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TAPSA: What is Bhāva?: The Textures of Thought & Praxis in South Asia

April 13, 2023; 5pm

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Dhruv Nager, PhD Student Divinity School  

Part intellectual history, part philosophical archaeology, this paper interrogates the polysemic and transdisciplinary domain of the concept and practice of bhāva in Indian intellectual history, focusing on three key domains: theatre, grammar, philosophy. As a liminal category, bhāva provides an appropriate frame to interrogate and articulate some of the textures and relationships of thought and praxis in South Asia. Drawing upon its multiple meanings in and beyond Sanskrit (including sense, intention, feeling, being, becoming, habit, effect, affect, power), I ask whether a cohesive account of bhāva can be recovered from the material at hand. Apart from primary sources, I engage with the work of Vinay Dharwadkar, Edwin Gerow, David Shulman and actor Neeraj Kabi.