Even after 70 years of independence of the Indian republic, the shadow of colonialism looms large. Governments through the years still tend to blame every ill affecting Indians squarely on the British which in turn has made them interiorize it. Without doubt till a decade or two after freedom when India was reorganising, the colonisers were culpable, but the need to move on and build on the great legacy that Indians have inherited is the need of the hour. This course identifies the impact of colonial policy masterminded by British, the direction it has moved along after independence and the measures Indians need to incorporate to rid themselves of this hangover.
Instructor: Koenraad Elst
Koenraad Elst (°Leuven 1959) distinguished himself early on as eager to learn and to dissent. After a few hippie years, he studied at the KU Leuven, obtaining MA degrees in Sinology, Indology and Philosophy. After a research stay at Benares Hindu University, he did original fieldwork for a doctorate on Hindu nationalism, which he obtained magna cum laude in 1998. As an independent researcher, he earned laurels and ostracism with his findings on hot items like Islam, multiculturalism and the secular state, the roots of Indo-European, the Ayodhya temple/mosque dispute and Mahatma Gandhi's legacy. He also published on the interface of religion and politics, correlative cosmologies, the dark side of Buddhism, the reinvention of Hinduism, technical points of Indian and Chinese philosophies, various language policy issues, Maoism, the renewed relevance of Confucius in conservatism, the increasing Asian stamp on integrating world civilization, direct democracy, the defence of threatened freedoms, and the Belgian question. Regarding religion, he combines human sympathy with substantive skepticism.