Hon’ble President of India has appointed Prof. Lokesh Chandra as the seventeenth President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations from 27th October, 2014 for a period of three years. Prof. Chandra succeeds Dr. Karan Singh who demitted office on 18th August, 2014.
Prof. Chandra also holds the position of Honorary Director of the International Academy of Indian Culture, a premier research institution for Asian cultures. In past, he has held several prestigious positions including Chairman of Indian Council for Historical Research, Vice President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) twice during 1974-80 and 1980-86.
Prof. Chandra was awarded ‘Padma Bhushan’, one of the most prestigious civilian honours, in 2006 by the Government of India in recognition to his contributions to the academic life and public discourse.
Prof. Chandra’s major life-work is the study of cultural interflow between India and the countries of the world. Beginning with India’s linguistic sharing with the Indo- European languages of the West he has written on arts, histories and literatures of the Buryatia in Siberia, Mongolia, Central Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, Cambodia and Indonesia. He believes in the shared plenitude of cultures of the world to enrich the secular and sublime dimensions of value-oriented life-patterns.
He has to his credit over 596 works and text editions. Among them are classics like Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary, Materials for a History of Tibetan Literature, Buddhist Iconography of Tibet, and his Dictionary of Buddhist Art in about 20 volumes. Prof. Lokesh Chandra has travelled widely all over Europe, Asia and Russia.
Born in 1927 at Ambala, Haryana, he hails from an illustrious family of educationists. His father Prof. Raghu Vira was a scholar and thinker of world fame who made signal contributions to the understanding of Asian culture and to India’s linguistic development.
Prof. Chandra earned Master’s Degree (M.A.) in 1947 from the Punjab University at Lahore. In 1950, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Literature and Philosophy by the State University of Utrecht (Netherlands) in recognition to his contributions of critically editing the Gavamayana portion of the Vedic work Jaiminiya Brahmana with the help of newly discovered manuscripts.
Prof. Chandra knows several languages including Hindi, Sanskrit, Pali, Avesta, Old Persian, Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Indonesian, Greek, Latin, German, French, and Russian.
His appointment is a valuable addition to the glorious lineage of Presidents of ICCR who have all been respected cultural ambassadors of India.
October 30, 2014
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