Ashis Nandy is an eminent Intellectual and Indian political psychologist, social theorist, and critic. A trained clinical psychologist, Nandy has provided theoretical critiques of European colonialism, development, modernity, secularism, Hindutva, science, technology, nuclearism, cosmopolitanism, and utopia. He has also offered alternative conceptions relating to cosmopolitanism and critical traditionalism. In addition to the above, Nandy has offered an original historical profile of India’s commercial cinema as well as critiques of state and violence.
Nandy had received the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2007.In 2008 he appeared on the list of the Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll of the Foreign Policy magazine, published by The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In an Exclusive interview with The News Kashmir Professor Ashish Nandy talks to Rameez Makhdoomi.
Where you always inclined to be polymath?
I did not knew that I would be one day termed as polymath. I do not believe in categorization .I have never defined myself .I was ex student of science and then I left it after some years, than studied clinical psychology as my post doctoral research focused on it and was also trained as sociologist .
Any specific motivation towards it?
I have always believed in maintaining margins and not been absolutely attached with one field .
Strictly speaking, I do not belong to single field and have enjoyed this marginal status. I have thus got freedom from traditional standard vocabulary.
How do you view the Jammu and Kashmir on academic traditions?
Jammu and Kashmir has a distinct intellectual tradition. The suffering has harnessed the intellectual tradition of Kashmir which cannot come in normal novels and circumstances.
What are your focus areas ?
I have few concerns and in a precise manner two focal areas of interest -one is the human creativity and other is human destructiveness because that too has been part of human nature.
How much relevant are Gandhian thoughts in present era?
Gandhian values are very much relevant in present era as globe is witnessing a bad cycle of violence and anger. A lot of this violence does not have target as violence precedes the target.
Would be fair to state that research related paradigms are still unimpressive in India?
Oh yes definitely. The research related paradigms are yet to relate with the actual problems faced by our societies. The main thrust is just to get good status via research which is cause of serious concern.
Any specific interest to have book on Jammu and Kashmir?
I do not have much knowledge to pen down a book on the issues of Jammu and Kashmir. Although, I comment on the issues faced by JandK.
What is your message to youth especially those pursuing research?
Suspect everything as exercise of informed suspicion is the path towards intellectual salvation. Only divine beings can be perfect, human beings have laid foundation of nothing perfect be it nation States, democracy or systems .Do not Trust even your work because as human beings we carry the burden of humanity.