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Leading psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar gets Merck-Tagore Award


Kolkata: Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that it has presented Sudhir Kakar with the third Merck-Tagore Award in Kolkata during a ceremony devised by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata.
The psychoanalyst and writer is being recognized for his contribution to intercultural exchange between India and Germany.

In numerous landmark works, Kakar has analysed the society of the subcontinent from a psychoanalytical perspective, thereby reflecting upon the spiritual soul of India.

The selection of the prize-winner is made by a jury consisting of members representing the Goethe- Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan in India, the German Federal Foreign Office and Merck Limited [India].

Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and the Family Board of E. Merck KG, Anand Nambiar, Managing Director, Merck India, Friso Maecker, Director Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata, Mr. Olaf Iversen, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kolkata and Dr. Martin Kampchen presented the award to Dr Kakar.

Accepting the award Dr Sudhir Kakar said, “I am deeply conscious of the honour of being selected for the 3rd Merck Tagore Award. I also cherish the fact that the award is associated with the name of one of my literary hero, Rabindranath Tagore”.

In his address Anand Nambiar said, “With this award Merck celebrates the harmony that symbolises the understanding of diverse cultures. Original thinkers such as Dr Kakar can inspire generations in different countries to imbibe the best of different worlds. Our literary award honours his eminent work and world vision”

Born in 1938, Sudhir Kakar is well-known both in India and in Germany and has shaped the cultural discourses in both countries. His books on the psychology of Indian society, especially on sexuality, violence and religion in India, are path- breaking.

Apart from scholarly works written for the general reader, Kakar has written novels on Vatsyayan, the author of the Kamasutra (The Ascetic of Desire), on Ramakrishna (Ecstasy) and Mira Behn, the companion of M.K.Gandhi, (Mira and the Mahatma) as well as on other historical personalities. Kakar has, for the first time, analysed Indian society from the viewpoint of a psychologist and psycho- analyst on a broad scale.

Recently he has written his autobiography (A Book of Memory, 2011). Almost all of his books have been translated into German and published by mainstream publishers.

Sudhir Kakar’s name is also linked to Rabindranath Tagore with the book Young Tagore. The Making of a Genius (Penguin 2013).

Sudhir Kakar has studied, among other places, in Mannheim and in Frankfurt at the Sigmund-Freud-Institut and was the student of Erik Erikson at Harvard University/USA. Kakar speaks German and gives lectures in German in Germany and Austria. Kakar is the best-known psycho-analyst in India who practiced for several decades in New-Delhi. Today he lives in Goa with his German wife, Katharina, a writer and artist.

Merck launched the Merck-Tagore Award together with Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan in India during the Germany in India year 2011 to mark the 150th birthday of Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941), the great Indian poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Merck has a close historical link to Rabindranath Tagore.

Elisabeth Wolff-Merck, a member of the Merck family, translated “Chitra”, a theatre piece by Tagore, from English into German. Her husband, Kurt Wolff, published Tagore’s works in Germany, helping the poet to achieve great fame.

Merck sees the promotion of literature as part of its social responsibility. In addition to health and the environment, culture is a strategic sphere of activity of the company’s sustainability efforts.

The Merck-Tagore Award is one of five literature prizes that Merck currently awards or promotes worldwide. Building bridges between cultures is also at the forefront of the literature awards in Japan (Merck Kakehashi Prize) and Russia.

In Germany, Merck sponsors the Johann Heinrich Merck Award for Literary Critique and Essay. With the Premio Letterario, Merck recognizes authors in Italy who build bridges between literature and science with their works.

The Merck-Tagore Award is represented by Merck India and the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata. (ANI)

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