Girindrasekhar Bose

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Girindrasekhar Bose
Girindrasekhar bose.jpg
Born Girindrasekhar Bose
(1887-01-30)30 January 1887
Died 3 June 1953(1953-06-03) (aged 66)
Nationality Indian

Girindrasekhar Bose (30 January 1887 – 3 June 1953) was an early 20th-century South Asian psychoanalyst, the first president (1922–1953) of the Indian Psychoanalytic Society.[1] Bose carried on a twenty-year dialogue with Sigmund Freud. Known for disputing the specifics of Freud's Oedipal theory, he has been pointed to by some as an early example of non-Western contestations of Western methodologies.

Life and work[edit]

Bose's doctoral thesis, Concept of Repression (1921) blended Hindu thought with Freudian concepts. He sent the thesis to Freud,[2] which led to a correspondence between the two men and to the formation of the Indian Psychoanalytic Society in 1922 in Calcutta. Of the fifteen original members, nine were college teachers of psychology or philosophy and five belonged to the medical corps of the Indian Army, including two British psychiatrists. One of them was Owen A.R. Berkeley Hill,[3] famous for his work at the Ranchi Mental Hospital. In the same year, Bose wrote to Freud in Vienna. Freud was pleased that his ideas had spread to such a far-off land and asked Bose to write to Ernest Jones, then President of the International Psychoanalytic Association, for membership of that body. Bose did so and the Indian Psychoanalytic Society, with Bose as president (a position he held until his death in 1953) became a full-fledged member of the international psychoanalytic community.[1][4] The review of the Indian Psychoanalytic Society is called Samiksha[5] and its first edition appeared in 1947.


  • Concept of Repression. By Girindrashekhar Bose. Published by G. Bose, 14 Parsi Bagan, Calcutta, India. 1921. 223 pp. Rs. 10/ net.[6]
  • (with Ernest Jones and others) Glossary for the use of translators of psycho-analytic works, 1926
  • Bose, G. (1930). "The psychological outlook of Hindu philosophy". Indian Journal of Psychology. 5: 119–46. 
  • Bose, Girindrasekhar. (1933). "A New Theory of Mental Life". Indian Journal of Psychology, 37-157.


  1. ^ a b Sudhir Kakar, 'Girindrasekhar Bose (1886-1953), International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. Reprinted online at
  2. ^ Text of Girindrasekhar Bose's letter to Freud, December 1920
  3. ^ Owen Berkeley Hill 1879—1944
  4. ^ Sudhir Kakar, 'India', inInternational Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. Reprinted online on
  5. ^ Samiksha
  6. ^ Review, Psychoanalytic Review 9:104 (1922)


  • Hartnack, Christiane. (1990). "Vishnu on Freud's Desk:Psychoanalysis in Colonial India". Social Research, 57 (4), 921-949.
  • Hartnack, Christiane. (2003). "Freud on Garuda's Wings - Psychoanalysis in Colonial India". IIAS Newsletter #30, March 2003
  • Indian Psychoanalytical Society. (1955). Samiksa Special Issue on Bose.
  • Ramana, C.V. (1964). "On the Early History and Development of Psychoanalysis in India". Journal of the American Psychoanal. Association. 12: 110–134. doi:10.1177/000306516401200107. 
  • Kakar, Sudhir. (1997). "Encounters of the psychological kind: Freud, Jung and India" in Culture and Psyche: Psychoanalysis and India. New York, Psyche Press.
  • Mehta, P. (1997). "The Import and Export of Psychoanalysis: India". Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis. 25: 455–471. 
  • Nandy, Ashis. 'The savage Freud: the first non-Western psychoanalyst and the politics of secret selves in colonial India', in The savage Freud and other essays on possible and retrievable selves, Princeton University Press, 1995, pp. 81–144

Further reading[edit]

  • 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)
  • Amit Ranjan Basu,"Girindrasekhar Basu and the coming of psychology in colonial India," Theoretical Perspective, Vol.6, 1999, pp. 26–55.
  • Amit Ranjan Basu, "Emergence of a Marginal Science in a Colonial City: Reading Psychiatry in Bengali Periodicals." Indian Economic and Social History Review, 41, 2004, pp 103–141.
  • Amit Ranjan Basu, "Historicizing Indian psychiatry" Indian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2005, pp. 126–129.
  • Amit Ranjan Basu, The Coming of Psychoanalysis in Colonial India: the Bengali Writings of Dr. Girindrasekhar Bose, No. 5, 1999 (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences), Enreca Occasional Paper Series - Cu[l]ture and the Disciplines: Papers from the Cultural Studies Workshops/Tapti Guha Thakurta (35.54 p.)
  • Christopher Harding, ‘The Freud Franchise: Independence of Mind in India and Japan’, in R. Clarke (ed), Celebrity and Colonialism: Fame, Power and Representation in (Post) Colonial Cultures (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009).
  • Christopher Harding, 'Freud in Asia'. BBC Radio 3 documentary, broadcast 16 November 2014.

External links[edit]