State of intellectuals in Contemporary India-Part 2
Ever since India attained independence, public discourse in scholarly matters has largely been dominated by the leftists because they were successful in obtaining the necessary financial, institutional as well as political support. On the other hand, the research and works of genuine scholars interested only in the pursuit of truth received limited exposure due to a lack of adequate resources.
A sad and alarming fallout of this was the propagation and dominance of a one-sided narrative–of the Marxist variety, which choked opposing or even alternate viewpoints. A slightly detailed examination of this is available in this article.
However, for quite some time now, certain notable publishing houses and think-tanks have produced top notch work of scholarship to counteract and check the Leftist alterations of India’s history, culture, and philosophy. This article gives a brief profile of three such notable entities. There are certainly a host of such institutions, organizations, think tanks, etc but these have been the most decisive both in terms of original scholarship and the influence they have had on public discourse over the years.
1. Voice of India:
Voice of India, a publishing house was founded in New Delhi in 1982 by the erudite scholar of history and philosophy, the late Sita Ram Goel. Together with his mentor Ram Swarup, he traversed a lone path in fighting Marxist distortions of Indian history, traditions, etc. Voice of India specializes in books about history, current affairs, socio-cultural and political issues and Indic thought.
Voice of India is notable for publishing works penned by eminent journalists, historians, and academicians such as Arun Shourie, Subhash Kak, Koenraad Elst, and N. S. Rajaram.
Although derided by the Left as a propaganda machine of the far-right, VOI has established itself as a repository of scholarship which seeks to provide Indians with the correct version of their past. A hallmark of all VOI publications is the fact that they are backed up by in-depth, well-rounded research of reliable primary sources.
2. Centre for Policy Studies
Instituted as a public charitable trust in 1990 at Chennai, CPS has since been recognized as a social science research institution by the Department of Science and Technology of the Indian Government. According to their website:
This institute carries out extensive research and study with the aim comprehending and cherishing the essential civilizational genius of India, and to help formulate a polity that would allow the Indian genius to flourish and assert itself in the present day world….. The Centre has brought out several publications, each of which has made a seminal contribution to the understanding of the current Indian situation, and has been recognized as a path-breaking effort. The Centre has also organized several seminars, workshops and meetings. Some of these meetings have been attended by the highest acharyas of India belonging to diverse sampradayas, and by the highest political leaders cutting across all political affiliations, who consented to gather together to deliberate on crucial national issues brought into sharp focus by the work of the Centre.
3. Vivekananda International Foundation:
This think thank located in New Delhi’s diplomatic enclave, Chanakyapuri is the brainchild of Ajit Doval, undeniably one of India’s best intelligence officials, who founded it in 2009. Besides Mr. Doval, many former officials of the IAS, Foreign Service and the Armed forces are associated with the Vivekananda International Foundation.
Prominent among them are former RAW chief C D Sahay, former urban development secretary Anil Baijal, former Indian ambassador to Russia Prabhat Shukla , former Vice Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal (retired) S G Inamdar, former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman Nripendra Misra and former agriculture secretary PK Misra.
Named after the iconic saint Swami Vivekananda, VIF members identify themselves as dedicated nationalists. Most of their studies and work aim to bring into reality Vivekananda’s vision for a strong and prosperous India. VIF chiefly does extensive research in eight different areas: national security and strategic studies, international relations and diplomacy, neighbourhood studies, governance and political studies, economic studies, historical and civilisational studies, technological and scientific studies, and media studies.
VIF also invites scholars and experts from all over the world for conferences and lectures and holds dialogues with policymakers on current affairs. The VIF website states that its objective is “to become a centre of excellence to kick start innovative ideas and thoughts that can lead to a stronger, secure and prosperous India playing its destined role in global affairs.” The Foundation has successfully established itself as a platform for nationalists who were for a very long time ignored in the intellectual world.
Recently, this think-tank has captured national headlines as three of its distinguished members Ajit Doval, Nripendra Misra and PK Mishra have been appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his National Security Advisor, Principal Secretary and Additional Principal Secretary respectively.
To be continued.