The Argumentative Indian Conference

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31 October 2012 5:45 pm

Media Advisory


The Argumentative Indian: Critical Debates in the World’s Largest Democracy & Perspectives from Australia

WHEN:       Wed 31 October – Friday 2 November, 2012

WHERE:    University of Melbourne. Sidney Myer Asia Centre,

Carrillo Gantner Theatre, cnr Swanston St/Monash Road.

A major international conference on India will take place next week at the University of Melbourne in the days following the release of the Henry report on Australia in the Asian Century.

The conference, organised by the Australia India Institute, brings to Australia an unprecedented array of distinguished figures from Indian public life. It will provide a snapshot of India today, its challenges, opportunities and debates, and Australia’s developing relations with New Delhi following the Prime Minister’s recent visit.

Highlights of the conference will include a welcome to attendees delivered by Nobel Prize winning economist Professor Amartya Sen, whose book The Argumentative Indian inspired the conference title. Professor Sen will speak to delegates in a pre-recorded address from Harvard University in the United States. Theattached program details panel sessions and other major events including:                                                                                                                                


·       The Australia India Institute Annual Oration delivered by Professor Glyn Davis, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Melbourne on the theme Reasoning Beyond the Past.

·       The keynote opening address, India in a Changing Asia to be delivered by renowned Indian strategic thinker and Governor of West Bengal, His Excellency M.K. Narayanan.

·       Keynote lecture - The Burden of Democracy – India After 65 Years delivered by leading Indian public intellectual Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Theconference is a rare opportunity to connect with some of India’s most influential people in media, politics, business, diplomacy, education and social life including:

·       The grandson of modern India’s founding father Mahatma Gandhi, Gopalkrishna Gandhi who will deliver the conference Valedictory Address India’s Political Imagination: Myth, Dreams and Reality.

·       The inspirational social activist and former policewoman Kiran Bedi, now a leader of India’s popular uprising against corruption known as the Anna Hazare movement, who will deliver a special address,India’s Political System – the Way Forward

·       The Secretary-General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Rajiv Kumar, and leading Indian economists.      

Well-known Australian figures attending the conference include: former Foreign minister Gareth Evans MP, Shadow Finance minister Andrew Robb, author and former MP Maxine McKew, analyst Michael Wesley, writer Robyn Davidson and many more.

A wide range of experts are available for interview. The University of Melbourne has facilities for networks to undertake live and pre-recorded interviews for broadcast.


Christopher Kremmer, Director of Communications, Australia India Institute on

03.90359624/ 0481-032-731 or


Alexandra Hansen, Communications Officer, 03.90358681/0438545294