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Indian Ambassador inaugurates the Chair for Philosophy and Intellectual History

Press Release No. 136/2010
22 June 2010
“Heinrich Zimmer Chair” at Ruperto Carola: The science historian Dhruv Raina holds his inaugural lecture

The renowned Indian science historian Prof. Dr. Dhruv Raina will hold his inaugural lecture on Monday, 28 June 2010, at Heidelberg University. Prof. Raina is the first holder of the newly endowed Chair for Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History, awarded by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and part of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” as well as the university’s South Asia Institute. The Indian Ambassador to Germany, Sudhir Vyas, will participate in the ceremonial opening of the “Heinrich Zimmer Chair”. Relatives of the eponym Heinrich Zimmer (1890 – 1943) are also expected to attend.

“The professorship strengthens the leading position of the Cluster and the South Asia Institute in academic relations between Germany and India. It is a great pleasure for us to have won Dhruv Raina, an outstanding representative of his field, for research and teaching”, says Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels, Co-Director of the Cluster of Excellence. Dhruv Raina received his Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Science from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden). He is Professor of History of Science and Education at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi (India). His research areas are the theory and history of science in India, especially the philosophical and sociological aspects.

Speakers at the opening of the “Heinrich Zimmer Chair for Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History” include the Indian Ambassador as well as the Rector of Heidelberg University, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel. Prof. Michaels and the Executive Director of the South Asia Institute, Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser, will introduce the topic of the lecture, entitled “The Impossible Dream of Needham´s Indian Apostle”, in which Prof. Raina will reveal how the history of science in India in the 1950s could have taken a different direction.

For the establishment of the Chair, Heidelberg University and the ICCR – the highest-ranking institution for the promotion of international cultural exchanges – signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” in November 2009. It is the first professorship of its kind and is being initially awarded for two years. Besides research and teaching at the Cluster and at the South Asia Institute, an intensive exchange with scholars from various institutions is planned, especially with the Department of Philosophy. The chair takes its name from Heinrich Zimmer, who was a Professor of Indian Philosophy in Heidelberg until 1938 when he was forced to leave the university by the National Socialists.

The event will take place in the Great Hall of the Old University starting at 1 p.m. German local time. It will be broadcasted via livestream to partner institutions in India and it can be accessed worldwide at

Notes to the editors:
Shortly before the event, the Ambassador and the Rector as well as Professors Michaels, Nüsser and Raina will be available for a photo and a short interview. For longer interviews please make an appointment in advance.

Dr. Alexander Haentzschel
Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”
Phone: +49 (6221) 54 4008

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