‘Illuminations’ is the name of a book by Professor A.K. Saran, a critic of modernity and one of the great scholars of modern India. The byline of the book ‘A School for the Regeneration of Man’s Experience, Imagination and Intellectual Integrity’ gives us an idea about the book. The book is based on the insight that we have to break out of the trap of modernity if we are to live a full life. The technique the book advocates is to read, contemplate and discuss short paragraphs taken from the works of some insightful modern philosophers. The contemplation and discussion about the paragraphs that catch our attention can potentially help us see through the veil of modernity.
In the workshop on ‘Illuminations’ participants will read through the abridged text of the book and discuss the short paragraphs (that we shall provide) among themselves and with the facilitators. We invite you to a 4-day retreat to engage in this contemplative conversation.
The following excerpt from the book will shine a light on the context of the workshop:
“The idea of this School originates from the conviction that modern higher education in India has totally failed in all important ways and the universities and all other wings of the educational establishment are working towards the perpetuation and reinforcement of a deadening of the mind and imagination of those who go through them. . . . Further, there is the conviction that the ruling elite of independent India inherited from its former Masters the task of strengthening inertia and promoting intellectual degeneration and it clings to this alien heritage with a vengeance; it is clear, therefore, that no matter how loud and persistent our talk of radically changing the inherited educational structure, there is no prospect whatsoever of any real transformation being effected by the ruling political and cultural elite. In fact, it is strange and depressing to find that behind the scene all political parties in India reveal an ominous unanimity with regard to this negative conservatism in educational theory, policy and practice.
If any effort towards the regeneration of Man’s experience, imagination and intellect is to be made, it has to begin and continue outside and independently of the present educational, political and cultural establishments. The universities are dead today. . . . The worship of the dead that rules our academic establishments today is closely allied to the neo-colonial politics that dominates our country, and naturally draws its strength and prestige from the State and the political parties. And yet we hope and pray that there will arise an intellectual group, particularly from among the youth, that will slowly and steadily become deeply aware of our wretchedness as a people and the necessity of a dignified and courageous response to it. The School proposed here is a form of this hope and prayer. Perhaps it would assist in the birth of such a group. It is a big need today.”
Venue: SIDH campus at Kempty near Mussoorie (See the video below for the campus tour)
Dates: 2nd November, 2022 (arrival by evening) to 6th November, 2022 (Departure after lunch).
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Write to me if you want to know more or to register)