26 February 2009



IF YOU THOUGHT that Sanskrit and its canonical texts validate the Hindutva worldview, this book will make you think again. It shows how writers such as Tagore and Gandhi deployed the Indian literary and religious canon to argue broadly liberal positions, and how it is both possible and necessary to view the possibilities of political plenitude within texts misappropriated by the Hindu Right.

“A passionate plea, made with erudition and conviction, for taking new stock of the modern engagement with Sanskrit, not only in Hindi lyric, drama, and essay, but also in the new political readings of texts as safely ‘classical’ as the Bhagavadgita.” —Vasudha Dalmia, Professor of Hindi, University of California, Berkeley

“Three predictions come to mind upon reading The Modernity of Sanskrit. First, it will blow the current field of Sanskrit Studies apart. Second, it will wake up practitioners of various literary studies disciplines — particularly the one that is conventionally and comfortably called Comparative Literature — to the existence of literature written in the Sanskrit language and a genetically linked literature, that written in Hindi. Third, it will show just how salient, sensible, and stimulating scholarly discourse on South Asia can be.” —Clinton B. Seely, University of Chicago

“The Modernity of Sanskrit
is a brilliant and beautiful study of canonical works in the Sanskrit tradition. The prose is consistently engaging, moving, and convincing, and Sawhney’s close readings are a delight.”—Henry Schwartz, Georgetown University

ISBN 81-7824-253-2 / Hardback / 226pp / For sale in South Asia only / Rs 495 / April 09 / Copublished by the University of Minnesota Press


The Crisis of Secularism in India
edited by Anuradha Dingwaney Needham and Rajeswari Sunder Rajan

“Philosophical, historical, and contemporary at the same time, these essays add a new dimension to global discussions of liberalism and the politics of the religious Right.”—Dipesh Chakrabarty

Essays by Flavia Agnes, Upendra Baxi, Shyam Benegal, Akeel Bilgrami, Partha Chatterjee, V. Geetha, Sunil Khilnani, Nivedita Menon, Ashis Nandy, Gyanendra Pandey, Gyan Prakash, Arvind Rajagopal, Paula Richman, Sumit Sarkar, Dwaipayan Sen, Shabnum Tejani, Romila Thapar, Ravi S. Vasudevan, and Gauri Viswanathan.

Collectively, the essays consider the history of secularism in India; the relationship between secularism and democracy; and shortcomings in the categories “majority” and “minority.” They examine how debates about secularism play out in schools, the media, and in popular cinema. And they address two of the most politically charged sites of crisis: personal law and the right to practice and encourage religious conversion.

ISBN 81-7824-256-7 / paperback / Rs 450 / 410 pages / For sale in South Asia only / April 09 / Copublished by Duke University Press