Objectivist movement in India
The Objectivist movement in India is the following of Ayn Rand and her Objectivist philosophy in the country of India. The Objectivist movement gained a foothold there in the 1960s when Govind Malkani and Tara Malkani established an Objectivist club in Mumbai (then Bombay). After this, various Objectivist forums emerged. In more recent years, the Liberty Institute has acted as a think tank promoting the Rand's ideas. Although her following is still relatively small, Rand has gained popularity in India, with her books selling in large numbers.
The Objectivist movement in India was started by Govind Malkani and Tara Malkani. In the late 1960s and 1970s, the Malkanis regularly attended the annual Ford Hall Forum lecture by Rand in Boston and Tara Malkani was a regular contributor to the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) in the United States. The Malkanis established the Ayn Rand Club of Bombay in the 1960s. They made a vast collection of almost all books, cassettes and video tapes by or on Rand and her philosophy available at that time. Such a collection of materials on Objectivism was the first in India and the only one in the country when they established their Objectivist club. The club organized intellectual discussion on Objectivism, circulated Rand's taped lectures and screened documentaries and films on her philosophy. Many Indian Objectivists came into contact with the philosophy in the Ayn Rand Club of Bombay.
In South India, Lakshmi Bai Nalapat, a descendant of the Travancore Royal Family, and journalist T.N. Gopakumar established an Objectivist forum. Rand Readers' Groups were established throughout India. Although most of these groups later ceased to exist, the Liberty Institute, a free market think tank in New Delhi, headed by Barun Mitra, has been organizing the Fountainhead Essay Contest for high school students since the late 1990s.
In October 2007, which was the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rand's best-known novel, Atlas Shrugged, celebrations were held across India organized by the Liberty Institute. At major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata admirers of Rand gathered together to celebrate the golden jubilee of the novel. They cut the anniversary cake, discussed the life and works of the philosopher and watched the documentary film Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life and an interview of Rand. A public discourse forum in Hyderabad hosted a discussion focusing on Atlas Shrugged. In Kolkata, the celebration was held in the Crossword Bookstore on Elgin Road where the participants held a question-answer session. In Mumbai, the venue of the celebration was the Landmark bookshop. In Delhi, a forty minutes discussion was held and the Sanction of the Victims (1981) was screened.
The Liberty Institute has published Ayn Rand at 100, a collection of various articles, edited by libertarian philosopher and one-time student of Rand Tibor Richard Machan. In 2009, the think tank has launched a web based initiative "Ayn Rand in India" with the help of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and in collaboration with the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). The Liberty Institute organizes "Atlas Meet", an open meeting of people interested in Rand's ideas to discuss her philosophy, in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.
There is a growing popularity of Rand in India. Indians perform the second most Google searches for Rand only after Americans. Penguin Books India has sold approximately 50,000 copies of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead each from 2005 to 2009. As India is undergoing a gradual economic liberalization with widespread effects after decades of socialist economic policies, Rand's philosophy is having a tonic effect on many Indians to help abolish the socialist system. Rand emphasized on individual autonomy while family, religion and tradition are generally given importance in India. For this reason, many rebellious Indian teens are attracted to Rand. A difference in Rand's popularity in India from that in the United States is that The Fountainhead is most popular among Rand's novels in India, while Atlas Shrugged is the most popular novel in the United States.
Although there are loyal followers of Rand in India, Objectivism has very little influence on public policy. Even two decades after the economic liberalization, the government holds overwhelming power in contradiction to a free market politico-economic system.
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