Raghavan N. Iyer : biography
Raghavan Narasimhan Iyer was an Indian academic and philosopher. Born in Madras, India on 10 March 1930, Iyer was the son of Narasimhan Iyer and Lakshmi Iyer, and was educated at the University of Bombay, at Elphinstone College, where he met Nandini Nanak Mehta who would later become his wife. He attended Oxford University as the only Rhodes Scholar from India in 1950. He graduated with a First in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He attended Magdalen College (1950–1953) and Nuffield College (1953–54),, , . and went on to receive his doctorate from Oxford in 1962, while serving as a fellow of St Antony's College.
After stints teaching at the Universities of Oslo, Ghana and Chicago, he moved to California in 1964 to become a member of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, a think-tank run by Robert Hutchins that assembled many of the great minds of the time. As a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he received standing ovations in packed classrooms for his memorable, entertaining, and seemingly improvised, lectures. As a teacher, Iyer was an inspiration for many generations of students; accessible, kind, and eccentric, with a breadth of knowledge that was unique and engaging. Together with his wife, he was the founder of the local branch of the United Lodge of Theosophists. Iyer and his wife also founded the Institute of World Culture in 1976, where he served as President until 1986. He was the father of writer Pico Iyer.
His major books include The Glass Curtain, Parapolitics: Toward the City of Man, and The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi. He also put together two collections of Gandhi's own writings (The Moral and Political Writings of Mahatma Gandhi and The Essential Writings of Mahatma Gandhi).
Iyer died of complications resulting from pneumonia on 20 June 1995.
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