Founders’ Message | The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU)

Founders’ Message

Dr. Sam Pitroda

Innovation in University education is long overdue. In the 21st Century, Universities can no longer afford to continue to work with content and forms of education, that are over a century old. TDU seeks to be innovative in several ways. We view teachers as friends and mentors. We expect students to look up content online and assimilate it to the extent possible, at home. The classroom is the place for questions, discussion and dialogue and not for one-way lectures. Education must also be imparted through experiential learning and exposure of students to ground realities in the domains they have chosen.

I am very keen that the TDU adopts a platform that uses information technology to scale education so that equity and access is significantly enhanced. We are also collaborating with the very best knowledge institutions in India and abroad to create opportunities for transdisciplinary learning so that students who have selected a particular subject focus also have an opportunity through electives to get introduced to contemporary issues in disciplines ranging from medicine, design, cinema, performing arts, engineering to enterprise and management.

I am a strong believer in Gandhi and even today I am inspired by his ethical spirit, self-discipline and the sense of deep social responsibility that guided him.

Welcome to India’s first transdisciplinary University that tries to widen perspectives through not only conventional, inter and multi-disciplinary opportunities rooted in the mainstream western cultural and intellectual traditions but also through exposure to cross cultural perspectives, particularly in the context of India’s rich intellectual and cultural legacy, which has been evolving for over 5000 years.

I invite young minds, to join TDU and learn to learn, argue, dream up ideas and ways to convert them into actions that can over the years change India.

Shri. Darshan Shankar

The Trans Disciplinary University (TDU) was founded to promote the generation of trans – disciplinary knowledge. Today the content of school and university education in India as in most countries is largely based on modern western cultural and intellectual traditions.

While Knowledge from any cultural and intellectual source is potentially enlightening within the limitations of its world view and methods of enquiry , it is certainly blinding to assume that any particular intellectual tradition, however illuminating, provides the only or the best way of knowing nature.

Every culture has generated knowledge of nature from its own world view and employed methods of knowing that use the human sensory and mental faculties in unique ways. A test of knowledge systems generated by various cultures is their ability to equip knowledge holders to observe, classify, analyse and relate harmoniously with multiple facets of the constantly changing universe in a manner that helps them to understand and deal with change and thus live in dynamic equilibrium with all animate and inanimate forms of existence.

The prevalence of a dominant mono cultural orientation particularly in a university/knowledge institution, is indeed a skewed orientation because it implies that only one way of knowing is complete. In India the skew is evident in the best of knowledge institutions, across various disciplines, due to the relatively recent political history of colonialism and its aftermath.

The inspiration for promoting trans- disciplinary education in TDU is to introduce students to the value of multi -cultural and cross cultural knowledge without undermining the value of knowledge derived from any particular cultural and intellectual tradition. The term trans- disciplinary implies knowledge of the same domain from different cultural perspectives and world views. Ayurveda – biology is an example of a new trans- disciplinary domain being pursued in TDU. It endeavors to combine understanding of biological processes in the context of human health, from very different perspectives of physiology and pharmacology. Trans-disciplinary subjects can be distinguished from inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary domains because in the latter the subjects combined belong to the same cultural and intellectual tradition. Bio-Physics and town planning are examples of inter and multi-disciplinary subjects. The Trans-disciplinary university does not exclude inter or multi-disciplinary pursuits, it has simply encouraged and added possibilities of pursuing cross cultural domains.

It must be recognized that Trans- disciplinary subjects (or for that matter inter and multi , disciplinary domains) are nascent and evolving because they are very recent endeavors in broadening the horizon of knowledge generation .The exercise while pursuing a more holistic understanding is complex because at the interface of disciplines, although they may deal with the same or interrelated domain, they approach it from different perspectives, world views, logic, and different methods of enquiry. Thus managing the differences and constructing meaningful outcomes, without distorting the integrity of participating disciplines is a challenge.

In TDU Yelahanka campus, Ayurveda-Biology is a core focus of trans-disciplinary study but trans-disciplinary study may encompass several domains like mathematics, architecture, music, design, fine arts, dance , and so on . The scope of Trans- disciplinary includes any domain where different cultures have generated mature knowledge.

The intent of TDU is to encourage students to celebrate learning that expands the boundaries of the current mono cultural knowledge that limits formal education in India. The purpose of providing a transdisciplinary platform is to introduce TDU students to the relevance, scope and excitement of cross cultural study.

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