Sudhir Kakar is a psychoanalyst and writer who lives in Goa, India.
Kakar took his Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Gujarat University, his Master’s degree (Diplom-Kaufmann) in business economics from Mannheim in Germany and his doctorate in economics from Vienna before beginning his training in psychoanalysis at the Sigmund-Freud Institute in Frankfurt, Germany in 1971.
Between 1966 and 1971, Sudhir Kakar was a Lecturer in General Education at Harvard University, Research Fellow at Harvard Business School and Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
After returning to India in 1975 , Dr. Kakar set up a practice as a psychoanalyst in Delhi where he was also the Head of Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology. He has been 40th Anniversary Senior Fellow at the Centre for Study of World Religions at Harvard (2001-02), a visiting professor at the universities of Chicago (1989-93), McGill (1976-77), Melbourne (1981), Harvard (1983-84), Hawaii (1998) and Vienna (1974-75), INSEAD, France (1994-2013). He has been a Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute of Advanced Study), Berlin, Centre for Advanced Study of Humanities, University of Cologne and is Honorary Professor, GITAM University, Visakhapatnam.
A leading figure in the fields of cultural psychology and the psychology of religion, as well as a novelist, Dr. Kakar’s person and work have been profiled in The New York Times, Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Neue Zuricher Zeitung, Die Zeit and Le Nouvel Observateur, which listed him as one of the world's 25 major thinkers while the German weekly Die Zeit portrayed Sudhir Kakar as one of the 21 important thinkers for the 21st century. Dr. Kakar's many honors include the Kardiner Award of Columbia University, Boyer Prize for Psychological Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association, Germany ’s Goethe Medal, Rockefeller Residency, McArthur Fellowship Bhabha, Nehru and ICSSR National Fellowship, Merck-Tagore Award, and Distinguished Service Award of Indo-American Psychiatric Association. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the Board of Sigmund Freud Archives in the Library of Congress, Washington and the Academie Universelle des Culture, France. In February 2012, he was conferred the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the country's highest civilian order.
Sudhir Kakar’s twenty books of non-fiction and six of fiction, include The Inner World (now in its 16th printing since its first publication in 1978), Shamans, Mystics and Doctors , (with J.M. Ross ) Tales of Love, Sex and Danger,Intimate Relations, The Analyst and the Mystic, The Colors of Violence,Culture and Psyche, (with K.Kakar) The Indians: Portrait of a People, (with Wendy Doniger) a new translation of the Kamasutra for Oxford World Classics, Mad and Divine: Spirit and Psyche in the Modern World and Young Tagore: The makings of a genius. His latest books are the novel The Kipling File (Penguin, 2018) and, as co-editor, Imaginations of Death and Afterlife in India and Europe (Springer, 2018). His books have been translated into 22 languages.
In press are: Brotherhood is Now a Distant Aspiration, Essays on Gandhi and four volumes of Sudhir Kakar's collected essays The Mind in the World (Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, Religion, Biography), all to be published by Oxford University Press.
Sudhir Kakar is married to Katharina Poggendorf-Kakar, a writer and a scholar of comparative religions and a visual artist. He has two children and four grandchildren. His son Rahul works in financial services and his daughter Shveta is a lawyer, both in New York.