* The news service Russia & India Report of July 19 carries an extensive piece on “Madame Blavatsky in India: A forgotten legacy.” It notes:
It is interesting to see that most people in India associate the Theosophical Society as something of the past and only with freedom fighter Anne Besant, who was actually herself inspired by the Russian mystic. It is largely forgotten that that the Theosophical Society is still very much in existence and has numerous branches all over India. What is even more fascinating is that in a country where religion plays such a dominant role there still exists an organisation which believes that “there is no religion higher than truth.”
* The Hindu of July 20 looks at the life and legacy of the Irish critic and poet James Cousins (1873-1956). Cousins had been a member of the the Dublin Theosophical Society, read Mme. Blavatsky and moved to India in 1915 to work with Annie Bessant. He and his wife Margaret Cousins spent the rest of their lives extolling the virtues of the arts in India, education and women’s rights. The article, “An ‘Indo-Anglian’ legacy”, surmises:
|James H. Cousins, sketch by Mirra Alfassa|
forgotten figures today. This is both sad and puzzling: A literary critic and historian par excellence, Cousins introduced the term ‘Indo-Anglian’, perhaps for the first time, in the critical idiom of the subject in his book, New Ways in English Literature, 1917. Similarly, his contribution in the field of art history and art criticism are equally impressive, just as his understanding and appreciation of Indian mysticism and spirituality in the cross-cultural context, remains unparalleled.
Above all, Cousins would be known for the deep and abiding friendship he cherished across cultural, ideological and political barriers. The institutions that Cousins served and the founders of movements: Tagore, Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and Annie Besant, with whom he shared deep affinities, are today gone. But the legacy of liberal thinking beyond the East-West boundaries that James Cousins deeply believed in and promoted would serve the contemporary world well.