January 31, 2013

What Nandy considers as being lost, Mehta considers adventuring to the Other

The study of contemporary Indian philosophers like K Satchidananda Murthy, Daya Krishna and K C Bhattacharyya needs to be incorporated in the curriculum of universities in the country, scholars said here on Wednesday. 
While classical western philosophers like Kant, Hegel and Wittgenstein and Indian thinkers like Sri Aurobindo, Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Nehru and Radhakrishnan need to be studied, importance also has to be given to contemporary philosophers, they said. The scholars were speaking at a seminar on the 'Philosophy of Professor K Satchidananda Murthy' organised by a Delhi-based NGO Centre for Studies in Civilizations (CSC) and the Madras University's department of philosophy. 
Member secretary of CSC Bhuvan Chandel said Delhi and Punjab universities had "old syllabi anchored more to western thinkers". However, she said wisdom is now dawning with the Jawaharlal Nehru University recently revising its syllabus to take on board contemporary Indian philosophers. Till four years ago, JNU did not have a philosophy section. She lamented that contemporary Indian philosophers were not given their due and there was no sincere effort to study them. 
R C Pradhan, professor of philosophy from the central university of Hyderabad, noted that only since the 1990s have some universities included K C Bhattacharyya in the curriculum, while Daya Krishna and Murthy are yet to be incorporated in the programme of studies.  Prof Satchidananda Murthy, who passed away last year, is regarded as one among the outstanding philosophers of the younger generation.

Nandy concludes Aurobindo’s story rather somberly, as in his reading after so much pain,  Aurobindo’s bid for self-recovery still remains an unconsummated gain; in place of authenticity he  seems to have attained a compromise between the East and the indispensable West… For Aurobindo, discovering the East-in-the West became a transcendent goal and a practical possibility… Nandy does not end his story of Aurobindo’s encounter with modernity and its intervention in his life here. He still has a far more depressing ending, which he simply adds to the story as a closing note… Most certainly, there is another way of reading Aurobindo’s life. It could be quite enlightening to bring in another reading here offered by another significant hermeneutical thinker of India, Prof. J.L Mehta, who takes Aurobindo’s own statements about his life as an authentic rendering of its truth. He treats them as more meaningful beginning of his life’s story…
On this reading, what Nandy considers as being lost, that is, Aurobindo having lost to the West, Mehta considers it as a mere adventuring of the self to the Other, experiencing it in all its otherness as its own part. For indeed, Mehta works with a hermeneutical insight as far as human understanding is concerned. He writes, ‘so long as we live encapsulated within one tradition, our own, and in the language that embodies it, we can think and move and have our being only within the horizon of reality opened by it. We are free within it, for it is of essence of tradition…. But we are also limited by it, prevented from seeing what other tracks of vision may have brought to life. We are hence unfree” and that, even ones own must be learned after voyaging far into what is the other”.
Depicting the complexity of a hermeneutical life as that of Sri Aurobindo, in which he arrives at an understanding of himself and that of the West as part of each other, Mehta locates this understanding emanating from the Vedantic as much as from a Heideggerian sources. He brings in Heidegger to illustrate the interesting relationship the self has with its other, a position which Aurobindo spawned by living out the kind of existence he did. Aurobindo’s life came with a certain kind of depth where any stark differences between the self and the other simply got dissolved.
[Prof Savita Singh is Professor and Director of the School of Gender and Development Studies, IGNOU. She wrote her Ph.D. thesis on 'Discourse of Modernity in India: A Hermeneutical Study', and earned her degree from Delhi University. Fathoming the Depths of Reality: Savita Singh in Conversation with - Roy BhaskarSavita Singh - 2003 - This book presents the main features of Roy Bhaskar's philosophy in a readily comprehensive form. The result is probably the simplest and clearest statement of the themes and development of his philosophy ever published.] 6:48 pm

No comments:

Post a Comment