Decolonizing India Studies and Sri Aurobindo: Part 2 | Dr. Kundan Singh

Before Sri Aurobindo turned into a yogi, he was a freedom fighter. He was one of those exceptional figures who did not join the much-sought-after Indian Civil Service (ICS) even after qualifying for it—by deliberately disqualifying himself in a horse riding test, which was just a formality for an ICS probationer. His yogic accomplishments did not remove him from his aspiration to bring about a fundamental renaissance in India, which included a resounding recovery of India’s spiritual and intellectual traditions which flourished before the Islamic and subsequent British colonization. Yogic knowledge, even when temporally applicable, has a sense of timelessness associated with it. Though Sri Aurobindo wrote extensively on the revival and renaissance in India in the early part of the twentieth century that has been compiled in one of his many seminal works, ‘The Foundations of Indian Culture,’ his enunciations on this topic are as applicable as they were in the past. Kundan Singh, PhD by taking just a few sentences from one of his chapters on “Renaissance in India”—which is a section in the ‘Foundations’—unfolds and unpacks them to make them applicable in current in times in order to bring about an intellectual renaissance in a talk which was delivered at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) on August 2, 2021.

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