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Rediscovering Indian Knowledge: A Cultural and Educational Exploration through the Works of Śrī Dharampal

17 June @ 8:00 am 19 June @ 5:00 pm IST

Śrī Dharampal was a distinguished Indian scholar whose research uncovered the rich educational systems and traditions of pre-colonial India, challenging existing historical narratives. This course will delve into his contribution and rediscover Indian knowledge through his writings.

About Course: 

“Śrī Dharampal (1922–2006), was a prolific scholar, historian, and thinker whose work spanned a diverse array of subjects, from education and governance to environmental sustainability and cultural revivalism. Born in the Indian subcontinent, Dharampal ji’s journey mirrored the complexities and diversity of his homeland. He traversed the intellectual landscapes with both the curiosity of a scholar and the discernment of a sage, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire and provoke critical inquiry. 

Central to Dharampal ji’s oeuvre is his seminal work, “The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century” (1983), which meticulously documents the robust indigenous educational systems that flourished in pre-colonial India. Through extensive archival research and profound historical insight, Dharampal ji challenges the prevailing narrative of educational backwardness in pre-modern India, demonstrating the vibrancy and effectiveness of traditional educational practices. 

In “Civil Disobedience and Indian Tradition” (1971), Dharampal ji delves into the philosophical underpinnings of civil disobedience in the Indian context, drawing upon ancient texts and traditions to illuminate the principles of nonviolent resistance that animated the Indian independence movement. His nuanced analysis sheds light on the enduring relevance of Gandhian philosophy in contemporary struggles for justice and freedom. 

Dharampal ji’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development is evident in works such as “The Madras Panchayat” (1972), where he examines the functioning of traditional village councils in southern India, advocating for decentralized governance and community-based decision-making as antidotes to the ecological and social challenges of modernity. 

Throughout his life, Dharampal ji embodied the ethos of an “errant pilgrim,” journeying across intellectual landscapes in search of truth, justice, and beauty. His writings continue to illuminate paths of inquiry and action, inviting us to engage critically with our past, present, and future. As we embark on this journey through Dharampal ji’s work, let us embrace the spirit of inquiry and dialogue that animated his life and scholarship.”


The course will stress the relevance of Dharampal Ji’s ideas and work today, in his opposition to many of the dystopian aspects of existence that are being pushed currently. 


Śrī Dharampal’s thought will be discussed in the context of contemporary ‘post-liberal’ attempts to rethink community, family, and tradition. 


While the focus will be on Śrī Dharampal’s work, the course will also discuss thoughts and ideas propagated by other scholars such as Ivan Illich, Ananda Coomaraswamy, SN Balagangadhara, Ashish Nandy, and others.

2 responses to “Rediscovering Indian Knowledge: A Cultural and Educational Exploration through the Works of Śrī Dharampal”

  1. Hi friends at Vikalp
    Kindly share more details about this online course in Dharampal’s work & how to join. Thanks

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