Ashis Nandy

Ashis Nandy (Bengali: আশিস নন্দী; born 1937) is an Indian political psychologist, social theorist, and critic. A trained clinical psychologist, Nandy has provided theoretical critiques of European colonialism, development, modernity, secularism, Hindutva, science, technology, nuclearism, cosmopolitanism, and utopia. He has also offered alternative conceptions relating to cosmopolitanism and critical traditionalism. In addition to the above, Nandy has offered an original historical profile of India's commercial cinema as well as critiques of state and violence.

He was Senior Fellow and Former Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) for several years. Today, he is a Senior Honorary Fellow at the institute and apart from being the Chairperson of the Committee for Cultural Choices and Global Futures, also in New Delhi.[1][2]

Nandy had received the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2007.[3] In 2008 he appeared on the list of the Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll of the Foreign Policy magazine, published by The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.[4]

Ashis Nandy
Prof. Nandy receiving Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2007, Japan
Prof. Nandy receiving Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2007, Japan
Born1937 (age 81–82)
Bhagalpur, Bihar, British India
Occupationpolitical psychologist, social theorist, Former Director of CSDS DELHI
Alma materGujarat University
SpouseUma Nandy
ChildrenAditi (daughter)
RelativesPritish Nandy and Manish Nandy
Ashis Nandy
Academic background
ThesisRole of a Valued Object in Personality: a Clinical Psychological Study of Money (1967)
Doctoral advisorP. H. Prabhu
Academic work
Doctoral studentsTridip Suhrud

Early life and education

Nandy was born in a Bengali Christian family[5][6] at Bhagalpur, Bihar, in 1937. He is the eldest of three sons of Satish Chandra Nandy and Prafulla Nalini Nandy, and brother of Pritish Nandy. Later, his family moved to Calcutta. Nandy's mother was a teacher at La Martiniere School, Calcutta and subsequently became the school's first Indian vice principal. When he was 10, British India was partitioned into two sovereign countries – India and Pakistan. He witnessed the time of conflicts and atrocities that followed.

Nandy quit medical college before joining Hislop College, Nagpur to study social sciences. Later he took a master's degree in sociology. However, his academic interest tended increasingly towards clinical psychology and he did his PhD in psychology at Dept. of Psychology, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad.

While a professed non-believer, Nandy identifies with the Bengali Christian community.[7]

Academic career

Nandy joined the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, as a young faculty member. While working there, he developed his own methodology by integrating clinical psychology and sociology. Meanwhile, he was invited by a number of universities and research institutions abroad to carry out research and to give them lectures. He served as the Director of CSDS between 1992 and 1997. He also serves on the Editorial Collective of Public Culture, a reviewed journal published by Duke University Press.

Nandy has coauthored a number of human rights reports and is active in movements for peace, alternative sciences and technologies, and cultural survival. He is a member of the Executive Councils of the World Futures Studies Federation, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, the International Network for Cultural Alternatives to Development, and the People's Union for Civil Liberties. Nandy has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the Wilson Center, Washington, D.C., a Charles Wallace Fellow at the University of Hull, and a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities, University of Edinburgh. He held the first UNESCO Chair at the Center for European Studies, University of Trier, in 1994. In 2006 he became the National Fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

Professor Nandy is an intellectual who identifies and explores numerous and diverse problems. He has written extensively in last two decades. His 1983 book, titled The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism, talked about the psychological problems posed at a personal level by colonialism, for both coloniser and colonised. Nandy argues that the understanding of self is intertwined with those of race, class, and religion under colonialism, and that the Gandhian movement can be understood in part as an attempt to transcend a strong tendency of educated Indians to articulate political striving for independence in European terms. Through his prolific writing and other activities supported by his belief in non-violence, Professor Nandy has offered penetrating analysis from different angles of a wide range of problems such as political disputes and racial conflicts, and has made suggestions about how human beings can exist together, and together globally, irrespective of national boundaries.



  • 1978 – The New Vaisyas: Entrepreneurial Opportunity and Response in an Indian City. Raymond Lee Owens and Ashis Nandy. Bombay: Allied, 1977. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic P, 1978.
  • 1980 – At the Edge of Psychology: Essays in Politics and Culture. Delhi: Oxford UP, 1980. Delhi; Oxford: Oxford UP, 1990.
  • 1980 – Alternative Sciences: Creativity and Authenticity in Two Indian Scientists. New Delhi: Allied, 1980. Delhi: Oxford UP, 1995.
  • 1983 – The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism. Delhi: Oxford UP, 1983. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1988.
  • 1983 – Science, Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity. Ed. Ashis Nandy. Tokyo, Japan: United Nations University, 1988. Delhi: Oxford UP, 1990.
  • 1987 – Traditions, Tyranny, and Utopias: Essays in the Politics of Awareness. Delhi; New York: Oxford UP, 1987. New York: Oxford UP, 1992.
  • 1987 – Science, Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity. Ed. Ashis Nandy. Tokyo, Japan: United Nations University, 1988. Delhi: Oxford UP, 1990.Traditions, Tyranny, and Utopias: Essays in the Politics of Awareness. Delhi; New York: Oxford UP, 1987. New York: Oxford UP, 1992.
  • 1988 – Science, Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity. Ed. Ashis Nandy. Tokyo, Japan: United Nations University, 1988. Delhi: Oxford UP, 1990.
  • 1989 – The Tao of Cricket: On Games of Destiny and the Destiny of Games. New Delhi; New York: Viking, 1989. New Delhi; New York: Penguin, 1989.
  • 1993 – Barbaric Others: A Manifesto on Western Racism. Merryl Wyn Davies, Ashis Nandy, and Ziauddin Sardar. London; Boulder, CO: Pluto Press, 1993.
  • 1994 – The Illegitimacy of Nationalism: Rabindranath Tagore and the Politics of Self. Delhi; Oxford: Oxford UP, 1994.
  • 1994 – The Blinded Eye: Five Hundred Years of Christopher Columbus. Claude Alvares, Ziauddin Sardar, and Ashis Nandy. New York: Apex, 1994.
  • 1995 – The Savage Freud and Other Essays on Possible and Retrievable Selves. Delhi; London: Oxford UP, 1995. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1995.
  • 1995 – Creating a Nationality: the Ramjanmabhumi Movement and Fear of the Self. Ashis Nandy, Shikha Trivedy, and Achyut Yagnick. Delhi; Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995. New York: Oxford UP, 1996.[8][9]
  • 1996 – The Multiverse of Democracy: Essays in Honour of Rajni Kothari. Eds. D.L. Sheth and Ashis Nandy. New Delhi; London: Sage, 1996.
  • 1999 – Editor, The Secret Politics of Our Desires: Innocence, Culpability and Indian Popular Cinema Zed: 1999. (also wrote introduction)
  • 2002 – Time Warps – The Insistent Politics of Silent and Evasive Pasts.
  • 2006 – Talking India: Ashis Nandy in conversation with Ramin Jahanbegloo. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • 2007 – TIME TREKS: The Uncertain Future of Old and New Despotisms. New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2007.
  • 2007 – A Very Popular Exile. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Selected articles

  • Nandy, Ashis (1984). "Culture, State and the Redisovery of Indian Politics". Economic and Political Weekly. 19 (49): 2078–2083. JSTOR 4373849.
  • Nandy, Ashis (1995). "An Anti-secularist Manifesto". India International Centre Quarterly. 22 (1): 35–64. JSTOR 23003710.
  • Nandy, Ashis (1997). "The Twilight of certitudes: Secularism, Hindu Nationalism, and Other Masks of Deculturation". Alternatives: Global, Local, Political. 22 (2): 157–176. doi:10.1177/030437549702200201. JSTOR 40644885.
  • Nandy, Ashis (12 August 2006). "Nationalism, Genuine and Spurious: Mourning Two Early Post-Nationalist Strains". Economic and Political Weekly. 41 (32): 3500–3504. JSTOR 4418563.

Selected essays



During the Jaipur Literature Festival held in January 2013, Nandy participated in a panel where he was quoted to have made controversial statements on corruption among "lower" castes in India. It was reported that he said,

It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from OBCs and Scheduled Castes and now increasingly the Scheduled Tribes. I will give an example. One of the states with the least amount of corruption is state of West Bengal when the CPI(M) was there. And I must draw attention to the fact that in the last 100 years, nobody from OBC, SC and ST has come anywhere near to power. It is an absolutely clean state.[10]

Rajasthan Police lodged an FIR under the SC/ST Act against Ashis Nandy for his statement regarding corruption among the SC/ST and OBCs.[11] After Nandy's lawyer moved the Supreme Court to quash all the allegations against him, the Court issued a stay order on his arrest on 1 February 2013.[12] The subaltern scholar Dr. Satyanarayana has challenged Nandy's remarks and expressed shock at the vociferous support he received for this from the Indian media and academia, asking rhetorically, "Is Prof. Nandy a holy cow?".[13]


  • Ashis Nandy in conversation with Gurcharan Das[14][15][16]
  • Ashis Nandy in conversation with Vinay Lal[17]

See also


  1. ^ Ashis Nandy Emory University.
  2. ^ Ashis Nandy – Senior Honorary Fellow Archived 4 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) website.
  3. ^ "Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize – Laureates for 2007". The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  4. ^ "Top 100 Public Intellectuals". Foreign Policy. May 2008. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  5. ^ "25, yet no Christian". The Herald of India. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  6. ^ "A short pause". Rediff. 12 January 1999. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  7. ^ "But as a Christian, do you identify with your community? Yes, I do, even though I am not a believer. I have been a nonbeliever from my teens, much to the sorrow of my parents, who were devout Christians. But I am a product of the Bengali Christian family and culture. I identify with it. I don’t disown it, particularly because it is such a small community. I do not belong to the majority community, which is 82% of the country’s population but some of them still feel and behave like a minority. [Laughs]" "Ashis Nandy on being an Indian Christian, Julio Ribeiro's pain and why he opposes conversion". 4 April 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  8. ^ Israel, Milton (October 1998). "Ashis Nandy et al. Creating a Nationality: The Ramajanmabhumi Movement and Fear of the Self (book review)". The American Historical Review. 103 (4): 1311–1312. doi:10.2307/2651320. JSTOR 2651320.
  9. ^ Menski, Werner (1998). "Creating a Nationality: The Ramajanmabhumi Movement and Fear of the Self by Ashis Nandy (book review)". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 61 (2): 371–327. doi:10.1017/s0041977x00014294. JSTOR 3107702.
  10. ^ "Most of the Corrupt From SC/STs, OBCs: Ashis Nandy". Outlook India. Outlook Publishing India Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Rajasthan Police file FIR, summon Ashis Nandy". 29 January 2013.
  12. ^ ANI (1 February 2013). "JLF controversy: Supreme Court steps in to prevent Ashis Nandy's arrest". Daily News & Analysis. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Is Prof. Ashis Nandy a holy cow?". roundtableindia. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  14. ^ Video on YouTube
  15. ^ Video on YouTube
  16. ^ Video on YouTube
  17. ^ "Frontpage - MANAS". MANAS.


  • Sardar, Ziauddin and Loon, Borin Van. 2001. Introducing Science. US: Totem Books (UK: Icon Books).

Further reading

External links

Aakrosh (1980 film)

Aakrosh (English: Cry of the Wounded) is a 1980 Hindi arthouse film directed by Govind Nihalani and written by Marathi playwright Vijay Tendulkar. The film starred Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Amrish Puri in lead roles and went to win 1980 National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and several Filmfare Awards.

It won the 'Golden Peacock' for the Best Film at the International Film Festival of India.This was a debut film of Nihalani, who went on to be known for his dark and frighteningly real depictions of human angst in other landmark alternative movies such as Ardh Satya and Tamas.It is in the list of 60 films that shaped the Indian film industry spanning six decades.

Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948 in the compound of Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti), a large mansion. His assassin was Nathuram Vinayak Godse, advocate of Indian nationalism, a member of the political party the Hindu Mahasabha, and a past member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which he left in 1940 to form an armed organization. Godse had planned the assassination. Gandhi had just walked up the low steps to the raised lawn behind Birla House where he conducted his multi-faith prayer meetings every evening. Godse stepped out from the crowd flanking the path leading to the dais and into Gandhi's path, firing three bullets at point-blank range. Gandhi instantly fell to the ground. Gandhi was carried back to his room in Birla House from where a representative emerged some time later to announce that he had died.

The Gandhi murder trial opened in May 1948 in Delhi's historic Red Fort, with Godse the main defendant, and his collaborator Narayan Apte and six others as the co-defendants. According to Markovits (2004), Godse tried to ...use the courtroom as a political forum by reading a long declaration in which he attempted to justify his crime. He accused Gandhi of complacency towards Muslims, blamed him for the sufferings of Partition, and generally criticized his subjectivism and pretension to a monopoly of the truth." According to J. Edward Mallot (2012), Godse blamed Gandhi for continuing to appease Muslims in such a manner "that my blood boiled and I could tolerate him no longer."The trial was rushed through, the haste sometimes attributed to the home minister Vallabhbhai Patel's desire "to avoid scrutiny for the failure to prevent the assassination." The trial was public, but the statement that Nathuram Godse gave during the trial on why he killed Gandhi was immediately banned by the Indian government. Godse and Apte were sentenced to death on 8 November 1949. They were hanged in the Ambala jail on 15 November 1949.

Bengali Christians

Bengali Christians (Bengali: বাঙালি খ্রিস্টান) are adherents of Christianity among the Bengali people. They speak the Bengali language and are native to Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal.

Christianity took root in Bengal after the arrival of Portuguese voyagers in the 16th century. It witnessed further conversions among the Bengali elite during the 19th century Bengali renaissance.

Bengali Christians have made significant contributions to Bengali culture, commerce and society. The region is home to venerable Christian missionary institutions, including the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa.

Fukuoka Prize

The Fukuoka Prize (福岡アジア文化賞, Fukuoka Ajia Bunkashō) is an award established by the city of Fukuoka and the Fukuoka City International Foundation (formerly The Yokatopia Foundation) to honor the outstanding work of individuals or organizations in preserving or creating Asian culture. There are three prize categories: Grand Prize, Academic Prize, and Arts and Culture Prize.

In 1989, Fukuoka held the Asia-Pacific Exposition (referred to as "Yokatopia") with the concept of interaction between the Asia-Pacific region. The prize program was inaugurated in the following year to carry on the spirit of the Expo, and ever since then, the prizes have been given annually and the related official events including the award ceremony and the public forums by the prize winners have been held in every September, also known as "Asian Party" in Fukuoka. In 1999, the school visits were added into the program to give a special lecture to children by the prize winners.

Gujarat University

Gujarat University is a state university situated at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. The university is an affiliating university at the under-graduate level and a teaching university at the postgraduate level. It is accredited B++ by NAAC. It was established in 1949.

Hislop College

Hislop College, Nagpur is one of the first colleges in the city of Nagpur. It is affiliated to Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University.

Inder Raj Anand

Inder Raj Anand (Hindi: इंदर राज आनन्द; died 6 March 1987) was an Indian film dialogue and screenwriter in Hindi cinema, who worked on many Raj Kapoor films, starting with Aag (1948), Aah (1953), Anari (1959) and Sangam (1963). While formally referred to as Hindi films, he was actually an Urdu writer, writing his scripts and dialogues in Urdu.He was father to actor-director Tinnu Anand and producer Bittu Anand. Inder's grandson is noted film director Siddharth Anand (Salaam Namaste (2005) and Anjaana Anjaani (2010)). Famous director Mukul Anand was Inder's nephew. Shahenshah, starring Amitabh Bachchan was Inder's last film as a writer. It was produced by his son, Bittu, and was directed by Tinnu. Shahenshah was released after Inder's death and it became one of the biggest hits of that year.

Merryl Wyn Davies

Merryl Wyn Davies (23 June 1948) is a Welsh Muslim scholar, writer and broadcaster who specializes in Islam, and the co-author of books and articles with Ziauddin Sardar. An exponent of Islamic anthropology, she is director of the Muslim Institute, London.

Nalin Mehta

Nalin Mehta is a leading Indian social scientist, journalist and writer. He is Executive Editor, Times of India- Online. He has been Associate Professor at Shiv Nadar University; Consulting Editor with The Times of India; and Founding Editor of the international journal South Asian History and Culture (Routledge) as well as the Routledge ‘South Asian History and Culture’ book series. He has also been Co-Director of Times LitFest Delhi and has previously been Managing Editor of India's Today Group's English TV news channel, Adjunct Professor at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and held senior positions with the Global Fund in Geneva, Switzerland, and UNAIDS.

Nandy (surname)

Nandy is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Amitava Nandy (born 1943), Indian politician

Ashis Nandy (born 1937), Indian academic

Bibhuti Bhusan Nandy (1940–2008), Indian intelligence official

Dipak Nandy (born 1936), Indian academic and politician in the UK

Kushan Nandy (born 1972), Indian film producer

Lisa Nandy (born 1979), British politician

Manindra Chandra Nandy (1860–1929), Maharaja of Cossimbazar Raj

Palash Nandy (born 1952), Indian cricketer, played large number of matches for Bengal, later a coach

Pranob Nandy (born 1955), Indian cricketer, played 22 matches for Bengal

Pritish Nandy (born 1951), Indian writer and politician

Sandip Nandy, Indian footballer

Srish Kumar Nandy (1897–1952)

Sunil Nandy (born 1935), Indian cricketer, played one match for Bengal

Utpal Kumar Nandy (born 1955), Indian Writer, Poet & Civil Engineer. He has built many outstanding and beautiful buildings

Antara Nandy (born 1989), Indian Architect, Interior Designer & Vastu Consultant

Dr. Rajendra Nath Nandy (1942 - 2011), Indian Doctor

Quest (Indian magazine)

Quest is a quarterly and bimonthly Indian journal published between 1954 and 1975 and featuring 20 years of independent India’s publishing history.

Rajni Kothari

Rajni Kothari (16 August 1928 – 19 January 2015) was an Indian political scientist, political theorist, academic and writer. He was the founder of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in 1963, a social sciences and humanities research institute, based in Delhi and Lokayan (Dialogue of the People), started in 1980 as a forum for interaction between activists and intellectuals. He was also associated with Indian Council of Social Science Research, International Foundation for Development Alternatives, and People's Union for Civil Liberties.One of the great political thinkers of the 20th-century, amongst his noted works include Politics in India (1970), Caste in Indian Politics (1973), and Rethinking Democracy (2005). In 1985, Lokayan was awarded the Right Livelihood Award.

Ramin Jahanbegloo

Ramin Jahanbegloo (Persian: رامین جهانبگلو‎, born 1956 in Tehran) is an Iranian philosopher and academic based in Canada.

Ritu Birla

Ritu Birla is an historian of modern South Asia. She is an associate Professor of History, is Richard Charles Lee Director of the Asian Institute, and former Director of the Centre for South Asian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

Shailendra (lyricist)

Shailendra (30 August 1923 – 14 December 1966) was a popular Indian Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) lyricist , music arranger, playback singer and music director. Noted for his association with the filmmaker Raj Kapoor and the composers Shankar-Jaikishan, he wrote lyrics for several successful Hindi film songs in the 1950s and the 1960s.

T. M. Krishna

Thodur Madabusi Krishna (born 22 January 1976) is a Carnatic music vocalist, writer and author, and socio-political activist. As a vocalist, he has courted controversy by making a large number of innovations in both the style and substance of his concerts. As an activist, he has championed a number of causes connected to the environment, the caste system, communalism, religious reform, reform of social practises and so on. On November 18, 2018 he performed in New Delhi invited by Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP government which gathered audience in thousands.

Tridip Suhrud

Tridip Suhrud (born 19 December 1965) is an Indian writer, political scientist, cultural historian and translator from Gujarat, India.

Vinay Lal

Vinay Lal is Professor of History and Asian American Studies at UCLA. He writes widely on the history and culture of colonial and modern India, popular and public culture in India (especially cinema), historiography, the politics of world history, the Indian diaspora, global politics, contemporary American politics, the life and thought of Mohandas Gandhi, Hinduism, and the politics of knowledge systems.

Lal was born in India in 1961 and grew up in Delhi, Tokyo, Jakarta, and Washington, D.C. He spent four years in Tokyo, 1965–69, but has almost no memory of those years; and it is not until 1987 that he returned to Japan for a short visit, followed by a lengthier stay of four months in Osaka in 1999 when he was a Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at the National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku).

Ziauddin Sardar

Ziauddin Sardar (Urdu: ضیاء الدین سردار‎; born 31 October 1951) is a London-based scholar, award-winning writer, cultural critic and public intellectual who specialises in Muslim thought, the future of Islam, futures studies and science and cultural relations. Prospect magazine has named him as one of Britain's top 100 public intellectuals and The Independent newspaper calls him: 'Britain's own Muslim polymath'.

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