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From the introduction of the book ‘A Great Hindu Civilisation: Achievement, Neglect, Bias and the Way Forward’ – The fact that a great Hindu civilisation existed, and continues to exist, is not in doubt. It is marked by great antiquity, substantial—even unprecedented—refinements, audacity of thought, and achievements both in the spiritual and secular realms. This does not mean it is unblemished, and objectivity demands that the blemishes too must be taken into account. Nor does it mean that it evolved in an insular silo or untouched by outside influences. And yet, this intermingling has not diluted or erased its essential identity as a verifiable civilisation. Unlike many other great civilisations of the past, the Hindu civilisation has not become a historical relic, an antiquary of the past, but has survived as an unbroken continuum to the present.
‘It is important to know more about this civilisation, most of all for Hindus themselves. The civilisation faces a rather unfortunate paradox. On the one hand, it is notable for its resilience and continuity, and its spillover into every aspect of a Hindu’s life; and, on the other, Hindus themselves show little real curiosity or interest in knowing more about it. This indifference is a matter of concern, not least because, if Hindus do not know about their own civilisational legacy, their authenticity as Hindus—based on knowledge—is stunted and reduced to ritualistic tokenism
Pavan K. Varma is a writer-diplomat and now in politics, where he was till recently an MP in the Rajya Sabha, and earlier Advisor to the Chief Minister of Bihar. Author of over a dozen best-selling books, including Ghalib: The Man, The Times; The Great Indian Middle Class; The Book of Krishna; Being Indian; Becoming Indian; and Chanakya’s New Manifesto, he has been Ambassador in several countries including Bhutan, Director of The Nehru Centre in London, Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Director General, ICCR, and Press Secretary to the President of India.
Pavan K. Varma was conferred an Honorary Doctoral Degree for his contribution to the fields of diplomacy, literature, culture and aesthetics by the University of Indianapolis in 2005. In 2018 he has also been conferred an Honorary Doctorate by Sri Sharada Institute of Indian Management for his book ‘Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker’ (Westland-Amazon). This book has also won the Atta Galatta-Bengaluru Literature Festival prize for the Best Book of Non-Fiction for the year 2018. In 2012 Pavan K. Varma was conferred Bhutan’s highest civilian Award, the Druk Thuksey, by His Majesty the King of Bhutan.
Mr Varma has received the Kalinga International Literary Award 2019.
Mr. Varma’s latest book is ‘The Great Hindu Civilisation : Achievement, Neglect, Bias and the Way Forward’ (Westland-Amazon).
Anand Ranganathan obtained his BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, after which he left on a Nehru Centenary Scholarship for Cambridge, UK, where he obtained his BA (Tripos) in Natural Sciences, his MA, and his PhD. After a post-doctoral stint at Cambridge, Anand returned to India to join International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Delhi, where he ran his lab for 16 years as a Staff Research Scientist. In 2015 he joined the Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and became a full Professor in 2019. His laboratory works in the area of Directed Evolution and Pathogenesis, with special emphasis on Tuberculosis and Malaria. Scientific contributions from Anand’s lab have been published in peer-reviewed journals like The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Chemistry & Biology, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Journal of Clinical Investigation, and Nature Communications.
Anand Ranganathan writes and appears frequently on television debates, on Politics, Media, and Science. His columns have appreared in Swarajya, DNA, Firstpost, and Newslaundry. He is also the Consulting Editor of Swarajya.
Anand has written three books, all novels: The Land of the Wilted Rose (Rupa, 2012); For Love and Honour (Bloomsbury, 2015); The Rat Eater (Bloomsbury, 2019; co-authored). His forthcoming book is on India’s forgotten scientists (Penguin, 2022; co-authored)