Convenor: Dr. Mili Samaddar; HoD, Dept of BengaliPlatform: Google MeetDate: 31st July, 1st August, 2nd August 2020Time: 10:30 am onwardsSite link: https://sites.google.com/thebges.edu.in/thebescbengaliwebinar1Speakers: Day 1 : 31st July 2020 1st SessionProf. Mamata RaychoudhuriProfessor, Dept. of EconomicsFormer Pro-VC, University of CalcuttaProf. Debashis MazumdarHoD, Dept. of EconomicsThe Heritage College, Kolkata 2nd Session : Panel DiscussionMr. Anirban MukhopadhyayPh.D Scholar, College of MediaUniversity of Illinois, Urbana ChampaignMr. Soumya DasguptaPh.D Scholar, Architecture (History and Theory)University of Illinois, Urbana ChampaignMr. Debayudh ChatterjeePh.D Scholar, English (Literary Studies)University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign Day 2 : 1st August 2020 1st SessionDr. Biswajit RayAssociate Prof., Dept of BengaliViswa-Bharati, ShantiniketanDr. Joydeep GhoshAssistant Prof., Dept of BengaliJadavpur University, Kolkata 2nd Session : Panel DiscussionDr. Debamitra KarAssistant Prof, Dept. of EnglishWomens’ College, CalcuttaDr. Shinjini BasuAssistant Prof, Dept. of EnglishSir Gurudas Mohavidyalaya, KolkataDr. Mrinmoy Pramanick (moderator)Assistant Prof (HoD), Dept. of Comparative Indian Language and LiteratureUniversity of Calcutta, Kolkata Day 3 : 2nd August 2020 1st Session : 1st halfMr. Atul ThakurDeputy Secretary PHDChamber of Commerce and IndustryMrs. Debjani Ganguly (moderator)Vice-Principal of Arts, The B.E.S. College 1st Session : 2nd half (Discussion Session)Mr. Arup DasMARFAT (NGO organisation)Founder MemberMr. Soham BoseResearch and Policy AnalystTeam member of Pandemic Policy Assessment, Govt. of Orissa 2nd SessionDr. Swati MoitraAssistant Prof, Dept. of EnglishGurudas College, Kolkata Mili Samaddar comprehensively explained this sudden emergence of a worldwide pandemic situation that has posted a huge challenge to the future of humanity as well as to its supposedly mighty knowledge base of science and technology. She said that we are facing a tradeoff between economic down turn and physical wellbeing i. e, moving out of the frying pan with the five. She said that inside this phase of history, where every moment creates more boundaries between the rich and the poor, the educated and uneducated, the upper cast and lower cast, the powerful and the powerless, we seem to be engulfed by a kind of democratic abstraction. She explained that Philosophy, History, Art, Literature and Social Sciences i. e all genres of knowledge and quest are engrossed to get hold of this abstraction in their own unique way. According to her, the key to freedom for mankind from this horrific situation, lies in this joint endeavor. Teacher-in-Charge Dr. Suchandra Chakravarty in her welcome address stated that this three-day webinar would make us think about where we stand today. The COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut all across the world. Globally, suddenly children were out of the classroom. In light of the COVID-19 lockdown, when the country came to standstill in March, and a transformation came and people were not prepared for these changes. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. With this sudden shift away from the classroom in many parts of the globe, some are wondering whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post-pandemic, and how such a shift would impact the worldwide education market. Dr. Mamata Raychaudhuri deliberation mainly focused upon the following points: The present pandemic situation has generated a devastating impact upon the economic life of the common people thereby damaging or distorting the social relations in developing countries like India. This pandemic has also affected the condition of human development as defined by UNDP and each component of the human development index has been affected. Not only intra-national but also international relations have been affected due to the breakage of global value chains and restrictions upon cross border movements of goods and services. Even tensions in political relationships have accentuated this feature In the field of education, the closure of educational institutions has created a new challenge since online education cannot be a perfect substitute of offline education The new education policy cannot solve the weak points of social relationships if it concentrates too much upon corporatization of higher education system in India. On the other hand, the speech of Prof. Debashis Mazumdar hovered around the following points: The nitty-gritties of social relationships during post-COVID period have shown increased incidences of anxiety, uncertainty, stress related behavioural disorders, social unrest and the consequent impact upon the life and livelihoods of common people. Though maintenance of social distance as a mode of preventing the spread of novel corona virus has been imposed by the government, it can gradually become an accepted social value and there lies the unfortunate impact of “socialising the distance”. As in many other spheres of human activities, this pandemic has also greatly affected the performing art, visual art, exchange of ideas through social gatherings, sport activities, literary activities and so on which can help the balanced development of body and mind. But despite the restrictions, talented people with their innovative ideas have searched out several forms of virtual platform to express their ideas. Not only in biological sphere, virus has its existence in technologies (say, computer virus) and in the minds of human beings. This pandemic has exposed that virus in our minds through our distrust upon neighbours, increased incidences of domestic violence etc. But our religion in the true sense of the term has emphasised upon the existence of ‘God’ in every human being. So a spiritual upliftment is needed to save our society from the emergence of “selfish gene”. The Achilles’ heel now is the poor state of health infrastructure in many developing nations including India. We need substantial increase in public expenditure on health infrastructure so that in near future the common people can have an affordable health support. Maintaining food security is important but along with that a significant part of social security is the health security for millions of poverty ridden people. Six feet Apart: City space and Mass Media (A panel Discussion : Mr Abirban Mukhopadhyay, Mr. Soumya Dasgupta and Mr. Debayudh Chatterjee) The panel discussion was an attempt to interrogate the not so seamless transition from physical to digital spaces brought about by the pandemic. In doing so, it foregrounded the fault lines, arguing that the opportunity costs of such a transition was often levied on the informal sector. It was further noted that the mainstream media categorically invisibilized the role of the informal sector during the pandemic. Most of the content it disseminated fell under the realm of what could be called a spectacle. The discussion concluded by observing how the post pandemic dispensation reaffirmed class, caste, gender, and racial privileges across public and private spaces. Dr. Biswajit Ray concentrated on the Pandemic and it’s effect on the minds and expressions of the citizens.He focused on how humans deal with pandemics by referring to certain literary works. Special light was thrown on the condition of Amal in Rabindranath’s play DAK GHAR who was asked to lead a complete Quarantine condition and close all the windows but later it is realised that closing the windows and stopping the exposure of the mind to the outside world is futile and does no good in curing the patient . Hence it is recommended to mend the societal viewpoint about social distancing and isolation. Dr. Ghosh however focussed on the present ever-changing modernisation symbols apparent in the current society engulfed by the Pandemic He threw light upon finding which diction is the growth curve of modernisation heading to in a consumeristic society and owing to which the various economical stratus are also being deciphered Debamitra Kar focused on: Mourning is examined as a collective action with therapeutic values.How the State participates and intervenes in the mourning process, challenging those mourning processes that may have the potential to challenge the status quo of power.How the presence and the absence of the dead bodies contribute to the creation of memories. Creating memory also translates an absence into loss, which demands an agent of change and a lack upon which the community memory and subjectivity is built. The social process of creating a sacrificial being who serves the purpose of ‘carrying our sins away’ and how such beings can be remembered or forgotten depending upon the function they perform for the State and how the body of the sacrificial being vanishes or is musealized (which is also a process of vanishing) in the changing contexts. Thus, the dead body can either be a subject or an object, depending on the regulatory processes applied to it. The vanishing dead bodies of the pandemic victims also showcase the vanishing citizens who are made to disappear from the public space only to reappear in the sanitised zone marked by the State. Shinjini Basu focused on: Death has a central role to the formulation of a community as ‘being common’, that is a community conceptualised in terms of fusion of its corporeal body with its essence.The process of mourning helps attain this fusion by sublating individual death in collective sacrifice. State instrumentalists the creation and sustenance of this ‘being common’ by regulating the process of mourning. Those regulations do not just define the relation between the State and its citizens but also the relation of the essential and the corporeal.The corpse is an abject body that does not yield any meaning or materiality of death. Abject is not primordial, it can be historical cultural and extend political exclusion. The series of regulations regarding mourning indicates a friction between the communal and civic space. In times of pandemic that spatial demarcation breaks down due to more encroaching regulatory regime. A pandemic is not an imposition of exception. It is an extension of exception already normalised for us. Atul Thakur deliberated on the disastrous effect of the Pandemic on India’s economy and its long term effect on her relations with her Asian neighbours.He said,this long period of lockdown has led to joblessness which has drastically affected peoples’ livelihood.Worst affected are the manufacturing industries.G.D.P has declined to an abnormal level.Growth rate has declined to 4.2percent. However,he pointed out,there are opportunity ities too.India should take advantage of the alienation of China in the field of international trade relations and investment.Being the largest democracy in the world,India has great potential as a field of investment.Large corporate houses might be interested to invest in India. Atul Thakur completed his speech on a positive note.He pointed out that there is much scope of improving bilateral ties of India with her South Asian neighbours like Bangladesh,Nepal,Bhutan, Srilanka. India should aim at a stronger role in SouthAsia. The supreme motive of mankind is the survival of their own self, fear of death and will to live on is equally high which thus creates a great unrest. Human beings cannot live by themselves and hence they form into a society according to their needs. The amount of interdependency among humans is noticed to be more in urban areas than in villages and hence the spread of pandemic is more in cities rather than villages Though a lot of developments are being noticed around and privileged people who were unaffected by the sufferings of the underprivileged mass have also contributed to the cause of fighting the situation caused by the Pandemic, awareness regarding proper education and healthcare facilities are still questionable. However a range of initiatives have been taken to uplift the condition of the vulnerable though much of it is questionably flashy. The age of rapid globalisation has seen a lot of natural degradation and exploitation of the common people. The alliance between the Public and Private Sectors with that of mass communication is also evident in these matters In this environment of risk and uncertainty we should be aware of the fact that nothing is like what it was and the NEW NORMAL is in our hands to direct and create. Conditions are worse but we need to remain afloat and find a place to rest Oedipus and Epidemic—Swati Moitra Western literature has multiple instances of using epidemics in the literary space. Importance of the trope of disease in Sophocles’ play, Oedipus Rex. How the disease destabilises the relation between the king and his subjects. The failure to control the raging epidemic ultimately results in the King’s investigation of the cause of the malady. When he realises his own responsibility in polluting the city, he chooses to leave his city and power with his family. Responsibility of the State in controlling an epidemic cannot be overlooked, a reason why this text has been used by several writers to criticise the role of the present governments all over the world. From The Desk of I.Q.A.C.: I.Q.A.C. Co Ordinator Mr. Tathagata Sen mentioned that people are scrambling to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances as they attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19—and it is stressful and scary. Fear of losing livelihood and going out, insecurity for oneself and loved ones, we all are confined in this situation. we are becoming digital as well as mechanical. We have also witnessed charity, solidarity and loving-kindness. we are literally all in this together. Webinar Convenor: Webinar Convenor Dr. Mili Samaddar in Valedictory session explained, this is a time to act together; only concerted action can effectively combat a threat of this scale. A change of thinking about our home space and our relationship with work areas have occurred. The world will look significantly different post pandemic. Conclusion: This conference received considerable response from students, research scholars and faculty members both from within and without the college.