Delhi: An International Conference on “Cultures of Childhood in Contemporary South Asia” brought together leading minds and practitioners to delve into the critical challenges affecting children in the region. Held on December 14–15, 2023, this collaborative effort between the Department of Social Sciences at South Asian University and the Center for Media and Mass Communication Studies at Jamia Hamdard aimed to bridge the gap between theory and real-world solutions.
In a captivating presidential address, Prof. (Dr.) M. Afshar Alam highlighted the profound impact of socioeconomic inequality on South Asian children, stressing the pivotal role of education in overcoming these hurdles. Prof. Alam’s leadership set the tone for the conference, emphasizing the need to amplify the voices of young individuals facing multifaceted challenges.
Addressing the intricate dynamics of parenting, Prof. (Dr.) Reshma Nasreen, Director (In-Charge) of the Center for Media and Mass Communication Studies, offered a nuanced perspective. She emphasized the importance of balanced parenting styles while acknowledging the culture of responsibility instilled in South Asian children, cautioning against extreme approaches.
The visionary support of Prof. Farhat Basir Khan, a staunch advocate for children’s rights, was instrumental in shaping the conference’s agenda. Prof. Khan stressed the global importance of prioritizing children’s rights and urged both individuals and states to ensure their protection. His collaborative presentation with Prof. Reshma Nasreen shed light on “Children and Media Ecology in India with a Media Perspective,” furthering the understanding of this crucial field.
Guest speakers, including Puja Marwaha, CEO of CRY, and Sudarshan Suchi, CEO of Balraksha Bharat, Save the Children India, added depth to the discussions by exploring the challenges and opportunities in securing a brighter future for South Asian children.
Supported by key organizations like CRY, North India Regional ICSSR, Bal Raksha Bharat, and SIMEC, the conference drew over a hundred participants from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Their diverse insights and active engagement solidified the event as a beacon for progress in comprehending and addressing the myriad challenges faced by children in South Asia.
The valedictory session, led by Dr. Dev Nath Pathak and featuring Dr. Rajesh Tandon’s address, emphasized the urgency of combating discrimination against children. Dr. Ratan Kumar Roy expressed heartfelt gratitude, acknowledging the collective effort of panelists, speakers, delegates, volunteers, and faculty members from CMMS at Jamia Hamdard.
This conference marks a significant milestone, uniting academia and practical initiatives, fostering a holistic understanding of the obstacles faced by children in the diverse landscape of South Asia