#TFAF (The Friends And Foes, July 10, 2016):
Did Buddha have friends? Did Gandhi have enemies? Can you renounce friends? Is friendship universal? Do we ‘need’ enemies? Is competition ever with enemies? Why is there ‘narcissism of small differences’? Can rivals be friends? How are enemies, adversaries, and opponents conceptually distinct from each other? Are democratic structures meant for pacification of politics: can enemies be turned into adversaries? Does self interest contaminate friendship or does mutual self interest bind it together? Can power be shared? Does allegiance to a world view come along with enemies that need to be fought? Did competitive sports (Olympics) come to be as a substitute for combat and battles? How is the sense of the self developed? Can there be friendship between collectivities (such as countries)? Would the European Union have come to be without the preceding World Wars? Why and ‘how’ did Panchtantra come to be? Would a highly transactional world make friendships redundant? Are there friendships in competitive sports? Is mono-modal friendship possible? Will there ever be a world where there are no friends (or enemies)? Can affection be manufactured by law? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from sports psychology (Bhishmaraj P. Bam, Purushottam Academy, Nashik), political theory (Prof. Rajeev Bhargava, CSDS, New Delhi), & philosophy and history (Prof. Vinay Lal, UCLA, Los Angeles).
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TFAF show.
Bhishmaraj Purushottam Bam (sports psychology) is a Sports Psychologist. He is also the Founder of XL Target Shooters Association & the Founder & Chief Executive of Purushottam Academy, based out of Nashik. He completed B.A. in Mathematics & Statistics from Osmania University, Hyderabad. He then joined Maharashtra Police as direct Deputy Superintendent of Police in 1963. After 18 years of service in the field, he was deputed to the Ministry of Home Affairs and after handling multiple critical assignments throughout his service, he retired on the rank of Inspector General of Police. In the field of sports he has made key contributions as a promoter, coach and Sports Psychologist. He has also worked as the Vice President of the National Rifle Association of India and President of the Maharashtra Rifle Association. He has played a major role in development of the game of Target Shooting in India and has been the mentor of several shooting stalwarts. Some of the sports personalities who have trained under him are – Rahul Dravid, Anjali Bhagwat, Suma Shirur, Geet Sethi, Gopichand, Aparna Popat, Gaurav Natekar, Harsha Mankad, Gagan Narang, & Ronjan Sodhi. He has written 3 books in Marathi (‘Marg Yashacha’, ‘Vijayache Manas Shastra’ & ‘Mana Sajjana’) and 1 book in English (Winning Habits). He has been awarded the Presidents’ Police Medal, the Indian Police Medal, the Life Time Achievement Award by Indian Association of Sports Psychology, and the Shiv Chatrapati Award for Sport Promotion.
Prof. Rajeev Bhargava (political theory) is Professor and former Director of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi (2007-2104). He also taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) as a Professor (1980 – 2005), and was also the Head of Department of Political Science, University of Delhi (2001-2005). Prof. Bhargava completed his B.A. in economics from the University of Delhi, and M.Phil and D.Phil from Oxford University. His research interests are political theory, multiculturalism, identity politics, secularism and methodological individualism.. He is also an Honorary Fellow, Balliol College, Oxford and Professorial Fellow, Australian Catholic University (ACU, Sydney). He has been a Fellow at Harvard University, University of Bristol, Institute of Advanced Studies (Jerusalem), the Wissenschaftskolleg (Berlin), and the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna. He has also been Distinguished Resident Scholar, Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life at Columbia University, and Asia Chair at Sciences Po (Paris). Prof. Bhargava’s publications include ‘Individualism in Social Science (1992)’, ‘What is Political Theory and Why Do We Need It? (2010)’, and ‘The Promise of India’s Secular Democracy (2010)’. His edited works are ‘Secularism and Its Critics (1998)’ and ‘Politics and Ethics of the Indian Constitution (2008)’.
Prof. Vinay Lal (history, philosophy) is Professor of History and Asian American Studies at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1992 after undergraduate and Master’s degrees in literature and philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. His research interests are Indian history, historiography, public and popular culture in India, the Indian diaspora, colonialism, human rights, and the architecture of nonviolence, Gandhi, and the global politics of knowledge systems. His 15 books include the two-volume ‘Oxford Anthology of the Modern Indian City (Oxford, 2013)’, ‘Political Hinduism: The Religious Imagination in Public Spheres (ed., Oxford, 2009)’, ‘The Future of Knowledge and Culture: A Dictionary for the Twenty-first Century (co-edited with Ashis Nandy, Viking Penguin, 2005)’, ‘Of Cricket, Guinness and Gandhi: Essays on Indian History and Culture (Penguin, 2005)’, ‘The History of History: Politics and Scholarship in Modern India (Oxford, 2003)’, ‘Empire of Knowledge: Culture and Plurality in the Global Economy (Pluto Press, 2002)’, and, most recently, ‘India and the Unthinkable: Papers from the Backwaters Collective on Metaphysics and Politics’ (co-edited with Roby Rajan, Oxford, 2016)’. His work has been translated into Hindi, Urdu, Kannada, French, German, Spanish, Finnish, Korean, and Persian. He is currently working on two books on Gandhi, a political study of fasting, and a book on internet Hinduism.
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#TFAF mentions: Thoreau, Sigmund Freud, Mahatma Gandhi, Jan Assmann, & James P. Carse, among others.