Nepali appointed professor at Oxford

Kathmandu, January 31

Professor Diwakar Acharya has been appointed the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics Department at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

This is one of the most prestigious positions in the field of South Asian Studies. He will be a member of the university and a fellow of All Souls College.

The Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics is the holder of an endowed chair at the University of Oxford, said a press statement issued here today.

The Spalding Chair of Eastern Religions and Ethics was established on a trial basis in 1936 with a grant from the Spalding Trust.

In 1937, the chair was renewed for a period of 15 years and in 1949 the trust gave the university a permanent endowment to fund the chair.

This renowned chair was first held by former Indian President S Radhakrishnan. Othere holders of the Spalding Chair were Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1936-1952), RC Zaehner (1952-1974), Bimal Krishna Matilal (1976-1991) and Alexis Sanderson (1992-2015).

The statement claims that Acharya is the first Nepali scholar to hold this chair at University of Oxford. Since 2006 Acharya has been working as an associate professor at the Graduate School of Letters at Kyoto University, Japan and since 2014 he has been serving as the chief editor of the Journal of Indian Philosophy.

In the past, he worked for Hamburg University and Nepal Sanskrit University.

During 2003 and 2004 he was the local director of the Nepal Research Centre in Kathmandu. A keen reader of various genres of Sanskrit, Pali, and Prakrit literature, Acharya has published three books and a number of papers in international journals and anthologies.

Acharya is Shashtri (Bachelors) from then Mahendra Sanskrit University, Acharya (Masters) from Sampurnananda Sanskrit University, India and PhD from Hamburg University, Germany.

His research concerns religious and philosophical traditions of South Asia. He studies ancient and medieval texts, inscriptions, and other historical documents relating to the cultural history of the Indian sub-continent.

He is also interested in the critical examination of rites, rituals, and customs of the Indian religions.

According to the Oxford Gazette, his appointment is effective from 1 April 2016.