Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies – Annual Report 2019
When we started our OCHS journey twenty years ago, I was focused on the study of my own Hindu denomination. I thought it time for that tradition to engage in a critical assessment of itself. We should use the apparatus of scholarship to compare its perspectives with those of other world views, and provide a basis for discussion and dialogue in a more public and global context.
In the association of wonderful scholars, such as Prof. Keith Ward, Peggy Morgan, and Prof. Richard Gombrich, we realized that the field of my focus and its wider context – Hindu Studies per se – remained greatly unexplored. And so the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies was born.
After twenty years we now see young scholars, from many Hindu denominations, inspired by the same impulses that motivated our approach. They are opening up fields of study, based on objective research and critical scholarship, with the support of their communities. This is a historic development and is complemented by OCHS scholars who do not share a Hindu practice. Together, these reflections create a holistic and balanced discourse.
We now have a global community of scholars. They come together regardless of nationality, religion, race, or gender, to dig deeply into the rich and fertile soil of this field. Together, they uncover ideas, arts, practices, literature, film, history, society, and so much more, even jokes.
One sign of our success: recently a teenager visiting the OCHS from a UK Hindu faith school, declared with great certainty, that she would become a student in our Centre, then a lecturer in Hindu studies, and then help develop Hindu studies in Indian Universities. Twenty years ago, this pathway did not exist. Now it does.
Our patrons and friends support the infrastructure that supports this bright young student: a library, conferences (five this year), research projects (three new ones this year), publications, lectures and lecturers, tutors, a chaplaincy, online courses, and more. This support makes it possible for her potential to become a reality.
This annual report is a snapshot of what is possible from very humble beginnings. It enthuses me to see it all wrapped up in one place. I hope it will enthuse you too.
Enjoy this report and warm regards, Shaunaka Rishi Das
Download the pdf here: https://ochs-general.s3.amazonaws.com/Annual-Report-2019.pdf