Makarand Paranjape

Hindu Civilization

Makarand Paranjape is a poet and Professor of English at the Centre for Linguistics and English (CES), School of Language, Literature, and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), India, since 1999. He teaches courses at M.A. and M.Phil level and guides doctoral research. His M.A. courses include American Literature, Indian Literature in English/Translation, Readings in Literary Theory and Criticism, and M.Phil courses include Research Methodology and Introduction to Contemporary Literary Theory. His Ph.D. in English from University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC), USA, focused on "Mysticism in Indian English Poetry" (1985). Makarand is General Editor of a series of reprints of rare and out-of-print Indian English titles published by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. He is founding and managing Trustee of the non-profit Samvad India Foundation and founding editor of Evam: Forum on Indian Representations, an international biannual multi-disciplinary journal on India. He is a regular guest speaker or organizer at conferences, seminars and workshops worldwide.

Makarand Paranjape was born 31 August 1960 in AhmedabadGujarat. He obtained his B.A. (Hons.) in English from St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi in 1980. Thereafter he joined UIUC from where he first got his M.A. degree and subsequently a PhD in English Literature. Makarand has been teaching undergraduate/postgraduate students for almost 30 years. A large part of his globe-spanning teaching career has been spent in the US and India, where he has lived and worked. On returning to India in 1986, joined the University of Hyderabad, first as lecturer then reader. In 1994 he joined the Dept. of Humanities & Social Sciences, IIT Delhi as an associate professor. Since 1999, he has been a professor of English at JNU's Centre for English Studies. He has published over 120 academic papers in various refereed journals and edited books within the country and internationally. In addition, he is the author of several poems and short stories, over 200 essays, book reviews, and occasional pieces in academic and popular periodicals in India and abroad. He was a columnist in Sunday Observer, Business Standard, The Pioneer, and Life Positive. He has been twice the chairperson of CES and is a member of the Board of Studies, the Academic Council of JNU, and the Vision Committee of JNU; the Coordinator for UGC Special Assistance Programme at CES from 2003 to 2008; the principal investigator of the Project on Indian Perspectives on Science and Spirituality, from 2006 to 2009. He was chairperson for Europe and South Asia region of Pan-Commonwealth panel of judges for 2008 and 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize; he also served as the Indian host judge for the 2010 Prize awarded in New Delhi. In March 2016, his lecture on Nationalism against the backdrop of the JNU crisis was widely praised. [adapted from Wikipedia]

My introduction to Makarand was through his talk on "The Third Eye and Two Ways of (Un)knowing: Gnosis, Alternative Modernities, and Postcolonial Futures" (July 25, 2002) at the week-long Indic Colloquium, hosted by Rajiv Malhotra and Robert Thurman at Menla (New York State) from July 24-29, that Makarand had helped coordinate. Makarand's reflections were explicitly inspired by the writings of Shri Aurobindo and I approached him thereafter to discuss points of contact with Abhinavagupta, on whose aesthetics I subsequently spoke (July 28).  At the initiative of and with funding from Rajiv, Makarand subsequently invited me to be guest-editor of "Abhinavagupta: Reconsiderations" (Evam, 4:1&2, 2006), which comprised essays entrusted to me in Banaras since the late 1980s and fresh essays solicited independently by each of us. We discussed the logistics when Makarand visited us in Paris for dinner on 7th July 2003, and even saw me off on the talgo express to Madrid the following day. In the meantime. he pubished an expanded and updated version of Elizabeth's and my joint-paper "Paradigm of Hindu-Buddhist Relations: Pachali Bhairava Katmandu" in his Delhi-based journal Evam: Forum on Indian Representations (vol. 3: 1&2, 2004) of which he was the editor. This was a long overdue (originally French) paper (by Elizabeth) that we had great difficulty getting published both in France and the U.S. because it challenged existing understandings of religious acculturation in India.  He visited us again in Paris in Sep. 2004 [?] and we renewed our ties over dinner at his home on the JNU campus Aug. ??, 2014 during our lecture tour of North India. We spent time with Makarand most recently from Sep. 11-14 2015, when he visited as keynote speaker for the ISOL Vivekananda conference at the Art Institute of Chicago. Taking him to visit Prof. McKim Marriott at University of Chicago, BAPS Swaminarayan and Jain temples in Bartlett, Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont, and Balaji temple in Aurora, gave us ample time to discuss a wide range of issues affecting India, the United States, and the current state of (Western) Indology.


The official Makarand Paranjape website; Blog, Wikipedia, Google, bio-data -  [external]

 Poems | Fiction | Academic Papers | Reviews | ArticlesInterviews | Latest Pubs - [external]

Interviews with: Devepriya Banerjee, M. Giridhar,  [external]

Samvad India  Foundation - committed to dialogue [external]

The problem with Pollock: why MCLI needs a rethink (The Indian Express, 21 March 2016) - [external]

2016 JNU Sedition Controversy

Response (04 March) to Prof. Rajat Datta (02 Mar. 2016) -

15th lecture on nationalism at JNU (08 March 2016), ibid, - videos with viewer comments [external]

Reports on 'nationalism' lecture: India Today

'Did you check your facts?': Paranjape's questions for Kanhaiya, Leftists & JNU (, 8 Mar. 2016)

Response (16 March) from to Prof. Ayesha Kidwai (10 Mar. 2016) -

"JNU row: two professors give their side of the story" (Economic Times, 13 Mar. 2016)  [external]

JNU row: Afzal Guru event held under false pretext, says professor (Hindustan Times, 19 Feb. 2016) -  [external]

Who killed Gandhi? Why couldn't the assassination be prevented (, 30 Jan. 2015) - [external]

 India's Truth (audio, 104 MB - mp3) - (7th Oct 2005) - organized by Prasthutha at Indian Institute of Sciences

 Evam - Forum on Indian Representations - volume III contents (coverpage) [external]

Report on India-China cultural exchange (9th - 16th March 2001) [external]