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Sunday, April 13, 2014

History of Indian Psychology in Higher Education Timeline by Dolly Jose (Rework)

The History of Indian Psychology in Higher Education Timeline

By Dolly Jose

1.1 Introduction

The aim of this paper is to present the historical roots of Indian Educational Psychology through Timeline. History is subjective; for every piece of information there are countless bits of historical fact from different dimensions which are not completed here. The focus of this timeline is to present the facts which are more relevant to Higher education. The timeline includes main historical information from 1916 regarding the establishment of departments of psychology, universities, transition and developments, great personalities and their contributions, and the new beginnings in psychological field.  

1.2 Dawn of Psychology in India

Sinha (1990) describes Indian psychology, as a distinctive psychological tradition, rooted in Indian ethos and thought, including the variety of psychological practices that exist in the country. He adds that Indian models of psychology would have vast implications for health psychology, education, organizational management and human and social development. The roots of psychology in India can be traced back to religious and philosophical literature. However, from the time of British colonial era until last decade, the psychology has been dominated by the Western theories and concepts. In 1850s the British East India Company adopted a policy of finding only European style education within its territories in India. The aim of this policy was to produce a class of Indians with English thinking. To attain this goal, the college and university education was modelled after Cambridge and Oxford ( (Misra G. & Anand C. P, 2012). The applied education system has psychological influence and Indian intellectuals exposed to European thought and modern science. They followed the Western brands of psychology. When India began to be an independent country it has major expansion in Indian educational system too. Indian psychologists slowly started to recognise that they are led by European thoughts and theories. This enlightened insight was a search and wish for an indigenous psychology.  The historical development depicted by timeline in the next section.

1.3 Psychology in Higher Education -Time Line

1916 -The first psychology department and first psychology laboratory in India was established in 1916 under the leadership of Dr. N.N Sen Gupta (Dalal A. K & Misra A., 2010) at Calcutta University. He was a Hardward educated Indian psychologist, Philosopher and professor. He, along with Gunamudian Davi Boaz, is known as the founder of modern psychology in India.

 1922- In 1922 Dr. Girindra Shekar Bose, who succeeded Dr. N.N Sengupta at Calcutta University established the Indian Psychoanalytical Society, by his intimate contact and support of Sigmund Freud. It is affiliated to the international psychoanalytic Association (Jain, 2005) (Dalal, 2011). Girindra Shekar Bose has the appreciation as the first PhD scholar from Indian psychological field. He received his PhD from Calcutta on the ‘concept of repression’.

1923- In 1923, Sen Gupta as a leading proponent of the scientific nature of psychological research took effort to include psychology as distinct division of the Indian science congress. Thus psychology in India acquired the status of a science at an early age along with the discipline of science, which western psychology achieved after a long struggle (Dalal, 2011).

1924 – The second oldest Department of psychology established at the University of Mysore in 1924, headed by M. V Gopalaswamy.  The department was offering M.A Degree in psychology until 1998. From 1998 syllabus revision has took place and the degree offered as M.Sc in psychology (Dalal A. K & Misra A., 2010).

1925- The first Indian Psychological Association established by the constant effort of S.N Gupta (Jain, 2005).

1926- The Indian journal of psychology is founded and the first official founding editor was N.N Sen Gupta (Jain, 2005).

1929- In 1929, N.N Sen Gupta, along with Radhakamal Mukerjee published instruction to social psychology which named the first text covering the topic of social psychology published in India. In the same year when Sen Gupta appointed as the professor of Philosophy at the University of Lucknow, he introduced psychology into the philosophy curricula. It prepared the ground to establish Department of Experimental psychology at the University of Lucknow (Dalal, 2011).

1934- In 1934 Jadunath Sinha wrote a book on Indian theories of perception. It was a real effort for introducing Indian approach to psychology. At the beginning of modern psychology, when Western psychology emphasised sensation, and perception, Indian psychologists took out Indian theories to describe the phenomenon of perception.

1938-During the time of Silver jubilee session of the Indian Science Congress Jung, Meyers and Spearman were invited and it helped India to establish an applied psychology wing at Calcutta University. Through this development, Indian psychology assumed an applied stance from the outset (Robert B. Lawson, Jean E.G, Kristian M. B, 2008). (

1943- The Department of psychology emerged from the department of Philosophy in the University of Madras. The founder-head of the Department was DR. G. D Boaz.

1944- The establishment of "The Madras Psychology Society" took place in the year 1944. It was one of the major contribution in the field of academic and research by the Department of Psychology at university of Madras

1946- Psychology department instituted at Patna headed by H.P Maiti. The department provided opportunities for psychological research and services. Today Patna is famous for teaching, research and counselling services (Dalal, 2011).

1947- Girindra Shelter Bose published journal Samiksha. Patna guidance bureau inspired departments of psychology to establish similar bureaus or guidance in other states. Accordingly, UP psychological bureau is started for guidance and counselling by the headship of Sohan Lal. Psychological bureau at Bihar and the Parsi panchayat vocational guidance bureau at Bombay are some of these. They adapted intelligence and aptitude tests in Hindi and provided counselling services to the public (Dalal, 2011).

1949- Psychological research wing was established by India Government Defence Ministry with the aim of the inclusion of psychologists on research and selection boards ( (Jain, 2005).

1950- Department of psychology was established at University of Pune, named as experimental psychology. Prof. V. K Kothurkar who trained at Cambridge University was the founder and head of the department.  During 1980s the department renamed as department of psychology (

1950- Centring at UNESCO, the ministry of education procured the services of Gardner Murphy to develop a research project to find out the causes of communal violence. Many Indian psychologists team up on this project and published a book named, In the minds of men. This joined project gave lot of interest for research for the scholars (Dalal, 2011).

1950s-1960s. In 1956, UGC was constituted and the availability of UGC funds resulted in the establishment of 32 psychology departments in universities of all over India by the end of 1960s (Dalal, 2011). According to the prominence in research area, most of the departments developed a distinct identity. Some of the examples for this phenomenon are Rural and Social Psychology (Allahabad), Test Construction (Mysore), Industrial Psychology (Osmania), and Measurement and Guidance (Patna). An interesting point is that these distinctive identities correspond to interest of the headed department personalities of each place. As a result when the department heads transferred the interest too reduced (Dalal, 2011). During these years, applied psychology extended its application to industrial psychology, organisational management, developing training programmes and job - productivity oriented work activities.  

1957- ‘The Madras psychology society ‘published the first Journal of Psychological Researches Published.

1961- Department of psychology got late entry in the University of Allahabad which was the 4th oldest university in India, known as the ‘Oxford of the East’. Prof. Durganand Sinha was the first head of the department, one who trained at Cambridge University and Patna University (Adrian C.B & Johann L & William Van H., 2004).  (

1964- The department of psychology established at Delhi University as an independent department in 1964under the headship of Prof. H.C. Ganguli. However, the psychology at the master’s level was introduced in Delhi University in 1957 (

1964- ‘The Madras psychology society’ published the Indian Journal of Applied Psychology.

1955- With the collaborative support of Erikson and McClelland, advanced training programmes in clinical psychology were introduced at All India Institute of mental Health (Today known as NIMHANS) Bangalore (Jain, 2005) .

1953- As a parallel study to western psychology, Indian psychologist Jadunath Sinha wrote a book on Cognition (Dalal, 2011).

1959-The department of Applied psychology was established in the university of Mumbai. The four streams of study in applied psychology are clinical, counselling, industrial and social.

1960s to 1970s, larger number of Indian scholars went to Britain, Canada and the united states for doctoral and post doctoral training. They applied Western theories and methods to understand and solve Indian social issues.

1961- The national council of Educational research and training reviewed all the psychological tests that had been prepared up to 1961 (Dalal, 2011).

1967- Though the applied psychology has beginning from 1931, the department of psychology in Calcutta officially established applied psychology in 1967 by Prof. S. N Roy (

1968-The Indian association of clinical psychologists was started in 1968 (Jain, 2005). On 12 December 1968 an autonomous organisation (Indian Council of Social Science) was established to provide valuable help to scholars from all over country through fellowships and project grants.

1970 - In the 1970s, the increased interest for research caused to come up many well organised research centres. Some of the centres are ANS institute of social studies (Patna), the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (New Delhi), The National Institute of Community Development (Hyderabad), National Council of Educational Research and Training (New Delhi), National Institute of Educational Policy and Administration (New Delhi), National Institute of Public co-operation and Child Development (New Delhi), National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (New Delhi), Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), Academic Staff College (Bangalore) and Indian Statistical Institute (Calcutta). Together with this, the discovery of first statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) manual published by Norma H. Nie, Dale H. Bent, and C. Hadlai Hull’s made the research works in psychology an outstanding one.

1974- A directory made by compiling 503 psychological tests. The department of psychology started at Bangalore University ( and Bharathiar University (

1975- By the end of 1975, 51 of the 101 recognised universities were offered psychology.

1976- The department of psychology in Madras University developed the department by establishing criminology, applied psychology, organization psychology and counselling. The publication of journal of Indian psychology established (Dalal A. K & Misra A., 2010).

1970s-1980s- From the mid of 1970s up to 1980s, the discovery that sixty years of western psychology in India had not yielded any significant discoveries promoted a crisis in the discipline of psychology. The crisis took Indian psychologists to reflect back to the cultural roots and to seek out Indian identity in the field of psychology (Dalal, 2011).

1981- Jadunath Sinha wrote a book on Emotions and the will which contributed to the Indian psychology approach.

1995-Out of 219 recognised universities, 70 universities offered psychology (Jain, 2005)

1997- The first Asian conference Psychology was held in Singapore. It includes ten countries named Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Austria, New Zealand, Korea and Singapore and together formed the Asia Oceanic Psychological Association (Robert B. Lawson, Jean E.G, Kristian M. B, 2008).

1998- The inaugural meeting of the international society of clinical psychologists was held in San Francisco, United States (Robert B. Lawson, Jean E.G, Kristian M. B, 2008).

2005- The Asian Applied psychology international regional conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand. In the same year, Asian psychological association was also held in Jakarta, Indonesia (Robert B. Lawson, Jean E.G, Kristian M. B, 2008). 

2009- Indian School Psychology Association established in 2009 to promote school psychology in India and Abroad by the guidance and headship of Prof. B. Mukhopadhyay (


In India, psychology has European roots. However, in the 21st century, Indian psychology is capable to stand in its own foot with several universities, significant psychologists and outstanding organizations rooted in psychological interventions. Today, seventy universities in India have well-established psychology departments and institutes for both applied research and the provision of psychological services to the public (Robert B Lawson, Jean E. Graham, Kristin M. Baker, 2008). There is a remarkable shift from experimental work to the understanding of the psycho-cultural context using Indian traditional ideas in research, in building psychological theories, in developing psychological tests and in the application of psychology to all the disciplines of university studies and to the needs of nation.


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Dalal, A. K. (2011). A Journey Back to the Roots: Psychology in India. (C. M, G. Misra, & S. Verma, Eds.) Foundations of Indian Psychology.

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