The cheerful pandit: Kapil Kapoor

“In Patanjali’s words, all great thinkers of India were Shishtas, cultured people. A cultured person in our tradition is one whose worldly goods are constituted by a jar of grain. And without motive or purpose a Shishta devotes himself to a branch of knowledge and excels in it. Today he will be called a moorkh.”
Professor Kapil Kapoor speaking about the obsessions of Indian Intellectuals in the video linked below

In this talk, Dr. Kapil Kapoor talks about the obsessions of Indian Intellectuals. He says that Indian Intellectuals are Rudaalis, professional mourners. The caste system, our bad treatment of minorities, the way we treat our women etc., our intellectuals are constantly, publicly, mourning such issues. Professor Kapoor then goes on to list out the main traits of the Indian intellectuals:

– They are always worried (chinta-grasth)
– They have a feeling of inferiority (heen-bhavana-grasth)
– They suffer from Hanuman syndrome (Hanuman lost his powers because of a curse and, years later, had to be reminded by Jambhavan)
– They suffer from the Tittiri complex (The Tittiri is a very small bird that sleeps on its back with its feet up in the air in an attempt to stop the sky from falling down)

This is the skeleton on which Professor Kapoor weaves a deeply interesting story. Enjoy!

About Kapil Kapoor:
Kapil Kapoor is an Indian scholar of linguistics and literature and an authority on Indian intellectual traditions. He is former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and served as professor at the Centre for Linguistics and English, and at the Centre for Sanskrit Studies there before retiring in 2005. He is Editor-in-Chief of the 11-Volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism published by Rupa & Co. in 2012.
From the Wikipedia article about Professor Kapoor available here

Links for further study:
Myths about Sanskrit

Panorama of India’s knowledge traditions

Leave a Reply