About the Book
The historiography of nineteenth-century India
is beset by a problem which flows from an assumption that India is one history
area. It is within the grand narrative of Indian history that debates in
different regions and in various language discourses are viewed and
interpreted. This leaves a large gap in our understanding of particular
histories, especially the history of ideas. In Marathi writing, for instance,
the figure of Savarkar evokes responses from critics
as much as from admirers that are very different from those in English.
G.P. Deshpande's new
book shows us the riches we can hope to unearth if only we start listening to
the vernacular. He discusses the ideas of three influential and vastly different
thinkers in Marathi: the radical ideologue of shudratishudra emancipation, Jotirao
Phule; the Hindutva
ideologue V.D. Savarkar; and the ideologue of Vedanta
supremacy, Vinoba Bhave.
This unusual grouping itself helps us break out of conventional ways of looking
at intellectual history, but the author goes further. By analysing the writings
of these thinkers in conjunction with writings on them in Marathi, he
underlines that the reception of their ideas in that language is as important
as the ideas themselves. He thus points to a method of reading that will be
useful to those interested in the history of ideas in any Indian language.
In making a series of rigorous arguments in an
entertaining and polemical style, this book is an original and feisty addition
to the historiography of modern India.
About the Author
G.P. Deshpande taught
Chinese Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, for 35 years. Apart from academic writing on. China and international
politics, he ran a regular column in the Economic
and Political Weekly for about three decades. He is a prolific writer in
Marathi, having published ten plays, two volumes of social and literary
criticism, and one collection of poems. He has received the Maharashtra State
Government award for playwriting on three occasions, and is also a recipient of
the Sangeet Natak Akademi award. His publications in English include Talking the Political Culturally and Other
Essays (2009), Dialectics of
Defeat: Problems of Culture in Post Colonial India (2006) and Political Plays (1998). He is the
editor of The Selected Writings of Jotirao Phule (2002).
The Longest Century:
By Way of an Introduction
Philosophical Discourse in Modern Marathi
Analysis of Varna/Class in
Jotirao Phule and the Longest Century
Vedanta as Metaphysics of Liberation?
Vinoba Bhave on Dharma
Theorizing (or De-theorizing) Savarkar
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