Russian Professor for World Indology meet

Marietta Tigranovna Stepanyants.

Marietta Tigranovna Stepanyants.
Renowned Russian Indologist Marietta Tigranovna Stepanyants will participate in the first ever World Indology Conference in New Delhi from November 21. Professor Stepanyants is the Founder and the Chair holder of the UNESCO Chair in “Philosophy in the Dialogue of Cultures."

New Delhi will host the first ever World Indology Conference later this month, bringing together the largest gathering of scholars of Indian philosophy from across the world. Russian Professor Marietta Tigranovna Stepanyants will be among the highly respected scholars who will gather in the Indian capital. The distinguished scholars will stay at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace), where heads of state and government are normally hosted.

Being hosted in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) from November 21 to 23, 2015, this is a first of its kind event where around 21 eminent Indologists from across the world will live in Rashtrapati Bhavan, a spokesman from the Indian President’s office said. The eminent foreign scholars will discuss and deliberate on various topics related to Indian culture and philosophy, along with eight senior scholars from India. 

Interestingly, the spokesman said, the idea of Rashtrapati Bhavan hosting such a conference emerged during President Mukherjee’s visit to Moscow on May 7 to 11, to participate in the 70th ‘Victory Day’ celebrations. The President met with leading Indologists, including Professor Stepanyants, in Moscow and said he would be particularly happy to host such an international conference at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Professor Stepanyants is the Founder and the Chair holder of the UNESCO Chair in “Philosophy in the Dialogue of Cultures”. She is now the Main Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy, where she was earlier the Head of the Centre for Oriental Philosophies’ Studies in Moscow between 1980 and March 2012.

Her writings have been published in 30 countries and include about 20 monographs and about 30 books of which she is the editor. She directed many international conferences including “East & West Philosophers’ Conferences” in Honolulu (1995, 2000). The main awards she has received include Plehanov’s Award of the Russian Academy of Sciences “For the outstanding achievements in the field of philosophy” (2006); “The Best Book of the Year” award of the National competition (2009); Silver Medal “For Contribution in the Development of Philosophy” (2010).

According to a source in the ICCR, it was largely due to the initiatives of Professor Stepanyants and the Indian embassy in Moscow, that a unique chair of Indian Philosophy named after Mahatma Gandhi has been established at the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences. She is also the author of the first textbook on Eastern philosophies and was part of the effort to prepare the first specialized Encyclopaedia of Indian philosophy, prepared by Russian Indologists, which was published and the State Commission.

The World Indology Conference will commence with an inaugural address by President Mukherjee on November 21, 2015. The Indian Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj and President of ICCR, Prof. Lokesh Chandra will also participate and chair sessions, while distinguished Indian Sanskrit scholar and former ICCR head Karan Singh will give the valedictory address.

There will be five academic sessions for the conference, each of which has been carefully designed to give equal importance to the Eastern and Western perspectives about the respective themes being discussed. The scholars will discuss in detail topics such as ‘Indological Studies in Historical Perspective’, ‘Sanskrit Literature-Past and Present’, ‘Sanskrit Drama- Theory and Practice’, Indian Philosophical Thought’ and ‘Indian Art and Architecture’ over three days. 

A ‘Distinguished Indologist’ Award will be presented by India’s President Pranab Mukherjee to Prof. Heinrich Freiherr Von Stietencron from Germany. Such an Award is being instituted for the first time by ICCR, the spokesman said.

Other than Professors von Stietencron and Stepanyants, eminent international scholars who will participate in the Conference include Fernando Tola from Argentina, Oscar Punjol Riembau from Brazil, Sergio Meliton Carrasco Alvarez from Chile, Jaroslav Vacek from Czech Republic, Kenneth Gregory Zysk from Denmark, I. Wayan Ardika from Indonesia, Claus Peter Zoller from Norway, Danuta Stasik from Poland, George Anca from Romania, Javier Ruiz Calderon from Spain, Induragare Dhammaratna from Sri Lanka, Korhan Kaya from Turkey, Irma Piovano from Italy, Wang Banwei, Ma Jiali and Prof. Yu from China,  Narendra K. Wagle from Canada, Prof. Anisuzzaman from  Bangladesh, Rajendra Arun from Mauritius and David Frawley from USA. 

The conference would provide “a unique platform which will bring the best scholars from across the world including India to discuss the present state of Indology, its relevance and also the challenges faced by them in India and abroad,” the spokesman said.

The intention is to “open new vistas for researchers to infuse new vigour in the younger generation to take up Indology as a subject of study.”

Participants will also visit Dev Sanskriti University, witness ‘Ganga Aarti’ at Har ki Pauri in Haridwar and visit Shanti kunj in Uttarakhand on November 24 and 25, 2015. 

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