An Interview with Dr. Varun Tripathi, Assistant Professor, School of Philosophy & Culture
Dr. Varun Tripathi is a young Assistant Professor with the School of Philosophy & Culture in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. A PhD from Banaras Hindu University, Dr. Tripathi has specialized in Advaita Vedanta. Dr. Tripathi is also Associate Dean of Students and looks after the welfare of the student community. A very popular figure among the student community, Dr. Tripathi shares his ideas & thoughts with us.
Dr. Tripathi, many thanks for taking time out and speaking to us. Sir, tell us a little bit about your Academic and Research background?
Dr. Tripathi: I did my PhD in Indian Philosophy (Advaita Vedanta) from BHU under the Junior Research Fellowship of Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR). I further chose some classical treatises from the same field for my post-doctoral project under the General Fellowship of ICPR. I joined SMVDU in Sept. 2005 and currently working in the area of Indian Ethics.
Dr. Tripathi, Can you tell us a little bit about the field of Philosophy and its allied areas?
Dr. Tripathi: Philosophy is a holistic inquiry into the riddles of life and world. Its uniqueness or distinction from scientific inquiry is that it does take in its account the role of the ‘knower’ (subject) in the knowledge-enterprise, while sciences reduce everything to ‘object’. Thus, philosophy makes space for what is ‘human’ in the class of ‘knowable’ on the basis of which one can talk about a viable teleology. The allied areas of philosophy are Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Logic, Aesthetics etc. and moreover, on account of philosophical nature of issues and questions there can be philosophy of everything, egg. Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Science, etc.
Dr. Tripathi, how exactly is study of philosophy useful to the new generation of Engineers, Managers and Scientists? What are the Career options for students who pursue this filed as their major field?
Dr. Tripathi: Philosophy equips a person with variety of tools of analysis and ways of critical thinking, which are very much essential for any kind of pursuit of life. Going beyond that, it teaches how to be unbiased and ethical in our approach. One needs to know that leading an ethical life is very much congruous with whatever one is seeking in life. It is not the prosperity or material growth that we seek, but the peace of mind and freedom that we want to get through it. Study of philosophy or any discipline of humanities gives opportunity to get acquainted with social issues pertaining to it. Study of philosophy is also desirable in contemporary academia if we aim at producing ‘socially aware’ and ‘morally elevated’ community of Engineers, Managers and Scientists.
Sir, can you tell us a little bit about your involvement in the “Vikalp” program?
Dr. Tripathi: Way back in 2008, Prof. Romi Borges, a visiting faculty from JNU, first talked about starting such a programme on campus. In January 2009, we could materialize it with the help of Prof. Misra, Dr. Hari Narayanan and a good number of enthusiast SMVDU student volunteers. Vikalp is not only an activity which is run on campus with a view to enhancing educational and personal standards of the participant children but also a platform for inculcating in our own student a sense of responsibility. Any institution or organization highly rests upon the recourses of the society, so one must develop in oneself a vision for society and a sense of paying back to society or serve the society in some form or the other.
What are your impressions about the students here at SMVDU and what is your advice to them for achieving success in their career?
Dr. Tripathi: I really find a lot of talent in students’ community of SMVDU and my observation is based on my vast communication with students. I have worked with them in different capacities, i.e., as warden, I/C sports, cultural coordinator, associate dean of students, coordinator NSS and as member in various event organization committees. I find that SMVDU students can be trained for any kind of extra-curricular activity and they have sense of innovation too. What I can suggest is that they have to develop professionalism in delivering a given task and of course, time-management is essential. They must take advantage of the opportunity what is ready available. A strong communication between faculty and students always helps.
Sir, Many thanks for sparing your precious time to speak to us and for advising the students.