Renewing the Humanities & Social Studies, Rewriting History from an Indian View Perspective
Humanities is the backbone of a democracy because it trains the mind and the heart to choose the True, The Good and the Beautiful. But the condition of liberal arts studies in the country remains abysmal. Right from the curriculum to the way it is transacted, there remains a lot of room for improvement.
Psychology is an interdisciplinary field of exploration that has a lot of potential for fresh perspectives. It can be a tool for bridging the psyche with the body, the individual with the collective, art with science. It can integrate the different parts of our being: the external and the internal, the social and the personal, dream and reality. It can be used as a spiritual path, as was conceived by the ancients and is now called yoga psychology. It can be used as modern medicine to heal the mind and body, it can purify the emotions, align intentions, enhance compassion.
Similarly studies in Indian Philosophy continue to stay in the realm of Darshanas without advancing to deeper studies of Upanishads and Vedas - the fountainhead of all the main philosophical ideas of the World from Plato to Pythagoras, Buddhism to Sufi Saints upto the recent German philosophers like Kant, Hegel and Schopenhauer. Also what is missing from Indian academia is the wide integrative philosophical vision of Sri Aurobindo.
What takes the cake is studies of Historical narratives. The history of colonial India has mostly been authored by British historians. Even perspectives written by Indians, invariably turn out to be academics from the West. Calling the 1857 incident a ‘mutiny’ instead of the First War of Indian Independence, is where the difference shows up. Or portraying that the erosion and decline of Indian industry and technology was due to issues with technological practices or economic efficiency, and not politically and fiscally induced by British Policy, is another example of distortion creeping in.
History, Indian and World, Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy all need to be revisited from an Indian perspective.
Recovering ancient manuscripts lying forgotten in villages across India and restoring, translating and studying them is also critical.
According to Sri Aurobindo, "To reverse the process and recover what we have lost, is undoubtedly the first object to which we ought to devote ourselves."
What would it take to understand ourselves and others not through foreign lenses, but with our own carefully cultivated reasoning? How seamlessly can ancient knowledge of disciplines like metallurgy, forestry, linguistics, engineering, mathematics, physics and agriculture influence a contemporary, indigenously crafted history of our country? Would establishing our own paradigms, rewriting our own narratives and assigning new meanings to words that define us, based on our rich spiritual heritage radically impact our view of the world?
Join us on this journey of collaboration with leading historians, sociologists, etymologists and others of a similar ilk, to grapple with this humongous and paradigm-changing task.