Who's Who of Teachers and Scholars in Philosophy in India
|Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR)
|8.1" X 5.5"
The philosophical community in India has not yet become a community in any significant sense of the term. Perhaps this is true of other fields as well. Or perhaps the country is too vast and too diverse for the emergence of any such thing. But whatever the causes, there can be little doubt that those who are aware of the lack cannot but attempt to build one. And, what better beginning can be made in this direction than to have a Who's Who of information about who is doing what and where.
The Indian philosophical community, in fact, is divided into at least three major constellations and/or groups. The first and the most visible, consists of those who are professionally located in universities and colleges, and write mostly in English. The second group consists of Sanskrit Pandits, educated in the traditional manner and located mainly in institutions of Sanskrit learning and sometimes even outside them. The third group, far smaller and still less known, is the one of Islamic scholars in the field of philosophy who are knowledgeable in the classical West Asian philosophy in the Arab world and its development in India. There are other groups: those, of example, who write in a regional language or whose main training and interest and scholarship lies in the field of Christian theology and its history over a long period of time. Yashdev Shalya, who has done remarkable creative philosophical thinking for the last four decades in Hindi, is an example of the former group, while Church Fathers in such well-known institutions as De Nobili College in Poona, Dharamram College in Bangalore and Vidya Jyoti in Delhi, are examples of the latter.
Each of these is a world unto itself and is almost Worlds apart from others, with hardly any knowledge of, or incarnation with the others. Even within their own world there is hardly any all India awareness. There is also, what may be called, differentiated growth or islands of growth in certain centres, regions and institutions. They tend to look inward, and their attempt to establish some interaction with the outside academic community in their own subject is generally with centres or institutions abroad. Their own country is just a hinterland for them, a scheduled-caste land of underdeveloped academia from whom they would like to escape as much, and as soon, as they can.
The story is repeated with the past intellectual traditions of this country, or even of those which are not so past where is an attempt to build upon work that was done by the earlier generation, or even an awareness of what they did or what they did not do. Innumerable Festschrifts that are being published every year in honour of all sorts of persons, deserving and undeserving, are an unmistakable evidence of this. They seldom show any awareness of the academic contribution of the person in whose honour the Festschrift is being produced, or any critical appreciation of his work.
The Indian Council of Philosophical Research, since its very inception, has been at leas marginally aware of these problems. It has tried to create an infrastructure of informational awareness, on the one hand, and a provision of interactional opportunities for philosophers to meet and discuss contemporary philosophical traditions, on the other. It is hoped that these two together would, over a period of time, help in the emergence of a vibrant active philosophical community cutting across different segregated groups in the country.
The present endeavour is a part of this wider enterprise and should be seen as such. Already the Council has published a Survey of Philosophy in India including such aspects as traditions, teaching and research relating to it along with authors and Subject Indexes of such philosophical journals as the Philosophical Quarterly, the Indian Philosophical Annual and the Journal of the Indian Academy of philosophy. Besides these, the Council has published A Union catalogue of Philosophical Periodicals and a Select Bibliography of Journal Articles on Philosophy, Religion and Indian Culture as a part of its ongoing attempt to provide relevant background reference material for research in the field of philosophy in this country.
The Who's Who of Teachers of Philosophy in India has obvious Drawbacks which have been difficult to avoid in spite of all our efforts. First, it is not as exhaustive as it could have been. Many well-known names may not be found in it. Second, some of the names who are there may not be amidst us any more. Third, the designations and addresses of many persons might have changed as they were received long back.
There are substantial reasons for all this. In fact, it has been the very attempt to avoid this that has resulted in the inordinate delay in the publication of the Who's Who. The realization that any further delay would only worsen maters further and that a beginning has to be made some time, somewhere, had led us to decide on the Publication of the material that has been with us for a long time now. The patience of many must have been exhausted and many might have begun to wonder if it would ever come out at all.
With all its deficiencies and incompleteness it is here, and let us hope it will help in the building of that Philosophical Community which is the dream of us all.
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