Chandigarh May 22, 2020 : A webinar involving only the research students of history was held for the first time by Department of Evening Studies – Multi Disciplinary Research Centre (DES-MDRC), Panjab University today where Prof. G.C. Chauhan, a noted scholar of Early Indian History, discussed on the ‘Research Activities during COVID-19 Lockdown’. Prof. Mahesh Sharma,Chairperson informed that the aim of the webinar was to assess the impact of pandemic and lock-down/curfew on the research activities of these young researchers. It also provided an opportunity to share their research projects, methodology, and problems faced by them during this time with their peers as well as to seek suggestions, comments, and feedback.
11 research students participated and their topics ranged from early to modern times. Some of the topics presented were on the Pastoral Economy during Vedic times, Upanisadic Education, Land-grants in early Medieval India, Economic Foundations of Early Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Rituals of Grihasutras, and Apple Economy of Simla District. Comparative textual studies were presented too as the comparison in the treatment of Sita in the Ramayana and Raghuvansam, or on the provenance and social thought of Manu.
The emphasis of the research student’s webinar was to look for alternatives to conduct research, such as the use of internet and modern communication technologies, so as to make up for the curfew-time that could have been spent in the field, archives, libraries. The students emphasised the digital-commons, both for accessing as well as publishing, along with text archives and open access libraries as some of the repositories that sustained their readings and quest for new materials. They also welcomed the sensitivities of universities and major publishing houses who opened their digitised books and journals during these difficult times.
The faculty of the University also participated and made useful suggestions while motivating the research students to keep their morale high in these uncertain times.