists and workshop participants, LAN passed the resolution stating that “Education in all disciplines of knowledge, at least up to the undergraduate level, should have significant humanities component in the curriculum,”LAN General Secretary Khum Prasad Sharma told Republica Online.
Chaired by Prof. Dr. Shreedhar Gautam, the two-day international conference concluded with the signing of a MOU between LAN and South Asian English Language and Literature Teachers’ Association.