Indian American professor Arindam Chakrabarti, the first holder of the Nirmal K. and Augustina Mattoo Chair in Classical Indic Humanities at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y., delivered his inaugural lecture Feb. 29 on “Pain, Poetry and the Practice of Philosophy” to an overflow audience, the university announced.
The lecture, sponsored by Stony Brook’s Center for India Studies and the Humanities Institute, introduced Chakrabarti to the university community.
Chakrabarti delivered a profound and fascinating analysis of the universal emotion of pain and its many dimensions, including why people feel empathy for others’ pain, integrating insights from Indian and Western philosophy, art, and literature, according to a press release.
The gathering included Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakraborty and Swami Sarvapriyananda, director of New York’s Vedanta Society, and more than 140 senior faculty, students, and community leaders.
Chakrabarti, a leading authority on Indian and Western philosophy, received advanced degrees from Kolkata and Oxford, and is the author and editor of many books in English, Bengali, and Sanskrit. He specializes in the philosophy of language and logic, metaphysics, philosophy of the mind, and Indian and comparative philosophy.
Chakrabarti, who joined the philosophy department of Stony Brook in 2018, was appointed following a worldwide search.
The Chair, created by a generous donation of $1.25 million by Nirmal K. and Augustina Mattoo, is the centerpiece of the Mattoo Center for India Studies’ endowment campaign. The center, established in 1997, recently raised $2.5 million from the Indian American community, which was matched by the Simons Foundation, for a total impact of $5 million, said Prof. S.N. Sridhar, director of the Mattoo Center for India Studies and Chair of the Search Committee.
The endowment funds a wide array of activities and programs, including courses on India, distinguished lectures, cultural and performing arts programs, a research library, publications, and outreach programs that serve schools, colleges, and community organizations, Sridhar added.