Bangalore International Centre had arranged a talk on “The notion of Dharma in the context of duty, conduct and policy” by Dr. BibekDebroy on Saturday, 15thFebruary, 2014 at 6.30 PM in collaboration with Takshashila Institution. Dr. VenkatramanAnanthaVigneswaran, Co-Founder of Takshashila Institution chaired and moderated the discussion.
The talk was about the notion of dharma, outside the ambit of religion, in the Mahabharata. Dr.Debroy discussed about various translations and versions of Mahabharata available and focussed on the different notions of dharma - duty, policy, good conduct and dharma in the sense of religion.Quoting extensively from the stories related in the Mahabharata, D. Debroy asserted that the epic did not lay down in black and white any absolute norms on Dharma, or Duty or Policy. In fact the Mahabharata had several instances to illustrate that there were several shades of grey in all these concepts, contrary to popular beliefs. During the lively interactive session, several questions were raised as to whether this meant that even apparently unethical actions can be justified if circumstances so required. Dr. Debroy countered this by pointing out that norms had great degree of subjectivity in their applications.
It was an absorbing and fascinating evening of high level intellectual discussion.