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Showing posts from October, 2009

THE ANTECEDENTS OF MEDHA PATKAR AND THE NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN

RAJENDRA VORA The World’s First Anti-Dam Movement The Mulshi Satyagraha 1920–1924 During the time of contemporary India’s most famous anti-dam movement, the Narmada Bachao Andolan, a professor of politics in Pune, Rajendra Vora, wrote a study in Marathi of that movement’s forgotten predecessor. Back in the 1920s, the peasants of Mulshi Peta, near Pune, had protested against the construction of a dam being built with government support by the industrial house of the Tatas. The struggle was led by Pandurang Mahadev ('Senapati') Bapat, a socialist and nationalist who had been educated in England. Like Medha Patkar of the Narmada Andolan, Bapat was a leader of much charisma and courage. Like her, he identified completely with the peasants who fought to save their ancestral lands from being submerged. In 1995, Rajendra Vora's book on the Mulshi Satyagraha won the prestigious G.H. Deshmukh award of the Pune Sahitya Parishad. Vora was then persuaded to write an English

THE TIMES OF HINDUSTANI: Bharatendu to Manto, via Premchand

SHOBNA NIJHAWAN, EDITOR Nationalism in the Vernacular Hindi, Urdu, and the Literature of Indian Freedom with Introductions by Vasudha Dalmia and Christopher Shackle This anthology comprises a selection of formative literary writings in Hindi and Urdu from the second half of the nineteenth century, leading up to Indian Independence and the creation of Pakistan. The texts here are mostly hitherto unpublished translations into English. The anthology provides a picture of how nationalism—as a cultural ideology and political movement—was formed in literature. Unlike other anthologies, this one focuses on writings in two North Indian vernaculars with a contested relationship: Hindi and Urdu. The combination is deliberate: the relationship of Hindi and Urdu was being consolidated and sealed even as these texts were being written. There are two separate Introductions to this anthology. Each grounds, respectively, the peculiar paths taken by Hindi and Urdu proponents and practi

Finally Arriving and Soon to be Seen: The Siberian Crane of Indian Political Analysis

SUDIPTA KAVIRAJ The Imaginary Institution of India Politics and Ideas Sudipta Kaviraj has long been recognized as among India’s most thoughtful and wide-ranging political thinkers and analysts, and one of the subtlest and most learned writers on Indian politics in recent times. Paradoxically, this has remained something of a state secret, because Kaviraj’s writings on these subjects have remained scattered in learned journals, many of which remain difficult to access. So the present volume fills a most important gap in the literature on politics and political thought in South Asia. Among Kaviraj’s many strengths is his quite exceptional ability to position Indian politics within the frameworks of political philosophy in the West alongside perspectives from Indian history and indigenous political thought. The writings collected here range over a wide terrain, including studies of the peculiar nature of Indian democracy; the specificities of the regimes of Jawaharlal Nehru a

ROLL OVER, TOLSTOY!

War and Peace in Modern India A Strategic History of the Nehru Yea r s Srinath Raghavan During his seventeen years as prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru led India through one of its most difficult and potentially explosive periods in international affairs. As the leader of a new state created amidst the bloodiest partition in history, saddled with new and outstanding problems, Nehru was confronted with a range of disputes which threatened to boil over. Srinath Raghavan draws on a rich vein of untapped documents to illuminate Nehru’s approach to war and his efforts for peace. Vividly recreating the intellectual and political milieu of the Indian foreign policy establishment, he explains the response of Nehru and his top advisors to the tensions with Junagadh, Hyderabad, Pakistan, and China. He gives individual attention to every conflict and shows how strategic decisions for each crisis came to be defined in the light of the preceding ones. The book follows Nehru as he wrestles with a

HINDI WRITING IN SHUDDH ENGLISH

Francesca Orsini Print and Pleasure Popular Literature and Entertaining Fictions in Colonial North India Print and Pleasure tells the story behind the boom in commercial publishing in nineteenth-century North India. How did the new technology of printing and the enterprise of Indian publishers make the book a familiar object and a necessary part of people’s leisure in a largely illiterate society? What genres became popular in print? Who read them and how were they read? Our perception of North Indian culture in this period has been dominated by the notion of a competition between Hindi and Urdu, and the growth of language nationalism. Print and Pleasure argues that many other forces were also at work which, in the pursuit of commercial interests, spread quite different and much more hybrid tastes. The importance of this major new book lies in showing, moreover, that book history can greatly enrich our understanding of literary and cultural history. Francesca Orsini mi