Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Towards Formation of Indian Federation of Psychology Associations: Let Us Wake Up for Our Causes

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Towards Formation of Indian Federation of Psychology Associations: Let Us Wake Up for Our Causes

Article excerpt

The History of psychological science in India

Psychological thought in India is as old as the ancient civilization of the undivided geographical area in the subcontinent of Asia. The psychological concepts are interwoven into different schools of philosophical thought of India, but are not dealt with as an independent discipline (Rao, 1958). Even though, there were efforts to develop an independent subject of 'Indian Psychology', similar to Indian philosophy, the question whether there could be a distinct 'Indianness' in the science of psychology (Rao, 2008; Rao, Paranjpe & Dalal, 2008) or it needs to be 'psychological thought in India' (Rao, 1962) is worth debating even now. It is paradoxical that most of the departments of psychology in the formative years were carved out of the philosophy departments, psychologists have missed out on the contributions of Indian philosophy in developing the psychological concepts that are relevant to the Caste and Religion wise, Culturally, Ethnically and Linguistically Diverse (CARCEALD) population of this part of the world.

Interestingly, during the three decades when the first experimental laboratory of psychology was established at Leipzeig in 1879, psychology as a scientific subject was introduced in India at the University of Calcutta in 1905 (Sinha, 1986). The subject was taught as part of the philosophy course and was introduced in the philosophy department. Later in 1916, the first independent department of psychology in India was established in the University of Calcutta, as a separate department from the parent department of philosophy. The second department of psychology and the first in south India was established at the University of Mysore in 1924 in the erstwhile state of Mysore. This was followed by the setting up of independent departments of psychology in the University of Madras (1943), University of Kerala (1957), Utkal University (1958), University of Bombay (1959), Allahabad University (1961) and the University of Delhi (1964). Interestingly, in the University of Calcutta the Department of Applied Psychology was also established in the year 1967 and it functions independently from the one that was started in 1916.

While psychological laboratory was established and psychology as a subject was introduced at the Department of Philosophy in the University of Lucknow, an independent department of psychology came into existence only in 1970. Unlike most of the other universities in India where psychology was carved out of the philosophy departments, in University of Kerala, a chair on philosophy was started in the department of psychology in 1979 and later an independent department of philosophy was established in 1985. Unfortunately, we do not have much information on the history of psychology in India in the pre independence era and immediate post independence period since most of the literature are scattered.

The role of professional associations in the growth of a profession is well known and steps were taken to form an association within a decade of starting professional training in India. The nurturance of the members of the association in turn strengthens the association as well as the profession. The fact that the government and the policy makers prefer to consult professional organizations rather than individuals in arriving at policy decisions and in planning of programs for the country, compel us to form a strong and powerful professional association.

This article aims at tracing the historical genesis of the professional psychological associations in India. While examining the path the psychology associations have traversed, the commonalities among them are evaluated as well. The need for formation of federation of psychology associations and the different models are proposed. The formation of an independent council of psychology through the parliament that would regulate the professional training, practice and research in psychology in India requires the united move of all the psychologists and counselors and the steps for achieving the same are also delineated. …

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