The Indians: Portrait of a People MOBI Î Portrait of

The Indians: Portrait of a People I have always enjoyed reading Sudhir Kakar s insight into the Indian psyche and personality from a Freudian perspective It has often given me a better understanding of myself, my fellow countrymen and Indian history This book is onestep in that process In this book, Sudhir and Katharina Kakar investigate the nature of the Indian identity what is Indian ness if there is one At the outset, the question arises as to whether one can even broach the subject of Indian ness Aren t we a I have always enjoyed reading Sudhir Kakar s insight into the Indian psyche and personality from a Freudian perspective It has often given me a better understanding of myself, my fellow countrymen and Indian history This book is onestep in that process In this book, Sudhir and Katharina Kakar investigate the nature of the Indian identity what is Indian ness if there is one At the outset, the question arises as to whether one can even broach the subject of Indian ness Aren t we a nation of a billion plus people who are Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Zorastrians and so on, speaking fifteen different languages Daunting as the task may be, the authors say that from ancient times, European, Chinese and Arab travellers have identified common features among Indians, showing an underlying unity in the great diversity It is the components of this unity that the authors seek to explore in this book.According to the authors, the components of this unity exist in many dimensions of our everyday life They are exhibited in our attitudes to our families, in our notions of hierarchy as experienced through the caste system, in our attitudes to gender related issues, marriage etc, in our views on sex, in our concept of health, healing and Death, in our prejudices towards the Other eg, Hindus and Muslims and in our approach to material and spiritual life In each one of these aspects, the authors throw valuable observations and insights based on our mythology, history and contemporary practice I found the following observations of great interest and gave me cause to ponder further 1.The focus on the family as the exclusive source of satisfaction of all one s needs reflects a lack of faith in almost every other institution of society The result of this is often extreme divisiveness, a lack of commitment to anyone or anything outside one s immediate family2 Early experiences in an extended joint family gives the child an early knowledge of when to retreat, when to cajole and when to be stubborn in order to get what he wants This makes an Indian a formidable negotiator in later business dealings.3.Authority relations in the Indian family provide a template for the functioning of most modern Indian business, educational, political and scientific organizations.On the Indian attitude to sexuality, the authors say that today s India is a sexual wasteland, far from the liberal images created by our ancient texts like Kamasutra and Ananda Ranga It is fashionable for middle class Indians to argue that the turn towards the Puritanism of today is the result of extended rule by Central Asian Muslims and the British with Victorian values The authors do not buy this theory They say that India has had a long tradition of asceticism and celibacy alongside sexual experimentation and that we must seek the causes of India as a sexual wasteland that it is today in our own ascetic traditions and their ascendancy.On the seemingly perennial Hindu Muslim conflict in India, the authors say that the conflict is actually not about religion that is, it is not about matters of religious belief, dogmas, worship or adherence to different faiths and gods Ordinary Indians experience the conflict differently at different times In times of heightened conflict, for the Hindu, it isabout the long domination of the Muslim rulers in India and the purported humiliation under them In times of relative peace, it is back to a secular vision which emphasizes common heritage and shared experiences of the past The final chapter Indian Mind has interesting observations based on the Hindu world view of Moksha, Dharma and Karma The analysis includes answers to perplexing questions like, How can a reputed astronomer working at a well known institute of fundamental sciences, also be a practicing astrologer OrHow can the Western educated executive of a multi national corporation consult horoscopes and holy men for family decisions I found the book very readable and providing considerable thought to the notion of the Indian identity I would recommend it for fellow Indians to get a better knowledge of ourselves Non Indians too will benefit considerably if they are perplexed by the odd behavior of their Indian friends, lovers, colleagues and bosses Truly a wonderful book Superbly insightful and surprisingly illuminating, it is written with verve and passion, and with all the authority and confidence The chapters on Hierarchies, Sexuality, Caste, and on Health and Healing are excellent.A must read for everyone, and especially for Indians. The author goes to talk about, How Indian ness is formed I was curious to learnabout my own culture The book talks about Hindoo majority s psyche but doesn t include other religions This book would help someone from the outside to dive into common experiences of Hindu culture The chapter on women, thoughts, and concerns from their perspective was valid On the group thinking, every group clan caste might have prejudices, demarcation on the other group My experience is limited, but it The author goes to talk about, How Indian ness is formed I was curious to learnabout my own culture The book talks about Hindoo majority s psyche but doesn t include other religions This book would help someone from the outside to dive into common experiences of Hindu culture The chapter on women, thoughts, and concerns from their perspective was valid On the group thinking, every group clan caste might have prejudices, demarcation on the other group My experience is limited, but it seems to be the case with rest of India Therefore, people do not mix and stay within their limited clan caste A Family is the trusted social institution, and therefore people get their identities from it A Well educated Hindoo might still believe in Astrology, Yoga and the author s answer is because of the cultural world view I would recommend this book for anyone to get a glimpse of Hindoo s Deus Vult,Gottfried Reading this book is like looking into a mirror which betrays both the beautiful as well as the ugly facets of Indian psyche. A very average book when compared to his other books The book can be used as a reference by novices and uninitiated of Indian culture studies however, for the experts or people already familiar with Indianness and Indian culture, etc this will be a big disappointment The book doesn t tell or analyse anything in a new way it only acts as a re statement of the known and existing theories. This book is a historical, sociological and, at times, psychological explanation of how and why society in India is the way it is The issues it explains are so practical and ubiquitous, you might find yourself reading real quick through the 200 pages in order to know the authors insights might finish within just a day or two, or even maybe in one single stretch It does answer a lot of questions that you might have The two authors deal, objectively and in an unbiased manner, with the very This book is a historical, sociological and, at times, psychological explanation of how and why society in India is the way it is The issues it explains are so practical and ubiquitous, you might find yourself reading real quick through the 200 pages in order to know the authors insights might finish within just a day or two, or even maybe in one single stretch It does answer a lot of questions that you might have The two authors deal, objectively and in an unbiased manner, with the very everyday traits of our society and elaborate upon what makes it so, like the much emphasized and deeply valued family system, and several points of authorities in the joint families, and how these also translate into Indians obsession with ranks and hierarchies in their public and professional lives how Muslim invasions, ancient Hindu scriptures and the Victorian morality during the British colonial rule have resulted in the people shying away from having relaxed views on sex and sexuality in the land of Kamasutra how the Hindu Muslim communal friction can be viewed as a result of the way Islam expanded and developed among Hindus, or simply as a Marxist phenomenon of economic struggle among different communities Then there are also discussions upon how nationalistic elements shape popular views towards the world, what influences people s ideas on death and morality, food and health, marriages and family, how different women from different backgrounds feel about the life in this country, etc etc.In brief, if one of the reasons you read, is to make sense of world around you, then this one should be given a try Amazing readDefinitely a must read for someone who wants to understand why Indians behave the way they are be it about the hierarchy in social domain , patriarchy, sexuality, religion Loved every aspect of the book I would recommend this book to everyone, specially those who deride Indian society without having any understanding of how this society thinks and operates, those who suffice a universality to philosophies borrowed from West, those who feel it is very intellectual to make fun of the Hindu way of life But, having said that, this book is meant for everyone Every society is different in it s conception and operates on a spectrum of values, thoughts and ideas This book will help you understand ho I would recommend this book to everyone, specially those who deride Indian society without having any understanding of how this society thinks and operates, those who suffice a universality to philosophies borrowed from West, those who feel it is very intellectual to make fun of the Hindu way of life But, having said that, this book is meant for everyone Every society is different in it s conception and operates on a spectrum of values, thoughts and ideas This book will help you understand how the Indian society works and will also allow you to question your place in it If nothing else, you would emerge wiser about how your presence in this society has shaped your unique view of the world Looking at what constitutes a common Indian identity, the authors examine in detail the predominace of family, community and caste in their everyday lives You cannot separate psychoanalysis from anthropology and this is what The Indians, by preeminent psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar and his anthropologist wife, Katharina Kakar shows us It s a brilliant, bold and incisive study into the Indian character An Indian myself, there was no new information in this book However, the consolidation of what makes an Indian, an Indian, into a single book, along with examples, cultural and social views was an eye opener If you are a therapist of non Indian origi You cannot separate psychoanalysis from anthropology and this is what The Indians, by preeminent psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar and his anthropologist wife, Katharina Kakar shows us It s a brilliant, bold and incisive study into the Indian character An Indian myself, there was no new information in this book However, the consolidation of what makes an Indian, an Indian, into a single book, along with examples, cultural and social views was an eye opener If you are a therapist of non Indian origin and work with Indian clients, this book is a must read Rating 4.5 5

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