Panchnad Research Institute believes in the ideal: Aa no bhadra kratavo yantu vishvatah (Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides). It subscribes to the maxim: Ekam sadvipra bahudha vadanti (Truth is one; the wise tell it in different ways). The method and the spirit of discourse and debate are of paramount importance to the Institute. Shankaracharya characterized the techniques of discussion as Jalpa, Vitandaa and Vaada. In Jalpa, the attempt is to smother opposition by vehement criticism and rejoinders with overbearing arrogance in assertion; and in Vitandaa the aim is to simply destroy the edifice of opponent’s arguments even by foul means and methods. Panchnad provides a forum for Vaad for all, irrespective of the nature of their views. The path to ultimate truth can be traversed in various ways. Says the Gita: Mam vartmnuvartante manushyah parth sarvshah (My path do men tread in many ways). The Institute has been inviting to its multifarious activities people holding all kinds of views and beliefs to express and discuss them in this noble spirit.
NATURE OF ACTIVITIES
The Institute takes up for debate, study and research issues of contemporary interest as well as those of lasting and fundamental importance to the society. The nature of our studies lies midway between academic research and investigative journalism; an informed discourse and analysis guided by objectivity of approach and scientific methodology maintaining a pace that keeps the results relevant. It undertakes field studies and research on issues that concerns the nation and the society. It holds dialogues between various sections of the society for conflict resolution and organizes training camps for journalists and young men and women aspiring to join the profession in the art, principles and ethics of journalism. It brings out an annual research journal and publishes books. Besides, its 30-odd Study Centres spread over the entire North-West region regularly hold gosthees, lectures, seminars and symposia. Intellectuals, scholars and experts are invited to initiate discussion on socially relevant issues that is followed by interventions by participants.
Panchnad Research Institute was formally launched by Shri Prem Bhatia, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group of newspapers, in the presence of a large number of eminent scholars, professionals, journalists and social activists at Chandigarh in 1984. Justice T U Mehta delivered a thought-provoking presidential address to outline the aims and objectives of the Institute. Inaugural ceremony was followed by a national seminar on: Is India a nation or a multi-national entity? Former Supreme Court judge, Justice H R Khanna presented an inspiring keynote address. Several eminent scholars presented papers at the seminar.
DIALOGUE ON PUNJAB CRISIS
One of the most successful and socially relevant initiatives the institute took was an in-camera dialogue on Punjab Crisis at Chandigarh in 1986 in which several eminent public figures and scholars from various walks of life participated. Presentation of papers and free and frank exchange of views spread over two days, away from media glare, was more in the nature of introspection than the usual blame game. The focus throughout was on tracing the roots of the Punjab problem and evolving a national consensus to end the alienation of a section of our society. Prominent amongst those who participated were Shri K S Sudershan, Shri Krishan Kant, Sardar Surjit Singh Barnala. Sardar Balwant Singh, Dr Baldev Parkash, Sardar Jagjit Singh Anand, Shri K R Malkani, Shri Prem Kumar, Shri Devinder Swarup, Sardar Maheep Singh, Shri Lajpat Rai, Dr J S Ahluwalia and Shri Naraian Das. Chairman of the Institute, Justice T U Mehta, Director Shri Shyam Khosla and Secretary Shri S P Jain, also participated. Selected papers presented at the dialogue were included in Panchnad Research Journal 1988 with permission from the authors concerned.
The Panchnad Research Institute conducted a field-study on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi. A team comprising Shri Shyam Khosla, Shri Krishan Lal Maini, Dr Sunil Khetrapal and Shri Hemant Vishnoi spent a week in the riot-hit areas to produce a comprehensive report that was published under the title ‘Facts Speak for Themselves’. The report was greatly appreciated by all concerned.
Dr B L Gupta and Shri Hemant Vishnoi painstakingly studied the phenomenon of Pakistani infiltration in the border areas of Rajasthan. Their report was published and circulated widely. It was later incorporated in the Panchnad Research Journal 1989.
A team comprising two senior journalists Dr N K Trikha and Shri Shyam Khosla and two academics Dr B L Gupta and Dr K S Arya conducted a detailed field study into Christians-Vanvasi clashes in Dangs district of Gujarat in 1999. The team’s findings were published in book form and a signed copy of the same was presented to Union Home Minister Shri Lal Krishan Advani. The book was released at a public function, presided over by Justice D S Tewatia, former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, at New Delhi in which a large number of Christian missionaries were also present. It was widely circulated in India and abroad.
The Institute organized two major training programmes for young journalists and young men and women aspiring to join the profession. The first one was a week long workshop-cum-training camp at Hisar on “New Trends in News Reporting and Newspaper Production” in collaboration with the Department of Communication Management and Technology of Guru Jambheshwar University, Hisar in 1997 in which 31 budding journalist from Haryana, Punjab and Delhi participated. Veteran editors, journalists, academicians and social activists conducted the programme.
The second a three-week training camp on ‘Media Writing’ was held at Shimla in collaboration with the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of the Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla in September-October 2002. Twenty-one young journalists from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh participated in the workshop. The workshop was inaugurated by Himachal Pradesh Governor Shri Suraj Bhan. The emphasis during the training programmes was to merge media ethics with the news writing and allied professional skills. A number of practical sessions were held. Several eminent editors, senior journalists and renowned academics were invited as resource persons to interact with the trainees. Prominent amongst those who conducted the sessions were Prof. B K Kuthiala, Shri R S Sharma, Prof Vepa Rao, Ms Mohanmeet Khosla, Shri Shyam Khosla, Shri Ashok Malik, Shri Ajay Srivastava, Dr Vir Bala Aggarwal, and Shri R S Pathania.
The Institute organized a two-day workshop on Judicial Reforms at Chandigarh in 2001. More than 40 legal luminaries, academicians and lawyers from Himachal, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi participated in the workshop. Punjab Chief Minister, Sardar Prakash Singh Badal, inaugurated it. Prominent amongst those who presented papers and participated in the workshop included Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, Shri M.L. Sarin, Senior Advocate, Punjab & Haryana High Court, Prof Suresh Kapur of H P University, Dr V K Aggarwal of the Kurukshetra University, Dr D C Manocha of GND University, Shri T N Razdan, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Shri Pawan Bansal, MP, Shri Alok Kumar, former Deputy Speaker, Delhi Assembly, Shri Vikas Mahajan, Advocate, Delhi High Court, Dr. K S Arya Academic and Shri Shyam Khosla, Chairman of the Institute.
Organizing special talks by eminent persons and experts in various fields is a common feature of Institute’s activities. Prominent amongst those who delivered talks on their field of specialization are: Shri K S Sudershan, Dr M M Joshi, Prof. Brahama Challeney, Dr B L Gupta, Prof. Devinder Swaroop, Noted archeologist V S Waknekar, Shri Arun Jaitley, Shri Shanta Kumar, Shri Aref Mohammad Khan, Prof. Brahma Challeni, Shri Dina Nath Batra, Dr. J S Rajput, Dr. J K Bajaj, Shri Rakesh Sinha, Dr. N K Trikha, Shri R S Sharma, Dr. K S Arya, Prof. H S Bedi, Prof. Swadesh Sharma, Shri Vijay Kranti, Prof. B K Kuthiala and Shri Shyam Khosla.
The Institute has been regularly organizing well-attended and highly applauded seminars on issues of profound national interest. Luminaries from different walks of life have been invited to participate. Some of the notable seminars have been on subjects like Terrorism in Punjab, Relevance of Hindutava, Electoral reforms, Implications of the developments in East Europe (1990), Kashmir problem, Secularism in the Indian context, the Presidential versus Parliamentary forms of government, Supreme Court judgment on Ayodhya, Constitutional and political implications of the Supreme Court orders in the Hawala case, RSS and social change, India-China relation, India a nation or a multi-nation entity?, Minorities – A conceptual study, Politics of reservation, Relevance of pre-election surveys and exit polls, Disaster management, Religious demography of India, Commercialization of education, Distortions in Indian history, Controversy over school text books, Tibet and Indian security, Dr. K Hedgewar and Freedom movement, Indian security scenario, Guru Granth Sahib – A document of Human Welfare, Mahatma’s assassination and its aftermath, Credibility & accountability of media, Social harmony, Judicial accountability, Social accountability of medical practitioners, Future of Tibet and Challenges before Hindutva.
Prominent amongst those who have participated in these seminars and symposia include Shri A B Vajpayee, Shri L K Advani, Shri I K Gujral, HH the Dalai Lama, Shri Mohan Bhagwat, Justice H R Khanna, Dr Karan Singh, Shri Jaswant Singh, Shri Madhu Dandavate, Justice Rama Jois, Shri M G Vaidya, Shri Bal Apte, Shri Giri Lal Jain, Shri Prem Bhatia, Prof M S Agwani, Shri Nikhil Chakravarty, Shri Khuswant Singh, Dr Bhai Mahavir, Shri Inderjit, Shri Kedar Nath Sahni, Swami Agnivesh, Shri Yagya Dutt Sharma, Shri Prabhash Joshi, Shri J K Bajaj, Justice D V Sehgal, Himachal Governor Suraj Bhan and Dr Shashi.
ESSAY WRITING PROJECTS
The Institute has all along been involving eminent authors and experts to contribute essays and articles for its publications. Prominent among those who contributed essays for Panchnad publications include Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Justice T U Mehta, Dr Subhash C Kashyap, Shri Praful Goradia, Justice Rama Jois, Shri Francois Gautier, Shri P C Dogra, Shri G V Gupta, Shri M G Vaidya, Shri Hari Jaisingh, Col Anil Bhat (Retd), Shri Prakash Singh, Shri Vijay Kranti, Shri Ashok Malik, Dr Krishan Baweja, Shri Chiranjeev Singh, Dr. Shahsi Bala, Dr Rajneesh Arora, Prof Avyakt Ram Mishra, Prof Satish Mittal, and Shri Jatindra Joshi. The Institute also organized declamation contests and essay writing competitions for school and college students on contemporary issues to mark special occasions in national life.