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BW Businessworld

Interpretation Of Memories

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Psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar puts himself on the couch and takes a trip down memory lane to recapture the momentous phases of his life and set at rest any feeling of unrest and conflict that may have punctuated his upbringing. A Book of Memory (Penguin Books India) is more than a memoir. It neatly weaves together tales of those who lived through the historic, turbulent Partition days and sowed the seeds of endings and new beginnings in step with a nation that was discovering democracy. Kakar offers a great deal of insight into the societal arrangements, delicate communal environment and administrative set-ups. He revisits the ghosts of Partition through the tumultuous stories of his relatives.

Kakar dwells upon the intrinsic nature of his relationship with his mother as a child. The writer unabashedly admits the sexual (im)maturity of his boyhood years. He details his enchantment towards the ideas of Arthur Schopenhauer, Alfred Whitehead, Bertrand Russell, Sigmund Freud, etc.

Can the work be summarised as an expression and manifestation of self-love? Certainly, says Kakar, but not to the likes of French philosopher Rousseau's Confessions, which considers nothing too trivial or too puerile.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 20-06-2011)