Wednesday 26 August 2015

A department of Dravidian philosophy?

Antonysamy, who is recovering from a major surgical intervention, floated the idea of a department of Dravidian / Tamil philosophy at our college in Tirupattur. Some things I learnt:

  • Dravidian or Tamil philosophy is not limited to Tamil Nadu, but is relevant / pertains to large parts of India, given that the Dravidian peoples were / are still spread out all over India.
  • More work, according to Samy, is being done in Tamil philosophy by the Jesuits in Jharkhand than in Tamil Nadu itself
  • It is not yet possible to write openly in Tamil Nadu. At the same time, somewhat contradictorily, Samy insisted that "the people were all with us" and that Tamil Nadu is absolutely closed to Brahminic political infiltration. 
  • Our philosophy men would need to have Indian academic degrees
  • They would have to draw up an adequate syllabus for bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. 
  • The Thirukural and much of Tamil literature is truly Tamil; there is no Brahminic infiltration.
  • Samy mentioned Doss Kennedy, Stanislaus Swamikannu and Maria Arokiam Kanaga as people who would be open to this project.
My immediate reactions:
  • There is absolute and urgent need to revise our curriculum of Indian philosophy, which, following what we learnt years ago in JDV Pune, is still almost purely Brahminic.
  • Jose Maliekal is the only one, to my knowledge, who had attempted anything along these lines. I have been asking Henry Almeida, SJ, of JDV Pune, to give me an article along these lines, but that has not yet arrived. 
  • Whatever we do, we would have to ensure, for the needs of being Christian in India, an adequate appropriation of and inculturation of the Christian faith, and of the first great inculturation, which was Graeco-Roman for the large part, though not exclusively. This would be mastery of all sides - Western, Oriental-Dravidian; and I would not be absolutely closed to the Oriental-Brahminic tradition (which Samy calls "German", not Indian).
There exists a Dravidian University, with a Department of Comparative Dravidian Literature and Philosophy (CDL&P):
Dravidian University 
Srinivasa Vanam Kuppam-517 425,Chittoor Dist. ( A.P.)  
http://www.dravidianuniversity.ac.in 

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