ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

S Irfan HabibSubscribe to S Irfan Habib

Modern Science and Islamic Essentialism

Early Muslim civilisation was open to critical thinking, reason and consequently accepted eclecticism that included scientific observation and theory. In contrast, the Islamic fundamentalists have rejected this eclecticism and have favoured a closed and inward looking world view that restricts itself to a literalist reading and understanding of the Quran. A trend has taken shape to "Islamicise" science, which sees modern science antithetical to Islam and has deteriorated into obscurantism. This has only resulted in the vandalisation of the core edifices of Islam, which exhort its believers to constantly seek knowledge.

Revisiting the 'Secular' Ideal

In Defence of Our Dreams, 12 CDs of Lectures and Documentary Films, produced by Gauhar Raza for ANHAD, New Delhi, 2004; S IRFAN HABIB The unprecedented defeat of the fascist forces in India led to euphoric celebrations all over the world. The muchhyped

Viability of Islamic Science

Science flowered in Islam during the liberal Muslim Abbasid and later Ottoman kings. This was possible because the Abbasids welcomed scientists and translators from other cultures who willingly became sincere participants in the project called Islamic civilisation. The 19th century interlocutors, a few of whom are discussed in this paper, were aware of the cross-civilisational character of science in Islamic civilisation and modern science for them was a culmination of the perpetually shifting centres of science in history. This plurality of vision and cross-cultural perspective is much in contrast to what is being propounded today in the name of Islamic science.

Technical Institutes in Colonial India-Kala Bhavan, Baroda (1890-1990)

Technical Institutes in Colonial India Kala Bhavan, Baroda (1890-1990) Dhruv Raina S Irfan Habib Technical institutes set up in the native states in colonial India did not offer engineering degrees as did the universities, but only turned out a generation of middle and lower rung technicians. With the Presidency towns serving as metropolises, the native states became the provinces, reflecting the hierarchisation of the distribution of knowledge as well as power THE three jewels in the imperial crown, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, had acquired universities by the 1870s.1 By 1887, Punjab and Allahabad had also acquired university status. The story of the native Indian states is, however, quite different. In their case the project of modernisation had to be undertaken not through imperial structures in alliance with local elites, but at the initiative of the native elites and ruling classes themselves. The process was in turn catalysed, among other factors, by the demand for an emerging class of literates and professionals. Thus it is of interest to investigate the founding of a technical institute in the native state of Baroda in 1890. This interest docs not merely rest in commemorating the centenary of the event as institutional history, but of identifying one more modality for the introduction of modern sciences in 19th century India.

Cultural Foundations of a Nineteenth Century-Mathematical Project

Mathematical Project Dhruv Raina S Irfan Habib We investigate here the context in which Ramchandra, a nineteenth century Indian mathematician, journalist, populariser and social commentator, worked on A Treatise on the Problems of Maxima and Minima. The work was original in that it sought to obtain the maxima and minima of a function from algebra and without using differential calculus. The project itself was nourished by the notion of algebra as a cultural metaphor, and it is on this count that it attracted the attention of the British algebraist Augustus de Morgan. The Treatise, when placed against the background of Ramchandra's stance vis-a-vis the colonial educational policy, clearly reveals the beginnings of a still nebulous anti-colonial politics, insofar as its professed objective is a mathematical revivification of an intrinisic but dormant algebraic predisposition of the Indian mind.
Back to Top