On Suffering: A Dialogue with Rajendra Swaroop Bhatnagar

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This paper is a tribute to Rajendra Swaroop Bhatnagar (1933–2019). Bhatnagar Saab was a philosopher of the here and now, of the worldly, of the social, who did not hesitate to look into violence, poverty, pain, and suffering. He was an activist through his writings, and worked to establish social awareness. Metaphysics and the spiritual, considered by many as a central leitmotif of Indian philosophy, he saw as secondary or even marginal. The first part of the paper surveys and contextualizes Bhatnagar Saab’s work as a philosopher and translator of Plato into Hindi. The second part of the paper is a multilingual manifesto, which calls attention to philosophy in Hindi and other modern Indian languages and challenges the over-dominance of English. The third part of the paper is a jugalbandi, a philosophical duet. It includes one of Bhatnagar’s last essays, “No Suffering if Human Beings Were Not Sensitive” (2019), published here for the first time, interwoven with my “commentary,” in which I aim to amplify different points raised by him and to expand the boundaries of the discussion. The main theme to be addressed is suffering. What could be more relevant during the present Covid-19 days?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186–199
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of World Philosophies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Rajendra Swaroop
  • Bhatnagar; contemporary
  • Indian philosophy
  • philosophy in Hindi; violence
  • nonviolence
  • Mukund Lath


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