Kathmandu 1 July 2013: 18 graduates of Academic and Intellectual Discourse were awarded course completion certificates in a modest ceremony held at Marco Polo Business Hotel Kathmandu on 1st July 2013. Emceed by Dr. Tara Lal Shrestha, the function was chaired by PDRC President Kamala Hemchuri and the Chief Guest Prof. Dr. Abhi Subedi delivered a commencement speech.
Representatives from different Dalit NGOs and political parties congratulated the discourse graduates and urged them to take the Dalit movement into new heights through academic and intellectual terrain. Likewise, delivering motivational speeches, resource persons from different backgrounds affiliated to AI Discourse expressed their hope and optimism that the graduate students will translate the knowledge they gained from the class to real action and will lead the change moving forward.
All of the speakers in the program lauded PDRC for initiating the course like ‘AI Discourse’ that tends to fill the void of argument from an intellectual and academic perspective in the Dalit movement. AI discourse participants shared the major highlights of their learning from the course where they learned about how the issue of caste-based discrimination stretches far beyond the issue of untouchability- how Dalit movement does not exclusively belong to Dalit community and how it is more of a social, political, economical and cultural issue of our nation.
In his commencement speech, Chief Guest and Keynote speaker Dr. Abhi Subedi portrayed Dalit community as a group of artists, musicians, lyricists and natural poets who always hold an important occupational status in society yet were kept out of the threshold to the mainstream society through the systematic process of making their existence and issues invisible. He invoked Ralph Edison’ s novel ‘The Invisible Man’ and Antonio Gramsci’s theory position of ‘Hegemony’ to elucidate the subtle yet distinct process of harmonizing, invisiblizing and dehumanizing the Dalit populace since historical times in Nepalese context.
In an informal session after the formal program, happy and cheerful graduates of AI Discourse shared their eagerness and commitment of bringing in intellectual dimension to the currently diluted Dalit movement with the group. AI Discourse provides Dalit and non-Dalit youths, leaders and professionals from different walks of life with a platform to learn and discuss different issues related to the Dalit community. Logistics organized by PDRC, course content and teaching-learning methodology designed by renowned scholars and sociologists from TU and other institutions, AI discourse is a short-term course running for five weeks annually.
The enthusiasm of non-Dalit youths to participate in the Dalit movement and their commitment to research, study and discourse more on Dalit issue remained the major achievement of AI Discourse cohort -III
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