The Internal Quality Assurance Cell, KISS-DU, in collaboration with the School for Indigenous Knowledge, Science and Technology, and the Centre for Indigenous Science and Technology, organized a lecture under the Distinguished Lecture Series by Professor Kamal K. Misra, Professor Emeritus, KISS-DU on the 22nd April, 2022.
Speaking on the topic, “Indigenous Knowledge, Western Science and Imperatives of Development”, Prof. Mishra explained the difference in rigor and objectivity involved in indigenous versus western science. Stating that the two disparate methodologies actually complement each other, Prof. Mishra called for the dismantling of artificial divides between the two disciplines in order to pursue an integrated approach, instead of a top-down plan that leads to a dichotomy between indigenous needs and central policies.
He stressed that development must be socially, culturally, technologically, and environmentally appropriate, and must not rely solely on reductionist principles. He cited the example of shifting cultivation, which has been discouraged by the Government. However, farming is seen as nature-dependent by indigenous communities. Their mixed cropping and extended, timed harvest provide insurance against natural calamities and have multiple benefits, including surface mulching, recycling of minerals, and preservation of soil fertility. So, a scientific method of sustainable, diversified shifting cultivation with advanced techniques can be beneficial to indigenous communities. He praised the Soura tribe of the Gajapati district for enabling mixed terrace farming, with excellent results.
Prof. Mishra also spoke of how Ayurveda and Allopathy are at loggerheads in India, due to the emphasis on evidence-based research in allopathy, while Ayurveda is based on the philosophy of harmony and the principles of tridhosha. Knowledge systems thus have unique epistemological foundations, and all systems of knowledge need to be integrated into a holistic, rather than a pluralistic system. Dialogue must replace hostility, and old anathemas must be replaced by synergy between these systems, catalyzing social development and harmonious cohabitation, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU, welcomed the distinguished speaker and dignitaries attending the lecture. Dr. Sushree Sangita Mohanty, Assistant Professor, KISS-DU introduced Prof. Mishra as an eminent social scientist, the former Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University, and a Fulbright scholar with academic credentials from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Norway. An able administrator, Professor Mishra has served as the Director of several national institutions. He has also authored 25 books and 75 research papers. The Vice-Chancellor and senior functionaries of the University felicitated the distinguished speaker.
In her capacity as a visitor at KISS-DU, Dr. Sunita Reddy, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi summed up the lecture of Professor Mishra. Dr. Yasobanta Das, Dean, School of Indigenous Knowledge, Science and Technology, KISS-DU proposed a vote of thanks.