ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Self-reliance of Indian Intellectuals

I read with keen interest the article by Claude Alvares (“A Critique of Eurocentric Social Science and the Question of Alternatives”, EPW, 28 May 2011) and his response to Anirudh Deshpande (“Steeped in Eurocentrism”, 15 October 2011) where he concludes, “if we are incapable of this act of decolonising, of formulating our own sociological assumptions, political theories and psychological insights, we should shut down our universities instead, because by keeping this mindless circus of borrowing and mimicry alive we only cause stupendous pain to the students who come to us in good faith”.

I read with keen interest the article by Claude Alvares (“A Critique of Eurocentric Social Science and the Question of Alternatives”, EPW, 28 May 2011) and his response to Anirudh Deshpande (“Steeped in Eurocentrism”, 15 October 2011) where he concludes, “if we are incapable of this act of decolonising, of formulating our own sociological assumptions, political theories and psychological insights, we should shut down our universities instead, because by keeping this mindless circus of borrowing and mimicry alive we only cause stupendous pain to the students who come to us in good faith”.

I suspect that social scientists are more likely to be gripped by these feelings than natural scientists. Their genuine contributions have been largely ignored by the world and they have not produced a Raman or a Bose. In engineering and technology, we are entirely dependent on the methods and practices developed mainly outside India. I believe that among all disciplines, we, the engineers, are the least concerned about our dependence on the West. A theory proposed outside India, if applied correctly, produces an equivalent result here.

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