By conferring titles such as Swami, Yogi, Mahatma, Maharshi, Gurudev or Baba, the Indian society has transformed several writers and thinkers of modern India into icons. It is t surprising therefore that a profusion of hagiographic and emotional writings exist on the rewned nineteenth-century philosopher Swami Vivekananda and hence the pressing need to look at him in the light of debates in academic writings in order to enrich the liberal academic space. Debating Vivekananda juxtaposes an array of contrasting views that examine the life, thoughts, and works of Vivekananda from various, and often opposing, vantage points. Was he 'the resounding voice of a new and confident India' or merely a 'whimper of the wounded pride of a subject people'? The various essays, in this volume critically examine the extent of his influence, the source of his thoughts, his relationship with Ramakrishna Paramhansa, and his views on women, science, and communalism. The book thus serves as a platform for a debate to unfold-a debate that is informed by logical arguments instead of the creation of personality myths. The different perspectives allow one to engage with and at the same time rigorously assess the ideas of a modern writer-thinker.
A. Raghuramaraju is Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Hyderabad. He has published widely in the areas of social and political philosophy and Indian philosophy. University Grants Commission recently appointed him as Principal Investigator for e-content development for Philosophy for its e-PG Pathshala.