Tympanising Philosophy: Luxating the Disciplinary Margins through a Derridean Reading of the Mahabharata
Purakayastha, Anindya Sekhar
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This paper argues for a coalition of ‘embattled adversaries’, namely philosophy and literature and it does that by referring to Derrida`s seminal work, Margins of Philosophy. To deepen our thesis about the alliance of philosophy and literature, we also allude to Indian philosophy and the great Indian philosophico-literary epic, the Mahabharata. Foundational Indian philosophic texts such as the Vedas and the Upanishads were articulated through poetic hymns which exude rich literary inflexions. This literary inscape of Indian philosophical texts testifies the close kinship or non-duality of philosophy and literature. The Mahabharata is both philosophy as literature as well as philosophy and literature simultaneously. We would establish this claim by foregrounding the philosophical theme of cosmography or cosmological time/ deep time/kala or what we call thick time as enunciated in the Mahabharata.. Derrida used the term ‘tympanum’ to signify the divisive borderlines that constitutes epistemic and disciplinary boundaries. Derrida called for de-tympanising all margins that distances philosophy from its alienated Other such as literature. Such acts of de-tympanisation or deconstruction are the ways by which Derrida sought to bridge philosophy with its ‘suppressed outside’. In fact Mahabharata is a classic example of Derridean non-site that blurs the boundaries between literature and philosophy.