A SHORT BIO-DATA OF INDRA NATH CHOUDHURI

                                                                                                      

During the course of my professional career, I have acquired a vast experience in administration, management of cultural organizations and cultural diplomacy besides continuing with my academic pursuits. My academic experience has included teaching of post graduate students in Indian and foreign universities and guiding research in poetics, dramaturgy, Tagore and Comparative Literature.

My specialization lies in Indian and Comparative Literature, Indian Culture, Religion and Philosophy, Translation Studies, Aesthetics and Tagore.

Present Positions

Chief Editor, Concise Hindi Encyclopedia, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India and also Chief Editor, Encyclopedia of Indian literature in English (revised version), National academy of Letters, India (in an honorary capacity), Secretary, Sasta Sahitya Mandal, A Publishing House Founded By Mahatma Gandhi.

Last Position Held

ICCR First Tagore Chair at Edinburgh Napier University 2013-2015

                                   

Past Positions

1)     Director, Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad, 2007

2)     Member Secretary and Academic Director, Indira Gandhi National Centre   for the Arts, New Delhi (July 2002 - March 2006). The Centre is engaged in the pursuit of knowledge on arts and culture. It has several activities such as research, publication, training, documentation, dissemination and networking and has grown as the largest repository of information pertaining to the arts in India

3)     Minister (Culture) and Director, the Nehru Centre, Indian High Commission, London (January, 1997 - January 2000). The job requirement was to arrange lectures, seminars, workshops and art exhibitions and interact with cultural bodies, universities and deliver lectures for creating awareness about Indian culture and its heritage. Among various lectures one was delivered at the invitation of Professor Gombrich at Oxford University on “The Idea of Indian Literature”

4)     Secretary to the National Academy of Letters, popularly known as Sahitya Akademi, literary body, fully funded by the Government of India (March 1984 - October 1996). As Secretary of the Sahitya Akademi, was Executive Head of an organization, having almost three hundred employees, with regional offices in Calcutta, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.  The job included arranging seminars, lectures, travel grants, inviting foreign writers and publishing in twenty-two Indian Languages. Three important International Conferences arranged during that time were on Narratology, Mahabharata, and Comparative Literature with big participation from abroad. The proceedings of the seminar on Narratology and Mahabharata have already been published

5)     Visiting Professor, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla in 2004. Delivered three academic lectures on “Mahatma Gandhi and Modernity”, “Bharata’s Natyashastra and Verfrumdung of Bertolt Brecht” and “Indian and Western Aesthetics and the notion of Saundrya (Beauty)”

6)     Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University in 2001. Taught a course on Indian Literature specially Guru Grantha Saheb

7)     Visiting Professor, a course in Translation Studies to M.Phil. Students in JNU in 2001. While doing this visiting became the first scholar of India to do a thoroughly researched scholarly paper on “An Indian Theory of Translation.” The paper is already published in the prestigious English journal of the National Academy of Letters “Indian Literature”

8)     Visiting Professor at Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, (Deemed University) Hyderabad in 1996 and Professor of Comparative Literature at Central University, Hyderabad in 1993.  (In both these universities planned courses of studies for starting Departments of Comparative Literature and also new curriculum for interdisciplinary studies)

9)     I.C.C.R. Visiting Professor of Indian Studies at the University of Bucharest, Romania for two years between 1973 and 1974. Worked on Mihai Eminescu and Tagore and Mircea Eliade and Indian view of myth and reality

10)  Professor of Indian Studies at the Post Graduate and Research Complex, Hyderabad, an Institute of National Importance granted by the Indian Parliament, (August 1981 - February 1984)

11)  Reader in Indian studies and also taught Comparative Literature in the Department of Modern Indian Languages, Delhi University (July 1960 - August 1981)

International Academic Activities

Delivered lectures or participated in conferences and seminars    organized in various Universities (Tokyo, New York, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, Kings College and SOAS – London, Hull, Budapest, Turin, Osaka, Dhaka, Manchester, Los Angeles and Beijing), Academic Organizations (Moscow, Sofia, Stockholm, Brussels, Rhodes, Oslo, Prague) and world bodies (UNESCO Paris). All the international lectures have been delivered in English

Major recent participation in a 5-week seminar at Washington at the Centre for Study of Culture and Philosophy. There were 21 participants from 10 countries (Sep-Oct, 2009). “The centre had accepted the paper on ‘The Sacred and The Secular: Conflictual or Complementary” for publication

Public Lectures           

Have delivered many public lectures. Out of those six important lectures delivered in recent years are:

1)         Banaras Hindu University Anne Basent Memorial Lecture on “Mahatma Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj and the issue of Modernity”, 2007. The then Vice Chancellor chaired the lecture (delivered in English)

2)         Foundation Day Lecture on “Nature and Indian Literary Culture” 2008 at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata. This lecture is always chaired by the Governor of West Bengal (delivered in English)

3)         North Gujrat University, Pattan Shri Mohanlal  Patel Memorial Lecture on “Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore”, January 2011. The Vice Chancellor chaired the lecture

4)         Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Suniti Kumar Chatterjee Memorial Lecture on “Medieval Indian Legacy: Linguistic and Literary” chaired by the most distinguished scholar of Indian thought and culture, Dr Kapila Vatsyayan in May 2011 (delivered in English)

5)         Surya Narayan Memorial Lecture at Kalidas Akademi, Ujjain on “ When Shakuntala went abroad: The various translations of Kalidasa’s Abijnana Shakuntala in English and German  languages” 2006

6)         Tunchan Ezuttachan Festival at Trichur , Kerala on “A Comparative study of Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam Ramayana” 2010 (delivered in English)

Publications

Have written books in English and Indian languages (Hindi and Bengali). Also translated from the original English to Indian languages and vice-versa 

Books published in English are:

1)             Comparative Indian Literature: Some Perspectives published by Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Delhi, 1992

2)            Sparks Fly Upward: Three Essays on Aesthetics, 1999, Temonos, London

3)             The Genesis of Imagination: Essays on Literature, Theory, Religion and Culture published by Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2001

4)             Medieval Indian Legacy: Linguistic and Literary, IGNCA, 2011

5)             Hinduism : A way of life and a mode of Thought, Niyogi Books, October 2012, jointly authored by Usha and Indra Nath Choudhuri

Books published in Indian Languages are:

6)             Tulanatmak sahitya ki bhumika, National Publishing House with an introduction by former Prime Minister, Shri P.V. Narasmiha Rao, 1983. The first book ever in any of the Indian languages on comparative literature

7)            Nirala kavya per Ravindranath Tagore ka Prabhav, Bharat Bharati Private Ltd, with an introduction by Dr Nagendra, 1964

8)            Tulnatmak Sahitya: Bharatirya Pariprikesha published by Vani Prakashan, New Delhi, 2006

9)            Gulabrai, Monograph, Sahitya Akademi, 2011, Awarded the Gulab Rai Smriti Puraskar on the book

10)          Translation of Rasa Sidhanta of Nagendra, into Bengali, Bharati Bhavan, 1976

Books Edited:

1)             As Chief Editor edited the first two Volumes of the revised version of the Encyclopedia of Indian Literature in English, Sahitya Akademi, (National Academy of Letters) 2009, and 2011. (Working on the third volume)

2)             Edited a book with a long introduction on ‘The Reception of Tagore in the North East Languages and Literature, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata, May, 2012.

Research papers published in International journals:

1)         ‘Facets of Post Modernism: A search for Roots, The Indian Literary scene’, International Postmodernism: Theory and Literary Practice,      (Eds ) Hans Bertens and Douwe Fokkema, Utrechet University, 1997

2)         ‘Rasa in the Theatre and Its Validity’, Comparative Literature, Theory and Practice, (Eds) Amiya Dev and S.K.Das, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, 1989

3)         ‘New Trends in Indian Literature’, The Cultural Heritage of India: Making of Modern India, (1757-1947), Vol VIII, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata, 2011

4)         The concept  of Value in Modern Hindi and Bengali Drama, Aspects of Comparative Literature, (Ed), Chandra Mohan,1989

5)         Theatric Form of Tagore’s Dance Drama and its Symbolism,  Tagore, (Eds) Amiya Dev and S.K.Das, 1990

Memberships:             

1)         Fellow of the Temenos Academy, London, U.K.

2)         Fellow and Chairman of the Millennium Trust, Kent, U.K.

3)         Member,  General Council, National Academy of Letters, India

Awards:

Have received many other awards, some prestigious ones listed below are:    

1)     Received the most prestigious Ganga Sharan Singh Award of Kendriya Hindi Sansthan from the President of India, 2007

2)     Hansraj College, Distinguished Alumnus Award from the HRD  Minister, Shri Kapil Sibal, 2009

3)     Hindi Academy, Delhi, Vishista Samman Award, 2009

4)     Japan Foundation award, 1996                    

                       

       Academic Qualifications:

Ph.D. from Delhi University in Comparative Poetics “A Comparative Study of Modern Hindi and Bengali Literary Criticism”.  

Masters in English, St. Stephens College and Hindi, Hansraj College, Delhi University

Personal Details

Date of Birth: 08th October, 1936

Married to Usha Choudhuri (retired Professor, Department of Sanskrit, University of Delhi)

Two daughters (both settled)

Languages known: English (can speak, read and write as the considered natives), Indian Languages (Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit and Punjabi). French (basic level)

Residence: 183, Tagore Park, Delhi-110009.

Contact Details: Tel: +91 11 45092440 Mobile: +91 98184 04130

email: indraushac1@ gmail.com