JMI organizes Annual Ravinder Kumar Memorial Lecture Series


New Delhi: Eminent scholars participated in the Annual Ravinder Kumar Memorial Lecture Series instituted after the well-known historian late Ravinder Kumar and
organized by JMI’s MMAJ-Academy of International Studies.
Prof Aditya Mukherjee, who had taught Contemporary Indian History at
Jawaharlal Nehru University, spoke on ‘The Challenges to the Social Sciences
Today’. Prof. Mukherjee who has authored several books, is also Visiting
Professor at prestigious institutes of learning abroad. Professor S.D. Muni,
Professor Emeritus, JNU, chaired the lecture.
In his lecture, Prof Mukherjee stated that the main challenge to the Social
Sciences today was Euro centrism. He pointed out that even progressive and
great thinkers were not inoculated from Euro centrism. Most disciplines, as
we know them today, emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries, during the
period of Western hegemony over the world, he said.
He spoke of the challenge India had presented to the Eurocentric worldview.
Early nationalist thinkers had offered a comprehensive economic critique of
colonialism, he said adding this was followed after independence with the
Nehruvian agenda of fighting for economic independence after the
overthrow of political colonization along with the equally important battle of
the decolonization of the mind.
Social Sciences were needed to understand how the mind can be colonized.
Today Social Sciences were being neglected to favour science and
technology, he said.
Previous lectures were delivered by eminent people including Prof Frances W
Pritchett on ‘Interpreting Ghalib’, Prof Martha Nussbaum on ‘Beyond the
Textbook Controversy’, Prof Mahesh Rangarajan on ‘Of Nature and Nation:
Ecology’s Future in a Divided Planet’ and Ms Syeda Hameed on ‘Women in
Islam: Inverting Reality and Myth’ and Prof T K Oommen on ‘State, Civilization
and Nation: An Analysis in Their Interrelations’.