" I confess I have taken all knowledge to be my province," declared Bacon in the year 1592. The Baconian credo has ruled the Western consciousness ever since. With the introduction of western learning in India we imbibed the Baconian belief in the universality of all knowledge. In practice, however, it meant - thanks to the colonial bondage - the universality of western knowledge only. This was particularly disabling for a country like India which had three thousand years of history and culture of its own. It meant for the most part an engagement with ideas and issues that were either irrelevant or peripheral and joining in a rat race in which we were doomed to be laggards. No wonder one of our social scientists once ruefully observed, "We are neither Asian nor scientists... We are beggars, all of us we sneak under many an academic table to gather the crumbs under them.”
Long before independence, sensitive minds had voiced their dissatisfaction with the prevailing situation. K.C. Bhattacharya warned against mindless acceptance of western ideas and pleaded far "discovering our own self '' More recently Dube, Joshi and Daya Krishna have emphasised the sociocultural matrix of ideas.
May be, by bringing philosophers, sociologists, litterateurs and political activists on one platform, we could take a step in the right direction, i.e., intellectual swaraj.