Saturday, 2 March 2013

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Thursday, 14 February 2013

After Appropriation

Here is a link to a collection of essays on Comparative Philosophy edited by Morny Joy:

My own chapter, The Philosopher as Stranger: the Idea of Comparative Philosophy, is to be found here:

"The crucial thing about the coining of the term 'comparative philosophy' is that it seeks to acknowledge the political reality that we do philosophy now in a global rather than merely regional context, and in multicultural not monocultural societies, and that a monocultural philosophy is itself as it were a pale reflection of the tendency towards assimilation rather than integration. Although politicians regularly distinguish between these two terms, they also regularly conflate them. When we hear it declared that Muslims in the UK, for example, must learn to integrate themselves into some host community, it is hard to see how this isn’t simply a demand for assimilation. Assimilation is a one-way process, whereas integration is a reciprocal process. Nor is integration achieved simply by the presence of different communities living side by side in mutual indifference. It only takes place when the whole is altered by the participation of the parts in dialogue with one another, generating a new intercultural reality. The image of this in a philosophy that recognised and benefited from the new political reality is an enlarged and integrated canon."

Saturday, 26 January 2013

I had been trying to find a poem I wrote after the funeral of a school teacher much loved by her pupils, and eventually tracked it down:

All we in our sad certainty
of sudden wrenching loss could see
were the coffin and the flowers
how could mourners know that you rose
too quick and vivid for repose
too impatient to rest in peace
soared in expansion and release
into old, transfigured powers
lost in the spell of mortal hours

But you, astonished by new loveliness
and wonder, still could not ignore distress
turned in compassion towards the weeping girl
grieving man, and boy, one long-fingered hand
laid softly against your heart, the other
reaching to touch them, anguish in your face
and then, encircled in their last embrace
hold the children orphaned of their mother
till between joy and sadness forced to leave
your friends, you move between them towards the light
your unseen smiles for comfort as they grieve
tearful pupils, who knew that they were known
in the quick intelligence of your glance
you pass, they feel the aura of the dance
then go unseen out of the scope of sight

Scent of roses, floating petals falling
meets the sound of choral voices soaring
thus we part, our fading farewells calling

Friday, 29 June 2012

Mrinal Miri

Two or three years ago I was invited by Jyotirmaya Sharma (  to contribute to a volume of essays that he co-edited celebrating the work of Professor Mrinal Miri:

This was around the time that Miri took over the Journal of the Indian Council for Philosophical Research and I was honoured to be invited by Miri to become a member of the Editorial Advisory Board ... Three years in to this editorship Miri discovered that his editorial contract was not to be renewed:

It would be invidious to say too much in the wake of Miri's dignified silence, but it is good to see a kind of poetic justice in his recent appointment to the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, the Rajya Sabha: