Dr. Aniket Jaaware | Shiv Nadar University
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Dr. Aniket Jaaware

Aniket Jaaware was one of the foremost intellectuals in the country and a much loved teacher of English Literature.

His teaching interests were broad ranging. Former students in Pune University still discuss his legendary classes on Hamlet and Paradise Lost. At SNU, he moved effortlessly between courses on poetry, science fiction and fantasy literature. The novels of J. R. R. Tolkein remained a life long interest and he’d pasted what he claimed was a fragment of the Elvish script on his office door!

Aniket combined the qualities that made him a beloved and highly respected teacher throughout his life with the stamina, scholarly rigor and conceptual daring characteristic of researchers of the highest quality. His 2001 book Simplifications was a cutting edge enterprise that showed generations of Indian students and scholars how the great conceptual breakthroughs of Saussure, Foucault, Lacan and Derrida could transform and rejuvenate their thinking.

Moreover, Aniket shared with some of the best scholars to come out of India, a quality that is quite rare in the rest of the world. He was as familiar with the details and nuances of his native (Marathi) literary culture as with the scholarly and literary material that came out in the English language. Aniket’s magnum opus, at this level, is Practicing Caste (Fordham University Press and Orient Blackswan) that came out barely a fortnight before he passed away. Here he broke the mold of nativist appropriation that often surrounds studies of caste by bringing together Ambedkar, Phule and Bagul and Heidegger, Derrida and Foucault. The unprecedented cosmopolitan resonance of this work, together with the depth of its insights has brought it instant recognition.

Aniket had at least one other big book in him. The relationship between literature and technology had been a life long interest most of all because he understood both better than most people. He literally inhabited both worlds. Aniket must be one of the very few professors of English Literature who have actually worked in a software company. We can only regretfully speculate on the book that might have come out of that rare intelligence   capable of grasping the internal drivers of change in the digital world and, at the same time, navigating the complex internal domain of the literary.

Aniket’s contribution to the English Department at SNU, through the all too brief period he stayed with us, was immense. His stature in the academic community brought us both visibility and esteem and his democratic yet rigorous way of relating to students set the benchmark for the quality of teaching we have come to expect from all our faculty. He also had a warm and fearless sense of humor that was capable always of confronting pomposity and dissolving tension. This together with serenity and openness made him universally loved.

Shiv Nadar University was indeed lucky to have Aniket Jawaare so early in its life.