A. Raghuramaraju: Philosophy and India

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On Saturday, 19th October 2013, the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities organized a book launch for Philosophy and India, the latest work of A. Raghuramaraju. Ph.D candidates, alumni and teachers from the department shared their own views and critiques on the book.

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The book highlights the co-existence of the pre-modern and modern in India. It is a strength: in western philosophy, the pre-modern has been forgotten. The task of modern philosophy is to explore this pre-modernity: to discover the soul of India.

– Rajgopal Saikumar

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The west was a co-victim in the modernity project of the Enlightenment: it affected the west before reaching the non-west. Western traditions, too, were marginalized through the entry into modernity.

– Asim Siddiqui

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Western philosophy addresses its problems faster than we philosophers do in India. I agree with Raghuramaraju: we must bring back certain books from their sabbatical.

– Meera Baindur

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There is no readily available ‘political philosophy’ in India: we have to make philosophers out of individuals who do not portray themselves as philosophers. What does it mean to philosophize Gandhi, Aurobindo, etc.? Deleuze, Foucault and others have managed to break the walls between disciplines in western scholarship. We need this pioneering work in India too. This book goes against the usual lack of ambition of philosophy in India. It is a commendable attempt to make philosophy talk to non-philosophers.

– Nikhil Govind

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With Philosophy and India, Raghuramaraju attempts to reverse the usual practice: he asks whether Indian philosophical traditions could respond to problems of western philosophy. He is asking the question of the possibility of genuine and relevant ‘dialogues’ between traditions. But is this question really there? Are problems and solutions categorizable as ‘Indian’ or ‘western’?

– Sundar Sarukkai

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How can we access Indian philosophy on its own terms today? Generally, an Indian concept is developed, and validated by comparison with corresponding concepts of western philosophy. Why do we not have a closed group of Indian philosophers discussing such concepts without relying upon a comparison with western philosophy?

– Varun Bhatta

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I see myself as an assembler, a coupler. I borrow this perspective from Whitehead and Deleuze.

The book as bluff: my book does not have easy problems, easy solutions. But at least propositions can be looked at carefully.

There is a sense of ‘untouchability’ in Indian traditions of philosophy: we are more obsessed about outsiders than predecessors. India may have the most of writings in the world, but it is an accumulated scholarship. There is no response to the immediate predecessors.

– A. Raghuramaraju

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