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Education And Career
Kakar grew up in Rohtak where his father where as additional district magistrate during the British Raj and during the partition of India. He studied in Gujarat, 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.
He has been Lecturer at Harvard University, Research Fellow at Harvard Business School, Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Head of Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Kakar has also been a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Study of World Religions at Harvard as well as Visiting Professor at the universities of Chicago(1989–92), McGill, Melbourne, Hawaii and Vienna and, since 1994, Adjunct Professor of leadership at INSEAD, Fontainbleau. He was also a Fellow at the Institutes of Advanced Study, Princeton, Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, Centre for Advanced Study, University of Cologne, a Watumull Distinguished Scholar, Fellow of the National Academy of Psychology and recipient of Bhabha, Nehru and ICSSR National Fellowships in India. Kakar was in private psychoanalytic practice in New Delhi for 25 years before moving to his current place of residence in Goa, India.
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 many honors include the Kardiner Award of Columbia University, Boyer Prize for Psychological Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association, Germany’s Goethe Medal,Rockefeller Residency, McArthur Fellowship, and the Distinguished Service Award of Indo-American Psychiatric Association. He is a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association, New York Academy of Sciences, and Academie Universelle des Cultures, France. As ‘the psychoanalyst of civilizations’, the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur listed Kakar as one of the world’s 25 major thinkers 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 of the Federal Republic of Germany, the country’s highest civilian honor.
Kakar is the author of seventeen books of non-fiction and five of fiction, of which the most recent, published in 2011, are the memoir A Book of Memory, an edited volume On Dreams and Dreaming and the selection The Essential Sudhir Kakar. His books have been translated into twenty one languages around the world.
- 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)
- 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