Professor Ganesh N Devy has been appointed to the second Obaid Siddiqi Chair at NCBS.

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The National Centre for Biological Sciences has named Professor Ganesh N. Devy to the second Obaid Siddiqi Chair in the History and Culture of Science at the Archives (NCBS). A literary expert, historian, and social and cultural activist, Professor Devy is credited with founding the People’s Linguistic Survey of India. He was given the Padma Shri award in 2014 for his research on nomadic tribes and extinct languages.

In addition to the PLSI, Professor Devy established the Adivasi Academy and Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, a group committed to promoting tribal art and literature, studying and preserving Indian languages, and elevating Adivasi communities through financial and educational support.

Book on the history of Indian civilization

The Chair will hold office beginning in October 2022 for a period of one year. Devy intends to finish a book about the prehistory and history of Indian civilization from a linguistic perspective that spans 12,000 years while serving as the chair professor. “This work represents an endeavour to authentically record the rich and diverse history of Indian languages from the perspective of a passionate believer in the ability of language to shape lives. He will consult sources in the fields of genetics, neuroscience, linguistics, eastern studies, etymology, and oral traditions, among others, to assemble this history, according to the NCBS statement.

The professor maintains that the field of historical research has not truly explored what the sciences, such as cognition, have to offer, and hopes that writing the book will allow unresolved histories to be seen from new perspectives. “I’m trying to bring all my life’s learning together into shaping this book,” said Devy, whose previous books have ranged from a history of literary criticism in India to a reinterpretation of the Mahabharata.

In addition to his work, Devy will also deliver several public lectures that question the meaning of doing science in India. He plans to initiate dialogues to philosophically strengthen the archives and improve institutional memory. Along with scientists from NCBS, “I look forward to interacting with a very large number of historians, philosophers, social scientists,” he added.

Along with scientists from NCBS, “I look forward to interacting with a very large number of historians, philosophers, social scientists,” he added.

Obaid Siddiqi Chair

To close gaps in the application, development, and philosophy of science and the humanities, the Obaid Siddiqi Chair was established. According to a formal statement from NCBS, the position is given to prominent scholars whose work has crossed these disciplines and improved their understanding of the history and culture of science.

The review group unanimously chose Professor Devy. “The Chair had a number of different and good applications, and I am grateful to the Review Committee for their time, energy, and discretion in once again selecting an exceptional and unanimous choice,” stated Professor Satyajit Mayor, the Centre Director of NCBS and Chair of the Review Committee. In particular, I am grateful to Mariam Ram and TNQ Technologies for making it possible for Prof. GN Devy to serve as the Obaid Siddiqi Chair this year.” “The development of our archives will benefit greatly from GN Devy.

More importantly, he contributes to the broadening of the role of science in shaping our knowledge of contemporary society in the subcontinent. He does this through the lens of languages that exist today either as a mere whisper or a resounding roar,” he added.

Mayank Tewari


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