The challenge of postcolonial philosophy in India

Too alien for contemporary philosophers, too modern for Sanskritists?

A conference on the topic announced in the title will take place in Vienna, 28–29.9.2017. The purpose of the conference is to break the boundaries between “classical” and “contemporary” Indian philosophy and between “Indian” and “philosophy”, so as to make it possible for Indian philosophy and philosophers to become part of the ongoing discussion on topics such as ethics, logics and epistemology. You can announce your participation to elisa dot freschi at oeaw dot ac dot at

The full program is available here.

Comments and discussions are welcome. Be sure you are making a point and contributing to the discussion.

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3 thoughts on “The challenge of postcolonial philosophy in India

  1. Its a timely effort to think what happened to ‘Indian’ philosophy in last 70 odd years. Its scope, nature of engagement and relevance in 21st Century. I have also worked on the history of modern philosophy in colonial India. Generally we do not heard about (except KC Bhattacharyya to some extant) academic philosophers even within philosophy departments of Indian universities much. Only recently scholars, philosophers are beginning to pay attention to them. There is not much dialogue happening among scholars and philosophers working in philosophy departments with other disciplines of social sciences and humanities. in BA, MA courses we are mostly taught about logical positivism, early modern philosophers (rationalists and empiricist upto Kant, with excerpts from Plato and Aristotle from ancient philosophy) along with Frege Russell but not in detail (in general papers). A very sketchy exposition of some of the schools of Classical Indian philosophies. On the other hand some scholars mainly from literature. linguistics, Art & Aesthetics departments do ‘continental’ philosophy and political philosophy. Colonial and postcolonial ‘Indian’ philosophers generally do not feature in their works and discussions. Apart from figures likes of Gandhi,Tagore, Ambedkar. Academic ‘Indian’ philosophers are not engaged with. In this context this conference acquires importance,to enquire and cultivate this neglected part of history of philosophy. Thank you for organizing this conference.

    • many thanks for your support! Your point is akin to the thesis raised by one of the participants, namely Prof. A. Raghuramaraju (we focus on the “ancestors”, i.e., classical Indian philosophy, and forget our “predecessors”, i.e. modern and contemporary Indian philosophers). I hope we will discuss it in the final round table.

      p.s. Please let me and the readers know whether you also published on this topic.

      • I have done my PhD on this area, namely, “Debates in Anglophone Philosophy in Modern India: From Late Nineteenth Century till Independence”,from Centre for Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, under Dr. Manidipa Sen. I have focussed on certain fields such as, theory of self/subject (KC Bhattacharyya’s monograph “Subject as Freedom”,AC Mukherji’s book “Nature of Self”), metaphysics (materialism and idealism: Sri aurobindo and MN Roy), Definition of philosophy- here I have tried to demarcate certain trends. And the notion of ‘modernity’ (in case of Modern Indian Philosophy written in english). Have contributed one chapter, “Notion of Absolute: Hegel and Hiralal Haldar” in the anthology, Philosophy in Colonial India.Edited by Prof. Sharad Deshpande. Springer, IIAS, 2015. Here I have mainly focussed on Haldar’s take on the notion of Absolute. Thank you again