Sunday, April 12, 2009

India analysed

Ramin Jahanbegloo, well-known Iranian scholar and a faculty at the University of Toronto, regales the reader with engrossing conversations with famed psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar. The dialogue form allows Jahanbegloo to tease out not just personal details about Kakar’s life (“When I came back to India the first time in 1964, after an absence of five years, I was very unhappy”), but also the richly layered development of his interest in psychoanalysis (“My psychoanalysis was ...influenced by Erikson’s relativistic stance, so it was not kosher Freudian in any case”). Those already familiar with Kakar’s work can extract from this book pearls of remembered wisdom. For others, it is a learned primer on, and a deserving introduction to, Kakar’s views on a range of topics, from the trauma of Partition to the conflict between modernity and tradition in present-day India.

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