This conversation with Ashis Nandy began on 18th December, 2012. Or maybe it began when I first laid my hands on the book named ‘At the Edge of Psychology’(Nandy, 1980) at the National Library in Kolkata and started reading it. I am still reading that book; reading the story of ‘The Cultural Psychology of Indian Politics’. Reading the marginal story about marginality within the purview of psychology. Reading the story of marginal praxis and the/an imagining of psychology: Girindrasekhar Basu is the sheet anchor of this tale. Reading the story of obliviation of (Indian) Psychology in the womb of colonialism, and its recovery. Originally, we wanted to carry forward the discussion with reference to the text ‘The savage Freud: The first non-western psychoanalyst and the politics of secret selves in colonial India’(Nandy, 1995). But more tremulous events shadowed our discussion. The exchange did not start with ‘Savage Freud’ Girindrasekhar Basu in focus. It started in the context of ‘Delhi’s Shame 16.12.2012’instead. Perhaps it was better this way. The way in which the praxis of psychology or psychoanalysis looks away from society-culture-politics in general is shaken to some extent at least.
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AD: I wished to start today’s discussion with the story of ‘Savage Freud’Girindrasekhar Basu, his work-word-thought, and the multitude of secret selves that were shaping up in the womb of colonialism. I formulated the questions in accordance. But the incident of Sunday night is haunting me, making me think . I wonder why the discussion can’t start from this incident, from this present time. You had once said that we need is a psycho-analysis of culture and not a psychological journal/inventory of culture. What will be the psychoanalysis of this culture, a culture of violence?
AN: Today, we won’t adopt the course of Girindrasekhar. We would rather opt for the psychoanalysis of this culture of violence. It is admirable that we don’t have a prelisted questionnaire to begin with, because even to me, everything isn’t clear from the onset. The ideas acquire shape as we talk and work our way out, work our way through. Gradually, a formulation evolves; it takes time. The joy of talking to you lies in the fact that you never come fully prepared; don’t come with a list of questions. I have seen that those who come from foreign countries come completely prepared. They want specific answers for each question. The answers are bound to be somewhat conventional because of that – very much like answering in an examination. This is perhaps because they have already thought about the subject; they consider themselves as having some expertise in the area.