“Philosophers should have anticipated the current crisis over Telengana and offered policy options to the government to resolve it amicably,” said K. Radhakrishna Rao, chairman of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research.
But, are such mundane issues the concern of philosophy?
“Yes, of course,” he told The Hindu in an interview here recently. “Philosophers should be able to suggest solutions to the contemporary problems faced by humanity. They should respond to the living realities of the communities they are part of,” he said.
A philosopher, psychologist, educationist and administrator, Dr. Rao believes that Indian philosophers should have sought solutions to the burning issues of the time—such as terrorism, the Maoist insurgency, Hindu-Muslim mistrust and the Ayodhya issue.
Philosophers should act as a think-tank for the nation. He felt that the government should have consulted philosophers on the Babri Masjid issue.
“It is a misconception that philosophy is the realm of ‘eternal questions' alone,” he said.
In the past, philosophy was considered the mother of all sciences. But, in the modern times, it should act as a mirror of all knowledge. “For this, it should become inter-disciplinary and inclusive,” he said.
Dr. Rao said Indian philosophy needed to regain its ‘Indian identity.' The focus should be on basic Indian philosophical concepts and methods. Currently, Indian thought was being studied using western methodology, concept and idioms.
Dr. Rao, a former Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University, said he had proposed to the government to set up an Indian Institute of Philosophy. The government had shown an interest in the project, he said. Dr. Rao was here to open a symposium on bioethics at the Little Flower seminary, Aluva.