Meeting The Children (And Grandchildren) Of ‘Celebrities’

Have I told you about the time I met Richard Wright‘s grandson at an academic conference? A few seconds after we had begun conversing, I blurted out, “Your grandfather changed my life, my perception of this world; I saw and understood myself differently once I had read Native Son.” My interlocutor thanked me politely; heContinue reading “Meeting The Children (And Grandchildren) Of ‘Celebrities’”

Heard The One About Fascists, Socialists, And Murderers?

In Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (W. W. Norton, New York, 2006, pp. 6-7), Amartya Sen, in the course of asserting how ‘our freedom to assert our personal identities can sometimes be extraordinarily limited in the eyes of others’, slips in the following: [S]ometimes we may not even be fully aware how othersContinue reading “Heard The One About Fascists, Socialists, And Murderers?”

Traveling With the Right Kind of Passport

Amartya Sen introduces us to his Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny with the following rather well-known little story: Some years ago when I was returning to England from a short trip abroad (I was then Master of Trinity College in Cambridge), the immigration officer at Heathrow, who scrutinized my Indian passport rather thoroughly,Continue reading “Traveling With the Right Kind of Passport”

Wanted: Moar Philosophers in Bollywood

A few days ago, a delightful oddity began making the rounds: a clip of Bertrand Russell in a Bollywood movie. ┬áThe background for this clip is straightforward even if improbable: The year was 1967. Russell was by then a very frail 95-year-old man. Besides finishing work on his three-volume autobiography, Russell was devoting much ofContinue reading “Wanted: Moar Philosophers in Bollywood”