On the first day, the senior professors and mentors of NIRDPR and IASSH addressed us in a conference hall. I vividly remember the words coming from them which were emblematic of their vast experiences in the field of social sciences research. Prof. Gyan Mudra had very cogently pointed out that a good research work in the field of social sciences must lead to improvement in the Human Development Index (HDI); I had written this point in my diary and made a copy of it in my brain. As I am going ahead in this journey of research in public health I am learning that an important research work leads to emancipation of society, ushers meaningful and sustainable changes and creates some value and impacts the lives of people positively. Her address had a candor about it and you could make out that she wanted the attendees of the conference to understand the prime importance of research and the workshop, at the outset.
Dr. W.R.Reddy, Director General of NIRDPR was always a delight to hear to. He mentioned that there is a deficit in the field of social science research in India and an acute deficiency of body of knowledge in social science which plays an instrumental role in policy formulation. His words are all over my heart and mind. It was clear that he was trying to bring to table the exigency of quality research work for Indian context, bring our attention to the plight of poor, uneducated and underprivileged masses that are waiting for resources to improve their situations. He continuously reminded us of the significance of focussed and passionate work. He had also mentioned the travesty that as a research community, we are always in the post-mortem scenario and that we must go a step further to become better equipped to handle unexpected emergencies that project threat to our communities' well-being and progress. The immense sincerity that he exuded while speaking was extremely infectious and actually compelled me to look within and ask, "How am I serving my nation?". Overall, from the address of the guests at the inauguration ceremony of the conference it was evident that the conference was a neatly carved out strategy to help young researchers and budding investigators in the field of social science and to make them cognizant of the responsibilities that lay on their shoulders.
The next day of the workshop had an eclectic mix of topics for lecture: Relevance of Policy Research, Case Study Application: How and What to report, Qualitative Research Methods and Secondary Data Analysis. I really enjoyed all of these sessions and there was something to learn and remember from each of them. The presenters were very patient and responded in the best of spirits to the queries of students. Second day, got over around 5pm and I rushed to market to buy some fruits and dry fruits for myself. I enjoyed a good walk till the market and bought apples, bananas, almonds, cashewnuts and raisins to help me satiate during snack times. Immediately after returning, I rushed to the badminton court. Students at NIRDPR were friendly, I made friends on the court : Purari, Ram, Abnish, Mini: five of us used to play daily and enjoy together. They were welcoming of me and allowed me to participate in the games; the managing team at the sports complex was also very cordial in their mannerisms and ensured that I got equipment to play with. My special thanks to the gym trainer who very sincerely guided me in all my workouts. Even now, as I write all this I am filled with nostalgia and my eyes brighten up reminiscing the beautiful time I got to spend at NIRDPR. Early morning and evening at NIRDPR converted it to some sort of heavenly abode; in mornings I could understand why the campus was so clean: its team which cleans the road was diligent, regular and very particular about keeping the cleanliness. On second day, I spent longer time in the library reading the book titled, "Osho on Woman" - a wonderful read. What really amazed me was the collection at NIRDPR library, how exhaustive it was in so many fields and issues related to the society. The section on women really impressed me - there is no wonder that NIRDPR library is a cauldron of best books on social sciences research and issues related to society. The journals, magazines and most importantly the seating arrangement rendered such tranquility to the library that I could forever spend my lifetime there, being with the most companionable of friends : Books.
(This is the first in the series of posts that will talk about my experiences and ruminations at the conference which happened at NIRDPR)