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Education and personal life
Kakar spent his early childhood near Sargodha, now in Pakistan. and also in Rohtak, Haryana state; his father was an additional district magistrate during the British Raj and during the partition of India, and the family moved quite a bit from city to city. At age eight he was enrolled as a boarder in Modern School, New Delhi; he would later write about homosexual encounters in the school dormitories. He next attended St Edward's School, Simla; he would later write about the sadistic beatings at that school handed out by the Irish Christian Brothers. After high school, his family sent him to Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where Kakar lived with his aunt, Kamla Chowdhury, and attended engineering college. After college, he attended Mannheim, Frankfurt am Main and Vienna. Kakar received a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering, a Master’s degree (Diplom-Kaufmann) in business economics and became Doctor of Economics. He began his training in psychoanalysis at the Sigmund-Freud Institute in Frankfurt, Germany in 1971.
His aunt, Kamla, moved to Delhi, and Kakar moved there as well. Earlier, he had married. He and his wife, a Gujarati woman, had two children. He started practicing as a lay psychoanalyst and writing books. According to author Khushwant Singh, "Kakar had many affairs. He also found family life boring and decided to ditch his wife and children, replacing them by marrying a German lady in the same profession. Kamla was soured by his second marriage and cut off relations with him. So Kakar and his German wife decided to get out of Delhi and set up home in Goa."
Before he began his practice, he was a Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and a Professor of Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Kakar has also held several visiting appointments at international universities, Chicago(1989–92), McGill, Melbourne, and INSEAD, Fontainbleau.
Psychoanalysis and mysticism
A portion of Sudhir Kakar's work involves the relationship between psychoanalysis and mysticism. His analyses of personages include that of Swami Vivekananda in The Inner World (1978), Mohandas Gandhi in Intimate Relations (1989), and Ramakrishna in The Analyst and the Mystic (1991).
Kakar’s fiction novel, Ecstasy (2003) deals with the "making of a mystic" and with "two characters who are very different. One is steeped in traditional religiosity. The other is a modern, rational sceptic but who is not closed to tradition. It deals with their encounters. And how one is influenced by the other" and the characters were based on Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. The story is set in Rajasthan of 1940s or 1960s
Psychoanalyst Alan Roland (2009) writes that when Kakar applies his psychoanalytic understanding to these "three spiritual figures [Swami Vivekananda, Gandhi, Ramakrishna]", his analyses are as "fully reductionistic as those of Jeffrey Masson". Roland also disputes the Kakar's theoretical understanding of mysticism from a psychoanalytic standpoint, and writes that it is "highly questionable whether spiritual aspirations, practices, and experiences essentially involve regression."
Awards And Honors
Sudhir Kakar’s honors include the Kardiner Lecturership at the Institute of Psychoanalytic Medicine, Columbia University, Boyer Prize for Psychological Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association, Germany’s Goethe Medal, Rockefeller Residency, a McArthur Foundation Grant. As ‘the psychoanalyst of civilizations’, the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur listed Kakar as one of the world’s 25 major thinkers,[dubious ] while the leading German weekly Die Zeit has profiled him as one of the 21 thinkers for the 21st century. His most recent award is the Order of Merit (Grade: Merit Cross (Verdienstkreuz)), of the Federal Republic of Germany, the country’s seventh highest civilian honor.
- Mad and Divine: Spirit and Psyche in the Modern World
- Inner World: A Psycho-Analytic Study of Childhood and Society in India: Psychoanalytic Study of Childhood and Society in India, OUP India, 2Rev Ed (14 October 1982) ISBN 0-19-561305-8 (10), ISBN 978-0-19-561305-6 (13)
- Shamans, Mystics, And Doctors
- Tales Of Love, Sex And Danger
- Intimate Relations
- The Colors Of Violence
- The Indians
- Frederick Taylor
- Understanding Organizational Behavior
- Conflict And Choice
- Identity And Adulthood
- The Analyst And The Mystic
- La Folle Et Le Saint
- Culture And Psyche
- The Indian Psyche
- The Essential Writings Of Sudhir Kakar
- A Book of Memory, 2011
- The Ascetic Of Desire
- Indian Love Stories
- Mira And The Mahatma
- The Crimson Throne
- Die Inder. Porträt einer Gesellschaft (2006)
- T.G. Vaidyanathan & Jeffrey J. Kripal (editors): VISHNU ON FREUD'S DESK : A Reader in Psychoanalysis and Hinduism, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-565835-3, Paperback (Edition: 2003)
- Singh 2011.
- Kakar, Sudhir. "Colors of Violence." Chapter 2, p25.
- Renée Zucker (2006-10-07). "Das System der Klaglosigkeit". die tageszeitung. Retrieved 2008-01-01.
- Roland, Alan; Popovsky, Mark; Peterson, Annette; Bailey, Lee W.; Halligan, Fredrica R.; Gaztambide, Daniel J.; Fredrickson, Regina A.; Madden, Kathryn et al. (2009). "Mysticism and Psychoanalysis". Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion. US: Springer. pp. 594–596. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-71802-6_449
- In The Indian Psyche, 125-188. 1996 New Delhi: Viking by Penguin. Reprint of 1991 book.
- The Rediff Interview/Psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar Date accessed: 1 April 2008
- Singh, Khushwant (25 April 2011), "Me and my couch: A review of A Book of Memory—Confessions and Reflections By Sudhir Kakar, Penguin/Viking, Pages: 318, Rs. 499", Outlook