Exhibition of Books on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Dear Friends and Well-wishers,

An exhibition of books on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (not usually available at the branches of Sri Aurobindo Book Distribution Agency, i.e. SABDA) and Indian scriptures has been organized by Sri Aurobindo Sakti Centre and Overman Foundation in association with Sri Aurobindo’s Action West Bengal Trust on 8th February 2015 (Sunday) at the premises of Sri Aurobindo Sakti Centre located at 532, Block “M”, New Alipore, Kolkata 700053.

The exhibition will start at 11 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. We invite the participation of all book-lovers to this event. The route details are as follows:

If one wishes to come via Rabindra Sadan or Tollygunge side, he may turn towards New Alipore from Tollygunge Phari and get down at Hindusthan Sweets, thereafter enter the road bang opposite the Hindusthan Sweets sweet shop. If one wishes to come via Durgapur Bridge, he has to turn left immediately on getting down from the bridge, go past Suruchi Sangha Club and Super Snack Bar. One may get down at New Alipore Railway Station in the Sealdah Budge Budge route. The Centre is a 3-4 minute walk from the station.

The route chart is also given beneath.

mapofsakticente

For further details, kindly contact Mr. Partha Sarathi Bose (Trustee, Sri Aurobindo Sakti Centre Trust) and Mr. Anurag Banerjee at the following respective numbers: (0) 98310 40853 and (0) 98302 44192.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder-Chairman,
Overman Foundation.

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Special Honour for Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee

dr-prithwindra-mukherjee1

Dear Friends,

We all remember that, in June 2009, Prithwindra Mukherjee, the Paris-based Indian scholar, was nominated Chevalier (“Knight”) in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.

In 2010, while launching Prithwindra’s biography Bagha Jatin (National Book Trust of India), Hon’ble Shri Pranab Mukherjee qualified it as an adequate history of India’s struggle for freedom.

In June 2013, Jean-Claude Boulogne, President of the French Writers’ Guild (Société des Gens de Lettres) launched Prithwindra’s Tantot diese, tantot bemol – a trilingual anthology with 108 poems by Rabindranath Tagore – on the occasion of the centenary of the Nobel awarded to Tagore.

In June 2014, Prithwindra Mukherjee received from the French Academy (Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres) the 2014 Hirayama Award for his long career as an author, especially for his French Thesis on the pre-Gandhian phase (1893-1918) of India’s freedom movement.

According to the Decree of 1st January 2015, the French Prime Minister has warmly sanctioned the proposal of the French Minister of Education and Research to nominate Prithwindra Mukherjee Chevalier in the Order of Palmes academiques (Academic Laurels).

We take the opportunity to congratulate Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee for this rare honour.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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Cosmopolitan Modernity in Early Twentieth Century India and Philosophy and Practice of Education for India

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

I am happy to announce that Dr. Sachidananda Mohanty’s latest book Cosmopolitan Modernity in Early 20th-Century India and Philosophy and Practice of Education for India (edited by Shitangshu Kumar Chakravarti) are now available at Overman Foundation.

Cosmopolitan Modernity

Dr. Sachidananda Mohanty’s Cosmopolitan Modernity in Early 20th-Century India looks through the prism of key tropes such as Travel, Friendship, Art, Mysticism and Politics in order to understand the meaning of cosmopolitanism and cultural citizenship in the contemporary world. Forgotten narratives of early twentieth century are brought in to offer a fresh understanding of the idea of ‘the global modern’. Interdisciplinary in substance and style covering Literature, History, Ethnography and Politics, the book examines the cosmopolitanism of Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, Dilip Kumar Roy, Paul Richard, James Cousins, Ananda Coomaraswamy and Taraknath Das. Using rare archival material and photographs, it interrogates the idea of tradition and modernity, local and global, self and the world—central to understanding a cosmopolitan world order. The book will be of interest to students and scholars in the field of English and Comparative Literature, History, Politics, Philosophy, South Asian Studies and the general reader.

Some remarks about the said volume from the pen of acclaimed intellectuals are as follows:

“[This volume] builds on the seminal theorizations of pan-Asian cosmopolitanism… to shift the discourse to early 20th –century India… [Mohanty’s] deft deployment of half-forgotten figures and dusty archives may well provide relevant clues to our understanding of the globalization in process today.” (Harish Trivedi, University of Delhi)

“Skillfully using interesting archival material, Sachidananda Mohanty maps out the emergence of the concept of ‘cosmopolitan modernity’ at the beginning of the 20th century.” (Malavika Karlekar, Indian Journal of Gender Studies)

“[This] book is especially valuable for drawing attention to overlooked historical encounters that can shed light on our current concern with cosmopolitan modernity and its implications for the future of world cultures.” (Barbara Nelson, School of Culture, History and Language, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Canberra)

Consisting of 188 pages, Cosmopolitan Modernity in Early 20th-Century India is available at a price of Rs. 650 (Six Hundred and Fifty) only.

cover of philosophy and practice of educationPhilosophy and Practice of Education for India include articles which attempt to take a long term view of the many trends afflicting, contaminating or even eliminating the perennial foundations of education in contemporary India. Edited by Shitangshu Kumar Chakravarti, the said volume includes articles like Philosophy and Practice of Education for India (by Dr. Kireet Joshi), Education at Home: The Lost Territory and its Recovery (by Pravrajika Amalprana), National Education: Problems and Prospects (by Prof. Makarand Paranjape), The Business of Education (by Manoj Das), Value Education for Teachers and Students: Experiments and Experiences (by R. K. Bhattacharya), Education for Character-Building: Basic Lessons from the Indian Tradition (by Pradip Bhattacharya), Mis-education in India: Aspects of Crisis in Human Development (by Sandhya Jain), Education for Shraddha About the Sacred (by B. Nivedita), Indian History and Civilization in Education: Recent Discoveries and their Significance (by Michel Danino), Ground Realities of Education Management in India: The State of School Education (by Dr. J. S. Rajput), A Broken World in Search of the Spirit (by Fr. Andre Bruylants S. J.), Media and Education: The Indian Scene Today (by Dr. Nand Kishore Trikha), Education and Children: A Few Reflections (by Mini Krishnan), India’s Mass Media and Education: Problems and Remedies (by Biswajit Matilal) and Selection of Teachers: A Consciousness Approach (by Dr. Goutam Ghosal).

Consisting of 294 pages, Philosophy and Practice of Education for India is available at a price of Rs. 320 (Three Hundred and Twenty) only.

To place an order for the aforesaid books, please contact us at overmanfoundation@gmail.com and (0) 9830244192. Payment can be made through cheques, demand-drafts, money-order and online remittance. Please note that these books are not available at SABDA.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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“Towards the Superman”: An Interview of Nolini Kanta Gupta

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Dear Friends,

Nolini Kanta Gupta (13.1.1889—7.2.1984) was an active participant in the Swadeshi and national education movements from the tender age of sixteen. He was introduced to Barindra Kumar Ghose, noted revolutionary and Sri Aurobindo’s younger brother, towards the end of 1907 who influenced him to join the Maniktolla Secret Society at 32 Muraripukur Road in Calcutta. On 2 May 1908 Nolini Kanta was arrested in connection with the Muzaffarpur bomb outrage along with the other members of the Maniktolla Secret Society. The trial later came to be known as the ‘Alipore Bomb Trial’. After spending a year in Alipore Central Jail as an undertrial he was acquitted in May 1909 due to lack of evidence to prove his involvement in any conspiracy of waging war against the British Empire. He withdrew from active politics after his acquittal from prison and became the chief associate of Sri Aurobindo (whom he had met during the Swadeshi movement) when the latter started the publication of his two weeklies (the Karmayogin in English and the Dharma in Bengali). When Sri Aurobindo left Bengal and migrated to Pondicherry in April 1910 Nolini Kanta too followed him seven months later. When after 1926 Sri Aurobindo withdrew into complete seclusion and the Mother took charge of the newly-formed Ashram, Nolini Kanta became its Secretary. When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust was formed by the Mother she appointed Nolini Kanta as one of the founder-trustees. Regarded as one of the most advanced sadhaks of the Integral Yoga he was equally prolific in Bengali, English and French and went on to author more than fifty books in Bengali, thirty in English and five in French. In the Aurobindonian community he was known as ‘Sri Aurobindo’s manasputra’.

An interview of Nolini Kanta Gupta in French on the theme of “Towards the Superman” was video-recorded on 18 February 1981. André Morisset (the Mother’s son), his wife Wanda, Pournaprema (his youngest daughter) and Anima Mazumdar (Nolini Kanta’s attendant) were present at the time of this interview which was recorded by Sharad. The text of the interview has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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André: Bonjour Nolini!
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Bonjour, Bonjour!
André: How are you? Alright?
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Fine. So the week passed happily?
André: Oh yes. Oh yes.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Please be seated.
André: Thank you.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Wanda is here?
André: Yes. She is here.
Wanda: Bonjour Nolini!
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Bonjour. You are well I hope.
Wanda: Perfectly well. Thank you.

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Nolini Kanta Gupta: (to Sharad) Have you started?
André: Yes. Is the light enough?
Nolini Kanta Gupta: You want me to say something?
Sharad: Yes.
Pournaprema: Yes. He would like you to say something.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: In English?
Pournaprema: No, in French. In French it is better. You always speak with André in French.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Yes… There is much speculation about the future—the future of man. There is one such speculation that…man will disappear,… not today, not tomorrow, but sometime… Man will be replaced by what we call today the superman. Something absolutely different. But in the meantime, in between, there will be an intermediary species, the overmind man or the intermediary superman. The animal was replaced by man, it is true but there are nevertheless many things in common between the man and the animal. In the same way there will be many things in common between man and this intermediary species; yet man as he is will be much changed.
André: Basically, what Sri Aurobindo tells us is that man can transform himself to some extent into this intermediary being by practising his yoga.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Yes.
André: And therefore—one can hope—that before developing a new external form even this simple human species can bring in something of the overmind man. But now… is Sri Aurobindo justified in saying all that? We shall come to know perhaps.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: The superman will not be born in the way man is born today. He will appear… but these are only speculations… one does not know.
Pournaprema: One does not know either how man appeared. One does not know exactly.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: One does not know. It will be… it will be a descent.
Pournaprema: Manifested. Manifested like this…
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Manifested. Yes.
André: Isn’t it a fact that the primary human species—like the man of Crottagnon we see in our part of the country in France—is something like an intermediary between the animal and man at that time: he had certainly special qualities—what one sees in the caves of Dordogne for example—it proves an artistic feeling which was already very human—although with a human aspect hardly out of the monkey stage. So to know how it will happen, that is difficult.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Here, all that is needed is to manifest in each of us something of what we call the Divine, something which is not completely human, something better, something beautiful, something good…
André: Unfortunately one always takes the better human as the Divine. We do not know what it is.
Pournaprema: The better we understand as the human better. We do not know at all what the Divine better is.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Oh yes. That is true.
Pournaprema: The usual better is most probably not the Divine better.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: No. It is not.
Pournaprema: But this intermediary being, before its manifestation upon earth, will he exist in some other world, in an occult world, or does he already exist somewhere?
Nolini Kanta Gupta: It is the creation of the Mother. Even in the other worlds it is the creation of the Mother.
Pournaprema: But actually, in the earth-atmosphere, does this form already exist?
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Yes. It is there.
Pournaprema: I mean in a terrestrial occult world.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Yes. It is already there.

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(Anima shows some photographs)

Pournaprema: This is beautiful. You look so young.

(On seeing the photograph of a lotus)

Pournaprema: This too is you, Nolini.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Yes!

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Nolini Kanta Gupta: There is still one other Wednesday.
André: Yes. One more week.

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