About Us

ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT

 It was in the year 1898 that the Central Hindu College was established in Varanasi by Dr. Annie Besant to whose sacred memory India owes an eternal debt of gratitude for her manifold and inestimable service in almost every sphere of life.

 

 The Department of Philosophy started functioning in the Central Hindu College soon after its establishment. Professor Ambika Charan Ukil was the first Professor of Philosophy & Logic. He joined the College in the year 1904 and left after a couple of years. Professor Phani Bhusan Adhikari succeeded him.

 

 The Hindu University Society which was established in 1911 took over the Central Hindu College on the 27th of November, 1914.After the establishment of the Banaras Hindu University (by the B.H.U. Act No. XVI of 1915 which came into force from 1/4/1916), a declaration was issued that on and with effect from 1st October 1917, the Central Hindu College shall be deemed to be a college maintained by the University, and thus the teaching function of the University started with effect from that date, viz., 1/10/1917 with the Central Hindu College as its first constituent College.

 

    The Central Hindu College was shifted from its building at Kamachha to the University campus on the completion of its new building in the year 1921. The Department of Philosophy started holding its classes in this new building from August 1921.

 

   Professor Phani Bhusan Adhikari continued as Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy. Professor A.C.Mukerjee was Assistant Professor. After some years he left to join the Allahabad University as the Head of its Department of Philosophy. Dr. S. K. Maitra joined the Department in the year 1924. Pandit Indra Deva Tewary worked as a part-time Assistant Professor in the Department till August 1929 when he was appointed Registrar of the University . Other members of the teaching staff till the year 1935 were Dr. B. L. Atreya who joined the Department in 1923 and Shri S.L. Dar who joined in 1929.

 

 

Professor P. B. Adhikari  retired in 1936 and he was succeeded by Dr. S. K. Maitra as Professor and Head of the Department. Dr. Maitra was also a scholar of vast erudition and he had made  important contribution to Philosophy , both Eastern and Western . His special field was the philosophy of Shri Aurobindo.

 

   Dr. T.R.V. Murti joined the Department as an Assistant Professor in July 1936. It may be noted here that in those days there were three designation for the teaching staff, namely, University Professor, Professor and Assistant Professor. It was only in the beginning of 1952 that these designations were changed as Professor , Reader and Lecturer respectively.

 

The Department of Philosophy had the distinction of producing the first D.Litt. of the Banaras Hindu University. Dr. B.L. Atreya was the first person to receive the Degree of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.) of the University. The subject of his thesis was Philosophy of Yaga-Vāśistha. The Degree was conferred upon him at the thirteenth annual Convocation held on the 23rd January, 1931.

 

Dr. S. Radhakrishnan assumed charge of the Vice-Chancellorship of the University in September 1939. He was already associated with the University as Honorary University Professor of Philosophy and as a member of the Senate in that capacity since the year 1927. In the year 1941, the Baroda durbar created a Chair of Indian Civilization and Culture for Dr. Radhakrishnan . Thus his guidance became available to the Department of Philosophy in its research work. There were three Fellowships attached to this Chair.

Dr.S.K.Maitra retired in the year 1947 and after his retirement he was appointed Honorary Professor of Philosophy, in which capacity he continued for a number of years. He left the University only a couple of years before his demise. Dr.B. L.Atreya succeeded Dr. S. K. Maitra as Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy in the year 1947. He was instrumental in starting the Graduate and Post-Graduate courses in Psychology, and Indian Philosophy and Religion. The Department had started a small experimental laboratory for Psychology in the year 1934 itself but it could not be developed properly. In 1948, Psychology was made an independent subject for M.A. examination and post-graduate courses in Psychology were started in the year 1949-50 with Experimental Psychology, Parapsychology and Industrial Psychology etc. as optional subjects. In 1951, a Diploma course in Clinical Psychology was also started.

 

In 1950 when a separate College of Indology was established, the Sayaji Rao Chair of Indian Civilization and Culture with its Fellowship were transferred from the Central Hindu College to the College of Indology. In 1952, when Dr. S. Radhakrishnans name was proposed for the Vice-Presidentship of India, he had to resign his post of Sayaji Rao Professor of Indian Civilization and Culture at the Banaras Hindu University which was an appointment for life for him. The University decided to appoint Dr. T. R. V. Murti to this Chair. Dr. Murti had gone on leave from B.H.U. to the University of Ceylon,in the year 1949 itself , on an invitation from them to organise and  establish a full-fledged Department of Philosophy there, oriented towards Indian Philosophy  and Buddhism. Dr. Murti accomplished this task and remained as the first Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ceylon, Colombo and Peradeniya during the period from 1949 to 1952. During this period he also deputized for Dr. Radhakrishnan as the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford during 1949-50. Dr. Murti returned to B.H.U. in December 1952 assumed duty as Sayaji Rao Professor of Indian Civilization and Culture in the College of Indology. Teaching of Indian Philosophy & Religion was being held under the aegis of the College of Indology from the year 1950 itself when this College was established but this subject was a part of the Department of Philosophy of which Dr. Atreya was the head. Dr. Haridas Bhattacharya who was appointed Honorary University Professor of Indian Philosophy & Religion in the College of Indology in the year 1950 was actually taking classes in the Department of Philosophy teaching M.A. students in Philosophy and Psychology. 

In 1956 Indian Philosophy & Religion was established as a separate Department and Dr. T.R.V.Murti was appointed as the Head of this Department. 

Another important event that needs mention here is the appointment of Shri S.L.Dar as Deputy Registrar (Academic) in October 1954 and as Registrar in February 1956. 

Dr. B.L.Atreya retired in 1957. In 1959, the University decided to appoint Dr. T.R.V.Murti as Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy and transferred him from the College of Indology to the Central Hindu College. Dr.Murti assumed charge of the Department of Philosophy in July 1959. Subsequently he was also appointed Principal of the Central Hindu College from 1-8-1960. 

In the year 1960, the University decided to establish a separate Department of Psychology and the Statute in this regard was approved by the Visitor in May 1960. And thus Psychology which was a part of the Department of Philosophy from the very beginning became a separate Department. 

In order to strengthen post-graduate teaching and research, the University Grants Commission put forward a proposal in 1962-1963 to develop a limited number of University departments for advanced training and research in certain selected fields. These were to be known as Centres of Advanced Study and were intended to be national institutions for the training of teachers and scholars from all parts of the country. These were also to serve as international forums for the interchange of thought and learning among Indian and foreign scholars. The Banaras Hindu University was selected by the University Grants Commission for the establishment of a Centre for Advanced Studies and Research in Philosophy. Necessary funds for Building, Library, publications and staff were sanctioned by the University Grants Commission for this purpose in 1963-64. The staff sanctioned for the Centre included a Professor, two Readers and about half a dozen research workers. Dr. T.R.V.Murti was appointed the first Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Philosophy in B.H.U. The Centre was formally inaugurated by Professor A.R.Wadia in December 1964. 

The Centre for Advanced Studies in Philosophy and the Department of Philosophy progressed well under the stewardship of Dr. T.R.V.Murti. The building grant sanctioned for the Centre enabled the Department to have a separate building for itself with sufficient number of Class Rooms,Seminar Hall , Library Hall., Reading Room , Rooms for teachers etc. Adequate Library facilities could also be made available to the students and research scholars. There are more than 30,000 books in the Library at present. 

Dr.T.R.V.Murti retired from the service of the University in July 1967. He was succeeded by Dr. N.K.Devaraja as Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy and also as the Director of the Centre, in November 1967. Dr. Devaraja had joined the University as Sayaji Rao Professor of Indian Civilization and Culture in July 1960 itself. He was also appointed Head of the Department of Indian Philosophy & Religion. After the transfer of Dr.Devaraja as Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, steps were taken to merge the Department of Indian Philosophy & Religion with the Department of Philosophy, and Indian Philosophy and Religion became part of the Department of Philosophy in 1970. However the Department of Philosophy continued to provide two separate M.A. courses in Philosophy and Indian Philosophy & Religion. Therefore it was thought fit to add the word Religion with the name of the Department. Approval of the Visitor in this connection was received in the year 1990 and the Department of Philosophy was renamed as the Department of Philosophy and Religion. 

The Department of Philosophy & Religion has been recognized as a national and international centre of scholarship in philosophy and religion. Because of its long tradition of leadership in the field of Indian Philosophy, it has been attracting scholars from different parts of the globe. 

The Banaras Hindu University played host to the Indian Philosophical Congress thrice: In 1926 (2nd session presided over by Dr. Ganganatha Jha), in 1947 (22nd session presided over by Dr. M.N. Sircar) and in 1967 (41st session presided over by Dr.Kalidas Bhattacharya). 

Consequent on the amendment of the B.H.U. Act in 1966 various Colleges in the University ( except the Womens College) were abolished and the Department of Philosophy started functioning administratively under the Faculty of Arts from 1968. The system of appointment of the Head of the Department by rotation was also introduced in 1972. The tenure of the Headship was fixed as two years. 

The Centre for Advanced Studies in Philosophy came to a close in the year 1974 but funds have been sanctioned by the University Grants Commission under the Special Assistance Programme in 1986 and has enabled the Department to carry on its activities satisfactorily. U.G.C. sanctioned ASIHSS Programme since 01.04.2004 to 31.03.2007.

The Department focuses on different schools of Indian Philosophy, Indian religion, Comparative religion and Comparative philosophy. Some of the important research projects in this Department have been undertaken in the fields of Advaita Vedānta, Buddhism, Śaivism, and other schools of Indian Philosophy. Scholars have also been working on Analytic Philosophy, Existentialism, Phenomenology, Philosophy of Language and Religion. One of the main objectives of the Department is to develop greater understanding among scholars in order to serve as an International Forum for philosophical discussion. It also aims at an intensive study and reinterpretation of classical Indian Philosophical Texts, so that a new impetus and direction can be given to philosophical thinking. It also aims at preparing authoritative source books, pertaining to schools of Indian Philosophy in order to provide a first hand knowledge. It also proposes to translate the original texts into Hindi and English.

ROLL OF HONOURS
HEADS OF DEPARTMENT

1.PROF. P. B. ADHIKARI                                         (1917-36)
2.PROF. S. K. MAITRA                                           (1936-1947)
3.PROF. B. L. ATREYA                                           (1947-1957)
4.PROF. T. R.V. MURTI                                          (1959-1967)
5.PROF. N. K. DEVARAJA                                    (1967-1971)
6.PROF. LALLANJI GOPAL                                   (1971-1973)
7.PROF. R. K. TRIPATHI                                        (1973-1975)
8.PROF. N. S. S. RAMAN                                      (1975-1977;1980-1982;1983-1984; 1987-1988)
9.PROF. R.S. MISHRA                                           (1977-79;1982-83)
10.PROF. (Mrs.) S. BASU                                      (1979-1980)
11.PROF. A. K. CHATTERJEE                             (1984-1985)
12.PROF. L. N. SHARMA                                       (1985-1987;1988-1990)
13.PROF. K. N. MISHRA                                        (1990-1992)
14.PROF. R. R. PANDEY                                      (1992-1995;1997-2000)
15.PROF. K. MISHRA                                             (1995-1997)
16.PROF. D. A. GANGADHAR                             (2000-2003)
17.PROF. U. C. DUBEY                                         (2003-2006)
18. Prof. A.K. Rai.                                                    (2006-2009)
19. Prof. Kamal Sheel                                             Dean-In-Charge 2009-10
20.Prof. D.N. Tiwari                                                 (2010-2013)
21. Prof. Shriprakash Pandey                               (2013 onward)


 

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