This is the first book featuring Durganand Sinha's seminal contributions to psychology. It includes his key articles in the areas of indigenous psychology; self, family and social values; and human and socio-economic development. His life-long endeavour was to develop a psychology for India, and his publications opened up new areas of research. His book Psychology in a Third World Country: The Indian Experience (1986), a SAGE publication, played an important role in shaping contemporary psychological research in India. This volume will inspire researchers in various disciplines of social sciences to pursue research for psycho-socio-economic development of India.
About the Authors
Durganand Sinha (Born: 23 September 1922; Died: 23 March 1998) did his B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy (with specialization in Psychology) from Patna University. Subsequently, he went to Cambridge University where he was awarded the M.Sc. degree. On his return to India in 1949, Professor Sinha joined as the faculty of Psychology at Patna University. His research article 'Behavior in a catastrophic situation: A psychological study of reports and rumors' published in the British Journal of Psychology showed his scientific creativity and responsiveness to the problems of his immediate surroundings. He left Patna in 1958 and joined the newly established Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
Professor Sinha came to Allahabad University in 1961 as a professor to chair the newly created Department of Psychology. In the mid-1980s, he also served as the Director of the A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna. The present status of the Department of Psychology at Allahabad as a Centre of Advanced Study owes much to his vision and dedication. In a career spanning half a century Professor Sinha made significant contributions as a researcher in diverse areas. It encompassed the role of socio-cultural factors in perception and cognition; changes in the Indian family and the implications for the socialization process; larger applied social psychological issues such as motivation and rural development, deprivation and poverty; and social change. His books (listed in the section 'Complete Works of Durganand Sinha' in this volume) have left his name permanently in the field of psychology of social sciences. In India, he was a central figure of the psychological profession. He served as the President of the Indian Psychological Association, the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology and Psychology Section of the Indian Science Congress.
The psychology community in India is currently celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the formal beginnings of the discipline at Calcutta University in 1915. This special occasion prompted us to introspect and reflect on the territory charted so far, and planning and preparing for the journey ahead. While searching for an anchor in this exercise we thought it pertinent to share about a person and his work which embodies the spirit of scholarship in its fullest sense. The Indian mind often draws inspiration from great souls and considers them as role models to be emulated. So we decided to celebrate the centenary year by bringing out an anthology of select writings of Professor Durganand Sinha-a pioneer of psychology in modern India and a champion of the non-Western and indigenous perspectives. His work characterizes a paradigm shift in the field of psychology and illustrates a life of committed scholar. This introduction to the anthology tries to orient the readers to have a feel of the life and range of the works of Professor Sinha that are vast in scope and still remain unparalleled among Indian psychologists. Accordingly we have titled this volume as Psychology for India. The essays included in this volume document Professor Sinha's multifaceted engagement with the themes that importantly figure in psychological discourse and- illustrate his passion for the growth of psychology in India. While doing so we have tried to contextualize the contributions of Professor Sinha in the broader academic milieu within which he traded the path and carved out a niche for a new kind of psychology. Capturing and documenting the vast terrain of the works of Professor Sinha is a daunting task and the space limitations too constrain us to be exhaustive. Hence, the treatment here has been selective nevertheless it does allow a peep into the world of work of an academician par excellence and leading voice of twentieth century psychology.
The present selection of the published works of Professor Sinha aims at capturing the diverse domains of academic and research interests pursued over a period spanning over more than half of a century. Achieving a representative selection of his works proved difficult on many counts. First, the enormous amount of published works of Professor Sinha (a recent Google search yields over 700 citations of his work!) gave manifold choices and that made it difficult to select a few. Second, the changes that have taken place in the discipline as well as in the society during this period are reflected in his writings and one has to be careful in choosing some over the other. Finally, there are space constraints of the publication which required us to keep the number of pages limited. In our selection we chiefly relied on the criteria of relevance, and creative and generative power of the ideas in the papers.
Professor Sinha's writings were addressed to different audiences and occasions and at times he had to emphasize and reiterate the arguments in different ways. The range of Professor Sinha's concerns with respect to psychology and social science in general were numerous. Also, he was swimming against the current and had to convince many sectors about his conceptual, methodological and applied concerns. All this led to apparent diversity in his writings. However, a close scrutiny of his work makes it amply clear that it is charged by a deep-rooted concern and aspiration for a socially connected psychology ingrained in the meanings and practices of the Indian culture in all its variety, complexity and splendor. This was indeed an uphill task as the aura of Euro-American psychology was very strong. It had established the rules of the game for doing psychology and did not allow much reflexivity embedded in the culture. Instead, it directed to invest the academic resources to maintain a kind of status quo. Against this backdrop a lot of energy of Professor Sinha was directed towards shaking the frozen minds, advocating for changing the mindset, setting the agenda and convincing the colleagues from psychology and sister disciplines as well as policy makers, a case for psychology that goes beyond the individual psyche and is in constant dialogue with the dynamic social reality. To him, a psychology imprisoned in 'individual mind' divorced from the surrounding culture and ecology has no legitimacy.
The above concerns of Professor Sinha were the spirit behind the choice of articles comprising this selection. They have been broadly organized in the three sections, that is, rethinking the psychological paradigm, human development and applied concerns.
Colleagues from the Centre for Advanced Studies in Psychology at Allahabad University have helped in procuring relevant material for his volume. Professor Deepa Punetha, the current Head of Department, has enthusiastically supported the project. SAGE Publications has readily agreed to take up the project for publication to be released in the conference organized to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of modern psychology in India.
Professor Durganand Sinha was born on 23 September 1922 to Raja Bahadur Sri Kirtyanand Sinha and Rani Srimati Prabhawati Devi, from the erstwhile ruling family of the princely state of Banaili located in north-eastern region of the Bihar state. He received his early academic training in Bihar. He earned B.A. Honours in 1943 and M.A. degree in Philosophy with specialization in Psychology from Patna University in 1945.
The Patna Centre of Psychology
It is historically important to note that Patna was the seventh oldest university of India and had the credit of establishing the third Department of Psychology in the pre-independent India in 1946, after Calcutta and Mysore which were established in 1915 and 1924, respectively. The Psychology Department at Patna began along with the Institute of Psychological Research and Services headed by Sri H.P. Maiti. Vocational guidance and counselling services were provided by the department to students and to general public. Since Maiti was trained by Dr Girindra Shekhar Bose at Calcutta University, known as the father of psychoanalysis in India, orientation of the Institute was primarily psychoanalytic and clinical. In a short time, Patna emerged as a major centre for teaching and research in psychology and counselling services. Professor S.M. Mohsin was another important faculty in psychology at Patna. Patna has the distinction of training many distinguished psychologists, such as A.K.P. Sinha, Radhanath Rath, J.P. Das, Ravi N. Kanungo, Amar Kumar Singh and Janak Pandey, who have earned international recognition in their respective fields.
After completing M.A. from Patna, Professor Sinha proceeded to Cambridge University for higher studies where he earned M.Sc. degree in Psychology. He stayed there from 1945 to 1949 and got training with Sir F.C. Bartlett and R. Davis. On his return from Cambridge in 1949, he joined as a faculty in psychology at Patna University. From there he moved to the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, at the newly established Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kharagpur, West Bengal, in 1959 where industrial psychology was his main field of research and teaching.
Establishing Psychology Department at Allahabad
Professor Sinha joined Allahabad University as a Professor of Psychology in 1961 on invitation by the then Vice Chancellor Dr Sri Ranjan. The Department started with Professor Sinha as a single faculty in 1961. Later, C.H.K. Mishra, Prem Sankar, R.K. Mishra and R.C. Tripathi joined as faculty. The Department under the stewardship of Professor Sinha grew in later years with more faculty members, including E.S.K. Ghosh, R.K. Naidu, U.N. Agrawal, Meera Verma and Nisha Dhawan. All of them were from the first generation of students of Allahabad University. In course of time, the Department became a hub for scholars from other universities and institutes in India, as well as from the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1973, Professor Sinha accepted the National Fellowship of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and was on leave from the University for three years. However, as a National Fellow he remained affiliated to the Department. Unfortunately, during this period, while attending the Congress of International Union of Psychological Sciences at Helsinki, Finland, he got heart attack and had to be away from academics for some time. He had to undergo bypass surgery but was back to his academic pursuits after the recovery.
In recognition to the research contribution of Professor Sinha and his colleagues, the Department was elevated to the status of Department of Special Assistance (DSA) in 1977 by the UGC. This led to the faculty expansion and many new faculty members joined the Department. In 1977, Professor Sinha inducted Janak Pandey, Uday Jain, Girishwar Misra and Ajit Dalal, who were trained at other centres of learning. Namita Pandey, Rashmi Kumar, Deepa Punetha, Komila Thapa and Purnima Singh, all trained at Allahabad, also joined as faculty. Professor Sinha brought in research associates Anand Prakash, Shalini Bishta, Arvind Sinha and Yoganand Sinha (Raghoo), all of whom are well placed and doing excellent work at different institutions today. Professor Sinha had insight and understanding to pick up the right people and could bring in the Department strong faculty with diverse interests and expertise. He was the inspiration behind building a strong doctoral programme with course work. He got to the Department an independent unit of Social Psychology of Education with UGC funding and new faculty for 5 years. There were research projects, international collaborations and conferences which brought the Department to newer heights. Many faculty members from the Department went abroad with Fulbright, Commonwealth and other scholarships and many scholars came to teach courses and conduct research projects. A library with a large collection of books and journals was established and is one of the best in India. National-level seminars became regular features of the Department. In 1984, the Department was elevated by the UGC to the status of a Centre of Advanced Study (CAS) in psychology, only second one in the country after the first one in Utkal University at Bhubaneshwar. In 1989, he started a journal Psychology and Developing Societies in collaboration with SAGE India and contributed to it as its Editor during its formative years. This journal became an important outlet for the researchers from developing countries. Professor Sinha was also instrumental in the Department's participation in a 7-year-long major international collaboration in the area of disability studies funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) located at the Queen's University, Canada.
It was the concerted endeavour of Professor Sinha to establish a world-class institution of higher learning in psychology at Allahabad. He took personal interest in the growth of colleagues and tried to provide a conducive environment to the faculty members and researchers to grow in their chosen areas of interest. The range and quality of publications during Professor Sinha's tenure stand in testimony to his academic leadership. To young faculty, he was like a father-figure who would be critical, teasing, challenging and encouraging to get the best out of them. He would stand by them when need be and would nurture talent in whatever way he could. In faculty selection, it was not enough for him to look for academic record only; for him, right values and ability for team work were equally significant.
Professor Sinha stayed at Allahabad throughout his life, except for a few years towards his retirement when he had moved to Patna (1982-1987) as Director of the A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies run with the help of Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and Bihar Government. In his 5-year tenure as the Director, he concentrated on improving the academic environment there as well. He initiated many new activities at the Institute; directed socially relevant research projects and training programmes and edited the Journal of Social and Economic Studies also published by SAGE.
The contributions of Professor Sinha brought many honours to him. He served the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) as its President (1982-1984) and was made its Fellow, the highest honour given by the IACCP. He also served as a member of the Executive Board of the International Union of Psychological Sciences for 16 years (1980-1996). He was also associated with the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP). He served as the President of the Indian Psychological Association (1974), and edited its journal Indian Journal of Psychology (1976-1978), elected as President of Indian Academy of Applied Psychology (1975-1976) and was President of the Psychology Section of the Indian Science Congress Association in 1965. For a short period, he was the Nehru Chair Professor at the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), M.S. University, Baroda, and Visiting Fellow at the University of Delhi. He was a founding member of the National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) established in 1989 and served as its advisor. He was awarded its Fellowship. He chaired or was a member of various policy-making bodies of the Government of India. He was also an ICSSR Council Member and its National Fellow in the 1980s. In 1992, he was awarded Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru National Level Award by the Government of Madhya Pradesh for his contributions to the growth of social sciences in India. He used the award money to form a Trust to promote psychology in India which continues to support the researchers.
After retirement from formal service at Allahabad University, Professor Sinha lived at Allahabad and continued his research and writing work. He was very meticulous and hardworking and expected his colleagues to develop the habit of hard work and commitment. He was always eager to communicate his ideas and considered bringing knowledge in the public domain as a requirement of science and scholarship. He was regularly publishing in India and outside. In his illustrious career, he wrote extensively on a wide range of issues encompassing diverse aspects of academic and societal functioning and published in non- psychology journals too (e.g. Eastern Anthropologist, Indian Journal of Social Work; Social Change, Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, and Indian Journal of Labour Economics). He passed away on 22 March 1998 in Delhi. In 2012, his wife Mrs. Radha Devi also left this world. They are survived by two sons, Sri Premanand and Sri Ravi, both are settled in Delhi. Incidentally, their wives Ms Gita and Ms Mala are teaching psychology. Professor Sinha's seminal work continues to inspire psychologists in terms of ideas, methodological innovations, social concern and professional commitment.
The Academic Context of Professor Sinha's Works
During the 1950s, when Professor Sinha started his academic career, psychology was usually taught in the Indian universities as a part of philosophy courses. Most of the university departments used to have a mixed identity and were run under one Head who usually happened to be a philosophy faculty. During that transitional period, carving out a separate identity for psychology was a crucial disciplinary goal and posed an institutional challenge. Professor Sinha responded to this challenge constructively and created a strong teaching and research programme. He developed an active group of scholars and kept nurturing interest in exploring culturally and socially relevant problems of the time. His innovative spirit is visible in selecting new problems, evolving new methods and instruments and engaging with the broader concerns at the intersection of different social science disciplines.
Professor Sinha's passion for an interdisciplinary orientation was reflected in his effort to cross the conventional borders of psychology. His engagements with issues such as rural development, generation gap, social psychology of education, psychology of poverty and social disadvantage, and students' scholastic backwardness, to name a few, lend support to his versatility. As one of the senior professors, he enjoyed an unparalleled reputation' and respect in the academic and professional world of Indian social science, particularly in psychology. He contributed to the growth of the discipline by his active participation in national- level committees and professional bodies and voicing his deep concern for a relevant and culturally responsive social science.
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