Rediscover traditions of wisdom: Gangan Prathap

Gangan Prathap

Gangan Prathap  

Staff Reporter

Kerala University honours Ph.D. awardees of 2007

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Researchers should rediscover the traditions of wisdom and reason of ancient India that the nation abandoned somewhere down the course of history, Vice-Chancellor of CUSAT Gangan Prathap has said.

He was delivering the keynote address at the ceremony organised here on Thursday by the University of Kerala to felicitate the 162 candidates who got doctorates from the University in 2007.

The authority of the text and the teacher can never be final. It is always provisional. So, researchers must always add to or amend what is found in the fund of human knowledge. It is often said that reason originated with the Greeks. However much before the Greeks there was a sage in India who in his teaching accorded primacy to reason, who always wanted empirical evidence to take precedence over received wisdom.

The long cherished tradition in the logic that grew out of Aristotle’s speculations is what is called binary logic. Most of western science was based on this binary logic. However, 200 years before Aristotle this son of India (Dr. Prathap was referring indirectly to the Buddha) realised that the world and life is full of contradictions- that things can be A and not A at the same time. Now, this style of thinking goes by the name of fuzzy logic, Dr. Prathap pointed out. There statements which are true but cannot be proved and there are statements which can be proved but are not true. “This is a paradoxical world on which would not have surprised the greatest son that India produced,” he said.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kerala gave away medals to those who got doctorates last year. The maximum number of doctorates was from Chemistry-24. The maximum number of doctorates were done under the supervision of Dr. Vijay Nair (chemistry)- 6. There were 13 doctorates in Tamil, 11 in Physics, 10 in English, eight in Commerce and seven in Hindi. A special mention was made in the ceremony about T.M. Thomas who earned his doctorate in Public Administration at the age of 78. A retired Secretary (Taxes) to the government of Kerala, Dr. Thomas did his research on the management of public finance in Kerala with special reference to the E.K. Nayanar government of 1996-2001. “This is a study of public finances in Kerala from 1958 onwards,” Dr. Thomas said. It was after retirement that he took an MA in Public Administration, a PG diploma in journalism and a degree in law. He practises law these days working as a consultant and does not charge any fee.

And what advice does this doctorate holder have for the government of Kerala ? “Live within your means.”

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