#TBAN (The Belligerents And Neutrals, November 02, 2019):

Are wars entertaining? Who is responsible for your security? What is the role of military force in life? Is history violent? Do all cultures have a historical consciousness? Are all orders political orders? Are in-group solidarity and out-group hostility built into human civilizations? However, are we neither violent nor non-violent? Are human nature and international order related? Is the propensity to use violence higher in ‘central’ geographies? Are there structured steps between peace and war? Why are slivers of violence embedded in peace? Is a subject in an empire different from a citizen in a democracy? Is the nation state the apex of the international order? Whose interests do supranational institutions serve? Do economic gains transform into military assets? Is it possible to operate without the shadow of violence? Is coercion an escalatory step of deterrence? Have we lost the balance between passions and rationality? Are both Gandhi and Fanon needed as we build newer structures? How will we compete and collaborate for resources in the future? Can war be abolished? Or, will we continue to ‘create’ war? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from journalism & philosophy (Rajni Bakshi, Mumbai), international relations (Prof. Shibashis Chatterjee, Jadavpur University, Kolkata), & military history ((Retd.) Air Vice Marshal (Dr.) Arjun Subramaniam, ex-Indian Air Force, Delhi).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TBAN show.

Rajni Bakshi (journalism, philosophy) is, a freelance journalist and author, based in Mumbai. Her research interests are: peace, economic democracy, electoral politics, social protests, and sustainable development. Rajni has a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Indraprashta College (Delhi), & George Washington University (USA) and an M.A. (Philosophy) from the University of Rajasthan. She is the author of ‘Bazaars, Conversations and Freedom’ (Penguin, 2009), which won two Vodafone-Crossword Awards. This book brings together stories about an emerging more socially responsible culture of commerce, and gives ideas about how the market can serve society rather than being its master. Her other published monographs include: ‘An Economics for Well-Being’ (CED, Mumbai, 2007), ‘Lets Make it Happen: a backgrounder on New Economics’ (CED, Mumbai, 2003), ‘Bapu Kuti: Journeys in Rediscovery of Gandhi’ (Penguin, 1998), ‘A Warning and an Opportunity: the Dispute over Swami Vivekananda’s Legacy’ (Other India Press, Goa, 1994), and ‘Long Haul: the Bombay Textile Workers Strike 1982-83’ (BUILD Documentation Centre, Mumbai, 1986). She was the Gandhi Peace Fellow at Gateway House, Mumbai (2013-2016). Rajni serves on the Boards of Child Rights and You (CRY), Centre of Education and Documentation (CED), and Citizens for Peace (CfP). Also, she is a member of the Executive Committee of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, under the Ministry of Culture. She is also a recipient of the Homi Bhabha Fellowship (2000).

Prof. Shibashis Chatterjee (international relations) is Professor at the Department of International Relations, and Director, School of International Relations and Strategic Studies at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. His areas of interest are international relations theory, political theory, Indian foreign policy, and South Asian politics. He teaches courses on political theory, IR theory, theories of security and peace, and the philosophy of social sciences. Prof. Chatterjee completed his B.A. (1991), M.A. (1993), & Ph.D. (2006) in International Relations Theory from Jadavpur University. He is the author of ‘India’s Spatial Imaginations of South Asia’ (Global OUP, 2018) and ‘Nuclear Non-Proliferation and the Problem of Threshold States’ (Minerva, 1999). A co-editor of five publications, he has published extensively in journals like India Review, Japanese Journal of Political Science, International Studies, South Asian Survey, and Economic and Political Weekly and contributed numerous research papers to edited volumes. He was also the editor of the Jadavpur Journal of International Relations (SAGE) from 2016 to 2019. He recently contributed to an ICSSR funded collective project on ‘Reworking the Knowledge structures of International Relations: Some Indian Contributions’, where he worked on a paper on Subalternity, Nation and the International: Ethnographic Evidence from West Bengal. Prof. Chatterjee has received multiple fellowships, including, Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship at the University of Yale (2016-2017), & Hull Conference Fellowship in September 2011.

(Retd.) Air Vice Marshal (Dr.) Arjun Subramaniam (military history) is a fighter pilot-scholar who retired from the Indian Air Force in 2017 after 36 years in uniform. An experienced fighter pilot and pilot instructor who has flown MiG-21s and Mirage-2000s, he competed his Ph.D. in Defence and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras, India. He is a writer, strategic commentator, and military historian, and has authored three books including ‘India’s Wars: A Military History 1947-1971’ that has been published in India by Harper Collins and in the US by the US Naval Institute Press. He is currently writing the sequel to ‘India’s Wars’ that shall be published next year by Harper Collins. His other books are titled  ‘Reflections of an Air Warrior’ and ‘Wider Horizons: Perspectives on National Security, Air Power & Leadership’. Prior to his current academic assignment as Visiting Professor of International Relations at Ashoka University (Delhi NCR) and Jindal University (Delhi NCR), AVM Dr. Subramaniam was a Visiting Professor at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (Medford, Massachusetts, USA) and a Visiting Fellow at Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts, USA). He has also been a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Asia Center (Cambridge, MA, USA) in Fall 2017 and a Visiting Fellow at the Changing Character of War Programme at Oxford University (UK) in Spring 2018. He has lectured extensively over the last two years on contemporary Indian military history and strategic culture, air power and the complex India-China relationship at several war colleges, think tanks and universities in India and the rest of the world.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TBAN mentions: Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Carl von Clausewitz, Peter Kropotkin, Sigmund Freud, Mahatma Gandhi, Frantz Fanon, Vinoba Bhave, Michel Foucault, Bronisław Malinowski, Samuel P. Huntington, James C. Scott, Ashis Nandy, John Elkington, Francis Fukuyama, & Thomas Friedman, among others.