The Indians: Portrait of a People MOBI Æ Portrait of

The Indians: Portrait of a People Looking at what constitutes a common Indian identity, the authors examine in detail the predominace of family, community and caste in their everyday lives You cannot separate psychoanalysis from anthropology and this is what The Indians, by preeminent psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar and his anthropologist wife, Katharina Kakar shows us It s a brilliant, bold and incisive study into the Indian character An Indian myself, there was no new information in this book However, the consolidation of what makes an Indian, an Indian, into a single book, along with examples, cultural and social views was an eye opener If you are a therapist of non Indian origi You cannot separate psychoanalysis from anthropology and this is what The Indians, by preeminent psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar and his anthropologist wife, Katharina Kakar shows us It s a brilliant, bold and incisive study into the Indian character An Indian myself, there was no new information in this book However, the consolidation of what makes an Indian, an Indian, into a single book, along with examples, cultural and social views was an eye opener If you are a therapist of non Indian origin and work with Indian clients, this book is a must read Rating 4.5 5 A revealing psychoanalysis of the archetypical Indian or Hindu personality, in as much as it is possible to generalize a diverse country of over a billion inhabitants The author draws from a variety of sources, including ancient texts and modern anthropological studies, to formulate the broad contours of the Hindu character He writes about various aspects of the Hindu character relationships with superiors and subordinates, the inner experience of caste, the role of women in society, confli A revealing psychoanalysis of the archetypical Indian or Hindu personality, in as much as it is possible to generalize a diverse country of over a billion inhabitants The author draws from a variety of sources, including ancient texts and modern anthropological studies, to formulate the broad contours of the Hindu character He writes about various aspects of the Hindu character relationships with superiors and subordinates, the inner experience of caste, the role of women in society, conflicted historical notions about sexuality, conceptualization of the other i.e Muslims and vice versa, the peculiar religious and spiritual worldview, and the Hindu view of the body that encompasses allopathy, homeopathy and Ayurveda It s an interesting, if at times abstruse, book that offers recognizable insights into the way we think though Pavan Varma s Being Indian is muchreadable I have always enjoyed reading Sudhir Kakar s insight into the Indian psyche and personality from a Freudian perspective It has often given me a better understanding of myself, my fellow countrymen and Indian history This book is onestep in that process In this book, Sudhir and Katharina Kakar investigate the nature of the Indian identity what is Indian ness if there is one At the outset, the question arises as to whether one can even broach the subject of Indian ness Aren t we a I have always enjoyed reading Sudhir Kakar s insight into the Indian psyche and personality from a Freudian perspective It has often given me a better understanding of myself, my fellow countrymen and Indian history This book is onestep in that process In this book, Sudhir and Katharina Kakar investigate the nature of the Indian identity what is Indian ness if there is one At the outset, the question arises as to whether one can even broach the subject of Indian ness Aren t we a nation of a billion plus people who are Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Zorastrians and so on, speaking fifteen different languages Daunting as the task may be, the authors say that from ancient times, European, Chinese and Arab travellers have identified common features among Indians, showing an underlying unity in the great diversity It is the components of this unity that the authors seek to explore in this book.According to the authors, the components of this unity exist in many dimensions of our everyday life They are exhibited in our attitudes to our families, in our notions of hierarchy as experienced through the caste system, in our attitudes to gender related issues, marriage etc, in our views on sex, in our concept of health, healing and Death, in our prejudices towards the Other eg, Hindus and Muslims and in our approach to material and spiritual life In each one of these aspects, the authors throw valuable observations and insights based on our mythology, history and contemporary practice I found the following observations of great interest and gave me cause to ponder further 1.The focus on the family as the exclusive source of satisfaction of all one s needs reflects a lack of faith in almost every other institution of society The result of this is often extreme divisiveness, a lack of commitment to anyone or anything outside one s immediate family2 Early experiences in an extended joint family gives the child an early knowledge of when to retreat, when to cajole and when to be stubborn in order to get what he wants This makes an Indian a formidable negotiator in later business dealings.3.Authority relations in the Indian family provide a template for the functioning of most modern Indian business, educational, political and scientific organizations.On the Indian attitude to sexuality, the authors say that today s India is a sexual wasteland, far from the liberal images created by our ancient texts like Kamasutra and Ananda Ranga It is fashionable for middle class Indians to argue that the turn towards the Puritanism of today is the result of extended rule by Central Asian Muslims and the British with Victorian values The authors do not buy this theory They say that India has had a long tradition of asceticism and celibacy alongside sexual experimentation and that we must seek the causes of India as a sexual wasteland that it is today in our own ascetic traditions and their ascendancy.On the seemingly perennial Hindu Muslim conflict in India, the authors say that the conflict is actually not about religion that is, it is not about matters of religious belief, dogmas, worship or adherence to different faiths and gods Ordinary Indians experience the conflict differently at different times In times of heightened conflict, for the Hindu, it isabout the long domination of the Muslim rulers in India and the purported humiliation under them In times of relative peace, it is back to a secular vision which emphasizes common heritage and shared experiences of the past The final chapter Indian Mind has interesting observations based on the Hindu world view of Moksha, Dharma and Karma The analysis includes answers to perplexing questions like, How can a reputed astronomer working at a well known institute of fundamental sciences, also be a practicing astrologer OrHow can the Western educated executive of a multi national corporation consult horoscopes and holy men for family decisions I found the book very readable and providing considerable thought to the notion of the Indian identity I would recommend it for fellow Indians to get a better knowledge of ourselves Non Indians too will benefit considerably if they are perplexed by the odd behavior of their Indian friends, lovers, colleagues and bosses The author goes to talk about, How Indian ness is formed I was curious to learnabout my own culture The book talks about Hindoo majority s psyche but doesn t include other religions This book would help someone from the outside to dive into common experiences of Hindu culture The chapter on women, thoughts, and concerns from their perspective was valid On the group thinking, every group clan caste might have prejudices, demarcation on the other group My experience is limited, but it The author goes to talk about, How Indian ness is formed I was curious to learnabout my own culture The book talks about Hindoo majority s psyche but doesn t include other religions This book would help someone from the outside to dive into common experiences of Hindu culture The chapter on women, thoughts, and concerns from their perspective was valid On the group thinking, every group clan caste might have prejudices, demarcation on the other group My experience is limited, but it seems to be the case with rest of India Therefore, people do not mix and stay within their limited clan caste A Family is the trusted social institution, and therefore people get their identities from it A Well educated Hindoo might still believe in Astrology, Yoga and the author s answer is because of the cultural world view I would recommend this book for anyone to get a glimpse of Hindoo s Deus Vult,Gottfried

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