Introduction

A Profile: Imagination and Vision

Author
  • Brij Mohan (Louisiana State University)

How to Cite:

Mohan, B., (2024) “A Profile: Imagination and Vision”, Social Development Issues 46(2): 2. doi: https://doi.org/10.3998/sdi.5980

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Published on
17 May 2024

Shanti K. Khinduka personifies academic excellence. His contributions far exceed institutional leadership; he has skillfully enriched relevant organizations across the world. His manatees, students, and colleagues have built and developed programs in key leadership roles.

Dr. Khinduka began his career as an Assistant Professor at Lucknow University. It was my destined honor to fill the vacancy that his departure had created in the erstwhile Department of Sociology and Social Work. I found his shoes much larger than I ever imagined. An inspirational vacuum drove me to seek pathways in the exploration of dialogical teaching, critical thinking, and meaningful research. This brief prologue is a humble tribute to a pioneer scholar.

Social Development sprouted from Social Work’s initial initiatives to “help individuals to help themselves.” As a helping profession, Social Work continues to muddle through its identity, legitimacy, and mission. Social Development’s centrifugation expended with a call to change the world we live in. As a professional offshoot, Social Development evolved as a movement to radicalize the transformation of the so-called “developing nations”—aka the “Third World”—to move beyond the shackles of colonialism and imperialism.

The audacious passive–aggressive attitudes and policies of the “advanced nations” have confounded the contours of global development. Social Development needs academically sound and programmatically sensible tools and modalities to annihilate human misery, poverty, and inequality. To the best of my knowledge, the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, under the able leadership of Professor Khinduka, launched numerous initiatives—including the GWB Center for Social Development—that have nourished the professional foundation of Social Development as a discipline, a cherished window for the Practitioners of Hope, as I call.

Candice O’Conner (2008) published A History of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.1 A separate Chapter 5, An Inspiring Academic Leader is devoted to the major contributions of Dr. Khinduka (2008: 112–116). Aron Rosen observed about the learned Khinduka: “His personal and intellectual integrity, calmness and considered weighing of alternatives, and soft-spoken interpersonal style were among the qualities that endeared him to us, and which persist to this day.”2

The last article of this Special Issue has highlighted how Shanti Khinduka has chiefly been instrumental in developing and promoting Social Development, its ethos, and zeitgeist. The man who founded the Inter-University Consortium of International Social Development lived behind my apartment in Vivekanand Puri on Rocky Street in Lucknow, India. Professor Richard Parvis, Dr Khinduka’s colleague, put his heart and mind into organizing what we know as the International Consortium of Social Development (ICSD). I saw him in action amidst his colleagues, staff, alumni, and the higher administrators of Washington University.3 Khinduka Sahib, as we fondly address him at times, empowered and supported everyone who believed in rebuilding a world that is devoid of incivility and carnage. It is Sociological Imagination—neither the weight of a CV nor triumphalism—that would change the world. Faithful Angels of global peace and prosperity—social workers, social scientists, and citizens of the world—are reckoning hope for human survival with dignity on the cusp of a dreaded apocalypse.

Dr. Khinduka’s creative ingenuity uniquely oscillates between centrifugal and centripetal forces signifying the symbiosis of reason and hope. Social Development Issues take much pride in honoring the wonderful lives of both Dr. Shanti Khinduka and his adorable life partner Mrs. Manorama Khinduka.

Brij Mohan
Editor, SDI

Notes

  1. Cf. Candice O’Conner (2008) “What We Believe,” A History of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work: 1909–2007. St. Louise, MO. Washington University in St. Louise. The narrative that follows is mainly based on this History obtained with gratitude from the University. I am grateful to GWB’s courtesy and for their help in writing this Prologue in honor of the Distinguished Dean Emeritus Professor Shanti Khinduka, a friend and mentor.
  2. Ibid, p. 114.
  3. I was privileged to visit the GWB School of Social Work as a Site Visitor authorized by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) to affirm the School’s accreditation (Circa, 1993). Indeed, Dean Khinduka was at his best.