- Topper and Gold Medalist of the University of Mumbai for M.A. (Philosophy)
- Won the Junior Research Fellowship of the University Grants Commission for pursuit of Ph.D.
- Awarded Ph.D. in Philosophy for doctoral dissertation in the area of Alankarasastra, an enquiry into literary beauty in the Sanskrit traditions. Her work was on the concept of Dhvani as expounded by Anandavardhana in the 9th century text Dhvanyaaloka.
- Continues to engage with academics, with interests in the nature of the artistic process and experience as well as in the History of Indian Music. Currently working on a project to theorize about Raga using concepts developed in the field of Sabdabodha or linguistic understanding/knowledge in Indian Philosophical traditions.
- Fulbright Scholar 2019-2020 for 8 months at Colorado University, Boulder, for research/teaching.
- Rāgabodha: A Śābdabodha-Based Framework for a Theory of Rāga
in her own words….
I aspired for the life of an academic and got my doctoral degree in Philosophy. Sanskrit has been a lifelong passion and my thirst for it was barely quenched by the Diploma that I acquired at the University of Mumbai. I won the Junior Research Fellowship of the University Grants Commission and was attached the Dept of Philosophy, University of Mumbai as its research fellow.
My thesis was a consideration of the concept of Dhvani (suggestion or resonance) as expounded by Anandavardhana, a 9th century Kashmir thinker, in his celebrated Dhvanyaaloka. Anandavardhana’s thesis is that literature is marked out from other linguistic discourse because of the centrality of the suggested meanings or resonance. And the resonating layers of meaning, especially of emotions, is what distinguishes great literature from mediocre. A poem that is focussed on the externals of poetic devices such as alliteration or simile etc. at the expense of emotive charge and resonance is a poor poem.
My guide, Prof. S.S. Antarkar gave me all the freedom I needed to develop my academic skills. I studied Sanskrit texts under a Madhva Pandit, Sri Vidyasimhacharya Mahuli. I came under the influence of Prof M.P. Rege, a towering intellectual of that time. I imbibed from him the need to return to the conceptual roots of Indian thought and intellectual traditions.
Later I lived on the beautiful campus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, where I taught in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department as Guest Faculty. The courses, which introduced students to Carnatic Music, and Hindustani Music were very successful and always oversubscribed. Students feedback and GPA put the courses at the top among all courses offered at IITM.
Offering a course on Appreciating Carnatic Music for NPTEL (National Project for Technology Enhanced Learning) was a great learning experience. Because I had offered this course at IITM, I was invited to put this together. It is a 25 hour online course with video lessons, and demonstrations. Beginning with the course content to presentational style to the way the course unfolded – I had the freedom to bring this out as I thought fit. The response was tremendous from students all over the globe and from various backgrounds. It has been rerun twice since 2015 when it was first offered and both these reruns too saw enthusiastic participation and warm feedback.
I was invited to give Guest Lectures at IIT Gandhi Nagar as part of the course on Indian Knowledge Systems. I gave two lectures about Music, Dance and Theatre. The course was conducted by Prof Michel Danino and had other senior experts in various fields contributing to it,
The pull of hard core research never left me and I have continued to pursue serious study of aspects of Philosophy and Aesthetics. I have made scholarly presentations on Aesthetics and music. I delivered the keynote address to a two day conference on “Liberation through the Arts”. My talk was about Music and Moksha. I also made presentations on the idea of “Anandaghana or Dense Bliss of the Aesthetic Experience” as set forth by Abhinavagupta, my favourite philosopher.
A larger project that I am currently engaged in is to offer a theory of Raga using concepts advanced in philosophical discussions of language in Sanskrit darsanas. I presented the kernel of the theory at a conference in Udupi in Jan 2019 titled “Ragabodha – A Sabdabodha-Based Framework for a Theory of Raga”
During the Covid days I delivered a talk on “Raga and Rasa: Beyond the obvious and the Problematic” via Zoom to an audience in India and North America. In this I argued that raga bhaava is a central aspect of the experience of raga that is simultaneously cognitive and emotive. The rasa theory, while inapplicable in toto to music, does offer insights that can be drawn upon to articulate the phenomenon of raga bhaava.