Development most used and abused word: Prof Shankar

Vice Chancellor, Kuvempu University, Prof Jogan Shankar opined that development was, both, politically and intellectually, the most used and abused word in the contemporary world.  We were striving to catch hold of the speed with the Western world in the competition of the economic growth under the guise of the word ‘development’

Prof Shankar said that while academicians kept arguing that intellectually there was no unanimity about what refers to development is but the state which was considered as the main and steering actor of development seems to be having no ambiguity in its conception of development, he said in his inaugural speech on Wednesday at the three-day 10th Karnataka Sociology Conference ‘Development, State and Environment in Karnataka: Issues, Conflict and Concern’.

“There is no intellectual ground to do social scientific inquiry into ‘developmental politics’ and do some serious sociology within this discourse. Many environmental issues are getting attention even  within the discourse of development. While the environmentalists and environmental activists are seen as anti-development and anti-state, the environmentalists consider the state as an institution of atrocity over environment,” Prof Shankar opined.

It is the responsibility of the state, he added, to civilize and develop its people towards prosperity. All the resources including environment ought to be protected and preserved by the state for not only this generation but also for the generations to come.

Prof Shankar further said, “As we clearly see the conflicting issues of development and sustainability of environment have direct connection with the capitalists model of industrialisation in the name of development, it appears though the state is acting on behalf of industrialist/corporate interests in the developmental politics.”

He pointed that people were displaced from forests not only because of the developmental projects but also in the name of protection of environment or forest. The people who had lived in the forest which was deep rooted in their customs and traditions were now been considered as the threat to the same forest. “The whole problem lies in the way the state has been taking up the developmental projects, bowing to the demands of capitalists’ and corporates’ interest,” Prof Shankar concluded.

Retired professor of sociology, University of Mysore, and former secretary, Indian Sociological Society, Prof R Indira stressed the need for development which accompanies with economic and social well-being of human lives. “Development is not all about numbers, it’s also depends on the economic condition and well-being of an individual. It should lead to upward mobility,” she said, adding, preservation of environment was also a pivotal part of development.

President, Karnataka Sociology Association (KSA) Prof Major M Nagaraj, Secretary, KSA, Prof M H Krishnappa and others were present.

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