Why Hindu perspective on communication?

– Nirmala Mani Adhikary

nma@ku.edu.np

Dept. of Languages and Mass Communication, Kathmandu University

I come from a family that has Hindu spiritual background. My father was a renowned scholar of Vedic Hindu philosophy, religion and culture. Such family background has obviously made me aware of and compassionate to the vast knowledge contained in Vedic Hindu texts. And, I do possess a strong sense of ‘cultural identity consciousness’. When I was writing Thesis/Dissertation for my M.A.M.C.J. degree in 2003 (Adhikary, 2003), it was this ‘cultural identity consciousness’ that persuaded me to conduct research on “Communication in Hindu Concept.”

 

By virtue of being the inheritor of culturally rich civilization rooted to the Veda and having a history of millennia, a communication tradition, rich and refined both in theory and practice, has been an inseparable part of Hindu society. In other words, we indigenously inherit the concept of communication and have been practicing it since time-immemorial. Various ancient Hindu texts consist of inquisition/exposition on communication. In fact, communication is indigenous for us – both as practice and concept. But, I found the course curriculum too much West-centric and completely devoid of Hindu insights. It was quite unsatisfactory for me to find the curriculum completely devoid of Hindu insights given that even my cursory reading of the Vedic Hindu texts made me aware of the fact that insights from Hindu philosophy/religion/culture/knowledge system(s) can give what Maxmuller (1951) terms “new light and new life” (p. 38) to the communication discipline. This is why I started the academic endeavor of studying communication from Hindu perspective.
I come from a family that has Hindu spiritual background. My father was a renowned scholar of Vedic Hindu philosophy, religion and culture. Such family background has obviously made me aware of and compassionate to the vast knowledge contained in Vedic Hindu texts. And, I do possess a strong sense of ‘cultural identity consciousness’. When I was writing Thesis/Dissertation for my M.A.M.C.J. degree in 2003 (Adhikary, 2003), it was this ‘cultural identity consciousness’ that persuaded me to conduct research on “Communication in Hindu Concept.”
I have been continuing to research from Hindu perspective because I consider the need to develop a broad and deep appraisal of indigenous (more specifically, “Vedic Hindu” in my case) intellectual history, philosophy, arts, literature, and religion, including other branches of knowledge if we really want not to ignore the fact that societies have understood and practiced communication in their own ways. By saying this, I am not emphasizing the difference over commonalities among societies; rather, I am acknowledging unique cultural foundations of communication in the societies. What Asante (2006) says is pertinent here:
I contend that it is necessary for radically new intellectuals to speak of centredness as a way people own or assume agency within their own contexts. Such an idea is fundamentally more about humanity than materialism, winning and domination. It is more about a culture’s own sense of centring, that is, not marginalising one’s own culture, but claiming it as a valuable part of humanity. (p. 153).
Communication discipline would certainly be enriched when communication process is studied in the light of different cultural and philosophical traditions. According to Dissanayake (1988),
at this stage in the development of the scholarly study of communication, it is indeed important for everybody concerned to seek to broaden the domain of inquiry by exploring the concepts of communication that have been formulated in non-Western societies as a means of promoting a greater degree of understanding of the nature of human interaction. (p. 2).
Here, I would like to quote Miike (2008) too:
One of the urgent tasks of Asian communication scholars at this critical juncture is to conduct Asiacentric studies of Asian communication. They are now prodded to engage in human communication scholarship whose concepts, models, and principles are derived from Asian cultures as resources for theory building. (pp. 57-58).
It is evident that studying communication from Hindu perspective is significant. In my case, though it was started due to my ‘cultural identity consciousness’ I have been continuing such research due to profound reasons beyond my personal milieu.

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