Indian Philosophers' Day celebrated at AMU

Aligarh: The guest speakers and faculty members described the contours of Indian philosophical traditions and perspectives in a one-day national symposium on the theme “Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Indian Philosophical Perspective”, organized by the Department of Philosophy, Aligarh Muslim University, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, to mark the Indian Philosophers' Day- 2022 on December 28.

The symposium was inaugurated with a welcome address and introductory remarks by Dr. Aquil Ahmad, Chairperson, Department of Philosophy, highlighting the significance of celebrating Indian Philosophers' Day, pointing out how the theme encompasses the major philosophical branches, i.e., Epistemology, Aesthetics, and Ethics.

Guest speaker Prof. Md. Sirajul Islam, Department of Philosophy & Comparative Religion, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, West Bengal, delivered his lecture on “Concept of Truth in Indian Religio-Philosophical Viewpoint”.

He pointed out that “the foremost articulation of Indian philosophy is that it depicts the idea of the entire human civilization, and reality being the composition of three elements namely, Satyam, the assertion of an ontological reality (the Truth); Shivam, (Goodness) i.e. observance of the five cardinal virtues, that almost each and every Indian philosophical tradition advocates, and when these two are found to be one, the phenomenal world becomes Sundaram, i.e. Beauty”.

He suggested that there is a need to recognize the individuality of the theistic as well as atheistic traditions of Indian philosophy, for both advocate Truth through their relative viewpoint, reminding us of the epistemology of Jaina Anekantaavada.

“Truth isn’t a monopoly of a single tradition and no matter what language is being used to articulate it, without any doubt, it leads us to the absolute reality, for the truth is the property of absolute reality”, Prof Islam stated.

Delivering his lecture on “Moral Idealism and Indian Social reality” Prof. P. Kesav Kumar, Head, Department of Philosophy, University of Delhi, highlighted the role of Aligarh Muslim University and the Department of Philosophy in contributing towards the philosophical scholarships in the country. Through his deliverance, he urged the need to construct a subaltern knowledge system for marginalized and disadvantaged communities.

He called for deconstructing the philosophical trends by emphasizing vernacular language philosophies and enriching Indian philosophy globally. While lecturing on moral idealism and Indian social reality, he emphasized the need for Indian philosophy to be more social than engaging with metaphysical linguistic problems.

Drawing from contemporary socio-political philosopher Bhikkhu Parekh, Prof. Kumar highlighted the need to bring alternative narratives from unheard or disadvantaged communities.

Dr. Nilanjan Bhaumik, Department of Philosophy, University of Delhi, delivered his lecture on the theme “difficulty of being true”.

He presented a distinct view of ‘Truth as awareness’, highlighting three commitments in philosophy as three categories: Institutional Commitment, Social Commitment, and Individual Commitment.

“The nature of commitment in Indian philosophy is precisely an institutional commitment, and the Indian philosophical system is too slow to deliver innovative knowledge. Being more than a knowledge system, it plays the role of a grammatical institution. This system discusses more the awareness of the moment than the Truth”, Dr. Bhaumik said.

Earlier, Prof. Mirza Asmer Beg, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, AMU felicitated Prof. Md. Sirajul Islam and presented him with a memento. Prof. Latif Husain Shah Kazmi and Dr. Aquil Ahmad presented mementos to Prof. P. Kesav Kumar and Dr. Nilanjana Bhowmick respectively.

After an interactive session with the faculty members and students, the distinguished guests distributed prizes and certificates among the winners of the Essay Writing Competition held on 23rd December as part of the Indian philosophers’ day celebrations.

Mohd. Mehdi of BA 5th Semester secured the 1st Position, whereas Sumeet Kumar of MA 3rd Semester secured the 2nd Position. Iram Rais of MA 2nd Semester and Zoha Owais of BA 1st Semester, Women’s College, AMU, shared the 3rd Position.

Prof. Latif Hussain Shah Kazmi of the Department of Philosophy delivered concluding remarks. He correlated the theme of the symposium with the Islamic philosophical perspective.

Dr. Shahidul Hoque, Organizing Secretary proposed the vote of thanks, while Zaid Ahmad Siddiqui conducted the programme.

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