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Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies completes 20 years

onsidered a leading centre for learning in the area, the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS) will hold a 20th anniversary celebration dinner at the Oxford Town Hall on July 2

world Updated: Jun 30, 2018 08:11 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Oxford University,University of Oxford,Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
People walk around Oxford University's campus in Oxford, England. (AP File Photo)

A centre at the University of Oxford devoted to the academic study of Hinduism – without links toany political or religious group – has completed 20 years of research, leading to more than 150 books, 280 papers, and ties with institutions in India and elsewhere.

Considered a leading centre for learning in the area, the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS) will hold a 20th anniversary celebration dinner at the Oxford Town Hall on July 2, to be addressed by the vice-chancellor, Louise Richardson, and others.

Based at Magdalen Street near iconic Oxford colleges, the centre has attracted students, scholars and individuals from India and elsewhere over the years, delivering more than 2000 lectures, including byactor Amitabh Bachchan, who delivered the Ford Lecture in 2011.

“Our aims have been dual: to fuel the academic study of Hinduism, and to take this scholarship from its high perch and make it responsive to the needs of everyday Hindus and the wider community,” a senior OCHS functionary said.

“Our publishing, conferences and visiting student opportunities have accomplished the former, and our burgeoning online courses and outreach projects, the latter.”

Recognised as an independent centre of the university, the first D.Phil students of OCHS graduated in 2004: Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey. Its projects include the Bhumi and Bhagvata Purana projects, and creating an advisory board for theDow Jones Dharma Index.

Chris Patten, the university chancellor, said: “This development in the field of Hindu studies at Oxford is very exciting. It is an important addition to Oxford's wealth of resources on India and Indian religious traditions.”

Recalling his 2011 visit, Bachchan said he was very surprised to see such a centre at Oxford: “I am overwhelmed that there are people in England that have taken it upon themselves academically to go into the subject and prepare students that will go back to their own countries and be able to educate others in the deeper meanings of this philosophy.”

The centre’s director is Shaunaka Rishi Das and the chairman of its board of directors is Navnit Dholakia, member of the House of Lords.Dholakia said: “The OCHS has a tremendous role to play in bringing the best of Hindu studies to Hindu communities, to the media, to government, to business – and, at the same time, ensuring that the members of all traditions and communities are included in the process.”

First Published: Jun 30, 2018 08:11 IST