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Ministry of Human Resource Development23-March, 2007 13:28 IST
ICPR Silver Jubilee award of distinguished life time contribution to philosophy

The main objective of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) is to promote philosophical excellence in the country. A necessary step in the promotion of excellence is to recognize excellence. ICPR does it at various levels by choosing scholars for a variety of fellowships that include, apart from doctoral and post-doctoral, senior and national fellowships. The fellows of the ICPR work on designated projects over an agreed period of time.

            At a recent meeting of the Research Projects Committee (RPC) the matter of recognizing and promoting philosophical excellence in the country was discussed at length. The members were unanimous in expressing the view that in addition to continuing the existing fellowships programs the ICPR should consider presenting annually an award recognizing the distinguished life time achievement of a living Indian philosopher. Considering the fact that this year is being celebrated as the Silver Jubilee Year, the RPC resolved to institute the ICPR Silver Jubilee Award for Distinguished Life Time Achievement in philosophy to be awarded annually to a living Indian philosopher. The award carriers a cash amount of rupees one lakh.

            As per the directions of the RPC, a high power committee met and considered several eminent living Indian philosophers for the award. Following the unanimous recommendation of the Committee, Professor K. Satchidananda Murty, who earlier received Dr. B.C. Roy award (1984) and was honored with Padma Vibhushan in 2001 is selected for the Award. Professor Murty, who taught philosophy at Andhra University for about three decades, served as the Vice-Chancellor of Sri Venkateswara University and as the Vice-Chairman of the University Grants Commission. He was elected as the Chairman of the Indian Philosophy Congress and Bharatiya Dharsan Parishad.

Twenty-Five Year Journey of ICPR

The Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) is a unique institution, possibly one of its kind in the world. Though ICPR was registered as a Society under Act XXI of 1860 on 8th March 1977, it actually started functioning from the year 1981, thanks to the foresight and initiative of Smt. Indira Gandhi. Apparently there was a long and serious deliberation on the part of the Indian Government before the decision was finally taken to set up ICPR. The Government had consulted institutions like UGC and several other learned bodies. Ultimately, the matter was settled at the level of the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi. The main argument in favor of the ICPR is that among various pursuits and disciplines of knowledge that came to be developed during the course of the long history of India, philosophy stands out as the single most outstanding endeavor. The classical Indian contributions in philosophy rival the very best any where in the world. If there is one single area of Indian excellence which would command respect and attraction from the contemporary world, it would be none other than the profound wisdom that is contained in Indian thought. So, it was felt that philosophy deserved to have a special agency in the country to help move it forward to new heights of excellence. Thus the ICPR came into existence as an independent body that could function as an autonomous organization fully funded by the Government of India and freely developed by eminent philosophers of the country. Conceived as a crucible for molding thoughtful minds generating ideas needed for India’s development consistent with its national ethos, funded generously by the Government of India and led effectively by a series of outstanding scholars, today, the ICPR stands out as a beacon of light illuminating the intellectual landscape of the nation. It is truly striving to live up to the goal of being the think tank of the nation.  

Growth and Development:

During the last 25 years the Council has been fulfilling its objectives to promote and coordinate research in philosophy, sponsor and assist research programs in philosophy, give academic and financial support to institutions and individuals engaged in research activities in philosophy, encourage programs of interdisciplinary research from a philosophical perspective, review progress of research in philosophy from time to time and facilitate international exchange of philosophers. Apart from regularly organizing a variety of programs and activities ICPR has taken a number of important initiatives that include the following:

  1. Publication of a high quality quarterly journal, The Journal of the ICPR. Prof. D.P. Chattopadhyaya was its Founding Editor. The current editor is the distinguished philosopher, Professor Daya Krishna.   
  1. Development of programs to assimilate in condensed forms some of the important contributions of Indian philosophy for a period of over three thousand years.

3. (a) Preparation of a series of monographs on important problems of Ontology,           Epistemology, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Phenomenology,       Hermeneutics and Existentialism. (b)The publication program also included       books on living philosophers of India and (c) a series of works that bring out       Indian expertise in regard to Western Philosophy. Till date ICPR published       106 titles.  

4. Development of programs of seminars, workshops and refresher courses aimed at       promoting high level research in philosophy among philosophers of India on       themes relevant to the recovery of ancient system of Indian philosophy and to the       progress of contemporary Indian philosophy that would find for itself a high place       in the current scene of philosophy in the world at large. This program also       envisaged empowerment of young and budding scholars and provided training to       philosophers old and new, so that they could think on new lines of philosophical     thought which would be both analytic and synthetic in character. In pursuing this         objective, a number of institutions far and wide were supported by the Council       during this period.

 5. With the goal of encouraging young scholars, a national program of Annual       Essay Competition followed by well attended seminars across the country are       regularly conducted.   

  1. A variety of Fellowship schemes for promoting philosophical research is taken up. Hundreds of research scholars were benefited by these fellowships.
  2. Steps are taken to promote collaboration between various philosophy establishments in the country. 
  3. Grants are provided to facilitate exchange of scholars with other countries. 
  1. Provided help to organize regional, national and international conferences on philosophy, which brought together philosophers for a fruitful exchange of ideas.  

10. Philosophers of India were deputed for participation in international conferences,           resulting in the promotion of Indian philosophy in the contemporary philosophical     scene.  

11. Initiated the Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture, which       envisages the publication of 100 volumes. The project is currently handled by the Centre for Studies in Civilization headed by Dr. D.P. Chattopadyaya.

12.  The ICPR developed the Academic Center at Lucknow and built a world class library of       philosophy there, which is perhaps the best in Asia today.

Future Plans

(1) Currently the ICPR has proposalss for establishing the Indian Institute of Philosophy with a virtual campus and floating faculty. It is an innovative concept in higher education, which blends the best in campus-bound traditional universities and the distance mode of learning.

(2) The ICPR also plans to start regional centers and promote philosophical activities at the regional level by exploiting the wealth of philosophical wisdom in native languages.

(3) Another major project of the ICPR waiting the clearance from the Planning Commission is a mega interdisciplinary research project “National Initiative on Integration and Inclusive Community.”

(4) The ICPR is engaged in promoting cross-cultural and interdisciplinary studies in collaboration with sister institutions like the ICSSR, UGC, ICHR and IIAS.

(5) Plans are underway to prepare and publish a series of sourcebooks in Indian philosophy for distribution around the world.

Brief Introduction of the Chairmen of ICPR

The first Chairman of ICPR was Professor D. P. Chattopadhyaya. The Council was privileged to have him as the chairman continuously for about ten years (1981-1990). Prof. Chattopadhyaya was the President cum Chairman of IIAS, Shimla, (1984-91). He is currently the Project Director of the multi-disciplinary project viz., Project of History of Indian Science Philosophy and Culture (PHISPC), which was initiated by the ICPR when he was the Chairman, and Chairman of the Centre for Studies in Civilization (CSC). He published over 30 books and held high public offices like Union Cabinet Ministership and State Governorship.  He has received numerous awards including Padma Bhushan in 1998. 

Professor Balsubramaniam held the Chairmanship of ICPR between 1990 and 1994. Earlier, he was the Director, Radhakrishnan Institute for Advanced Study in Philosophy, University of Madras for a number of years. Author of several books, Prof. Balasubramaniam is highly regarded as a thinker and interpreter of classical Indian philosophy along the lines of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan.

Prof. Mrinal Miri was the Chairman of ICPR during the period 1994 to 1997. Professor Miri also served as the Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, from 1993 to 1999. He was awarded Padma Bhushan for his contribution in the field of education and literature. He is currently a member of the National Advisory Council.

Professor (Late) V. Venkatachalam was the Chairman during the period 1997-2000. He was formerly the Vice-Chancellor of Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, and Kameshwar Singh Sanskrit University, Darbhanga. He was awarded Padmashree for his contribution in the field of education and literature.  

Dr. Kireet Joshi was the Chairman of ICPR from 2000-06. He was also its Member-Secretary for (1981-1990) 10 years. He was Chairman of Auroville Foundation and vice-Chairman of Maharshi Sandipani Rashtria Veda Vidya Pratisthan. He was formerly Educational Adviser to the Government of India and Special Secretary in the Ministry of HRD during 1976 to 1988. He has authored and edited a number of books in the areas of Value-Oriented Education, Indian Culture, Yoga, Sri Aurobindo and Mother. 

Current chairman Prof. K. Ramakrishna Rao is an internationally reputed philosopher and psychologist. A Gandhian scholar, Prof. Rao published over 200 research papers and fifteen books, including Gandhi and Pragmatism (1968) and Consciousness Studies: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (2004). Professor Rao served earlier as the Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University, Advisor on Higher Education, Govt of Andhra Pradesh and Vice-Chairman, Andhra Pradesh State Planning Board in the rank of a Cabinet Minister.



(Release ID :26367)

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