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Showing posts from 2010


Pumpkin Flower Fritters , a banquet of Bengali recipes, is available again in paperback after a brief interruption. It is distributed by Orient Blackswan and is published by Permanent Black. Another old favourite, A Sahib's Manual For the Mali is similarly available again. Have a look, get your copies now, in the best season for cooking and gardening.


Black Kite, an imprint of Permanent Black, will be publishing a few books every year in collaboration with Hachette India. A resissue of Ramachandra Guha's bestselling, thought-provoking HOW MUCH SHOULD A PERSON CONSUME is the first of them. More to come from Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Partha Chatterjee, (the late) Sheila Dhar, Nayanjot Lahiri, and others.


AMONG THE MOST HIGHLY ACCLAIMED WORKS IN MODERN INDIAN HISTORY, POLITICS, AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS “Srinath Raghavan has set the standard for future work” Kanti Bajpai, Seminar “In this important and readable book, Srinath Raghavan breaks new historical ground with a thorough and acute analysis of Nehru’s foreign policy” Sir Lawrence Freedman “A remarkable analysis, based on meticulous scholarship ... an important contribution to current debates in India and elsewhere” Sunil Khilnani “Will influence scholarly debates for years to come” Ramachandra Guha “Not only allows us to make a more informed assessment of our national security strategy under Nehru, but also provides a sound basis to reflect on the kind of framework that must guide India” C. Rajamohan, Indian Express “A brilliant historical account of India’s strategy and foreign policy in the initial years after independence” Pranay Sharma, Outlook “Thoroughly researched and extremely lucidly written ... a major c


FOUR NEW paperbacks -- THE CASTE QUESTION ; THE GRASSROOTS OF DEMOCRACY ; THE INDIAN ARMY AND THE MAKING OF PUNJAB ; BEHIND THE VEIL -- comprise a rich harvest for scholars, students, and readers of serious writings on aspects of India Publishing in Winter 2010

Classic Monograph on India's first great Dalit icon

ROSALIND O’HANLON Caste, Conflict, and Ideology Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Low Caste Protest in Nineteenth-Century Western India This is the first Indian reprint, with a new preface by the author, of a classic work which was first published in 1985. The nineteenth century saw the beginning of a violent and controversial movement of protest amongst western India’s low and untouchable castes, aimed at the effects of their lowly position within the Hindu caste hierarchy. The leaders of this movement were convinced that religious hierarchies had combined with the effects of British colonial rule to produce inequality and injustice in many fields, from religion to politics and education. This study concentrates on the first leader of this movement, Mahatma Jotirao Phule. It shows him as its first ideologist, working out a unique brand of radical humanism. It analyses his contribution to one of the most important and neglected social developments in western India in this period—

Triple Whammy on Politics, Ideas, and Indian Democracy

SUDIPTA KAVIRAJ The Enchantment of Democracy and India Politics and Ideas Sudipta Kaviraj has long been recognized as among India’s most thoughtful and wide-ranging political thinkers and analysts, one of the subtlest and most learned writers on Indian politics. Paradoxically, this has remained something of a state secret, because Kaviraj’s writings have remained scattered in journals difficult to access. The essays in this volume, the third in a linked trilogy, try to approach Indian democracy from different angles. It is wrong to believe, Kaviraj argues, that with the rise of modernity human societies suffer complete disenchantment: modernity creates new forms of enchantment, and democracy is, in fact, part of the political enchantment of modernity. Focusing on Indian democracy, Kaviraj shows the limits of marxist and liberal political analyses. In its Indian incarnation, he says, liberal democracy has had to inhabit an unfamiliar cultural and historical w


A Concise History of Modern Architecture in India paperback edition Jon Lang This is an invaluable book for those who want to understand the geography of their cities, as well as for students of Indian architecture. In lucid language that speaks to laymen and architects alike, Jon Lang provides a history of Indian architecture in the twentieth century. He analyses its tangled developments from the founding of the Indian Institute of Architects during the 1920s to the present diversity of architectural directions. He describes the often contradictory tugs of the international and the local as he reviews architects’ efforts to be up-to-date in their work. Lang examines the early influences on Indian architecture both of movements like the Bauhaus as well as prominent individuals like Habib Rehman, Jawaharlal Nehru, Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. He looks at monuments, museums, resettlement colonies, housing, offices and movie halls all over India in his wide-ranging sur


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INDIA'S NEW CAPITALISTS Caste, Business, and Industry in a Modern Nation by Harish Damodaran WINNER OF THE RAMNATH GOENKA NON-FICTION AWARD 2009 ‘Business in India has grown today to being no longer limited to a few castes or families ... Damodaran’s book makes a seminal contribution to understanding the link between diverse entrepreneurial capital and the development of societies ...’—NANDAN NILEKANI ‘Damodaran presents a richly insightful analysis of the deepening of India’s business class in recent decades.' RAMACHANDRA GUHA and SUNIL KHILNANI In tracing the modern-day evolution of business communities in India, this book is the first social history to document and understand India’s new entrepreneurial groups. Written accessibly, and combining analytic rigour with journalistic flair, it also contains fifteen individual case studies that embellish its general findings. 365 pp / Rs 395 / Pa

Of Sanskrit Kavyas and Punjabi Qisse

Two young scholars examine literary genres ... FARINA MIR & SHONALEEKA KAUL The Social Space of Language Vernacular Culture in British Colonial Punjab by Farina Mir & Imagining the Urban Sanskrit and the City in Early India by Shonaleeka Kaul When you think of India’s ancient cities, you think of khaki archaeologists digging crumbling structures out of ancient mud. Urban spheres, from this perspective, often look as dull as the dust from which they emerge. But the early Indian city wasn’t like that at all, says Shonaleeka Kaul; it was certainly not only brick-and-mortar, nor merely an agglomeration of built-up space. In Sanskrit literature these cities were alive, vibrant, teeming with variety. Kaul examines Sanskrit kāvyas over about a thousand years to see what India’s early historic cities were like as living, lived-in, entities. She looks at ideologies, attitudes, institutions, and practices in ancient urban areas, s


CONSERVATION AT THE CROSSROADS Science, Society, and the Future of India's Wildlife Ghazala Shahabuddin India faces an ecological crisis of crippling proportions. The overexploitation of the country’s forests and wetlands is eating away at vital ecological processes. Rapid and unplanned economic development threatens to fragment and devour what little wildlife habitat survives. Plant and animal species are joining the ranks of the critically endangered faster than ever before. India’s dominant conservation paradigm is one of control and exclusion, where animals and ecosystems are sought to be protected by guns, guards, fences. This book argues that environmental justice and improved governance have to be as much a part of the conservation agenda as sound ecological science and practice. It surveys alternative approaches to conservation which attempt to reconcile social equity with biodiversity goals. Using the Sariska Tiger Reserve as an anchor, the author analyses the

Paperbacking the Slave Dynasty

SUNIL KUMAR The Emergence of the Delhi Sultanate AD 1192–1286 The Sultans of Delhi came from relatively humble origins. They were slaves who rose to become generals in the armies of the Afghan ruler Muizz al-Dīn Ghūrī. Their transformation into rulers of a kingdom of great political influence in North India was a slow and discontinuous process that occurred through the thirteenth century. For the better part of that century, there were many centres of social and political power in the early Delhi Sultanate. There were military commanders with contending political ambitions, as well as urban elites with contrasting social constituencies, religious ideologies, and personal commitments. Such people did not always support authoritarian interventions seeking to create a monolithic state. So, for decades, the Sultanate seemed to disappear from political reckoning, and its resurrections were more in the nature of reincarnations. It made its periodic reappearances in bodily for


SUDIPTA KAVIRAJ The Trajectories of the Indian State Politics and Ideas Sudipta Kaviraj has long been recognized as among India’s most thoughtful and wide-ranging political thinkers and analysts, one of the subtlest and most learned writers on Indian politics. Ironically, this has remained something of a state secret because Kaviraj’s writings are scattered and not easy to access as a connected body. So the present volume—like its predecessor The Imaginary Institution of India —fills a vital gap in South Asian political thought. Among Kaviraj’s many strengths is his exceptional ability to position Indian politics within the frameworks of Western political philosophy alongside perspectives from indigenous political thought. In order to understand relations between the state and social groups, or between dominant and subaltern communities, Kaviraj says it is necessary to first historicize the study of Indian politics. Deploying the historical method, he looks at the precise cha


VASUDHA DALMIA's masterpiece, THE NATIONALIZATION OF HINDU TRADITIONS: BHARATENDU HARISCHANDRA AND NINETEENTH-CENTURY BANARAS, was unavailable for a very long time. It has now been reissued as a paperback, with a new Foreword by Francesca Orsini outlining why this is such a politically important and invaluable work of scholarship for anyone wishing to understand the Hindi universe of colonial and contemporary North India. Paperback / 530pp / Rs 495 / ISBN 81-7824-304-0 / September 2010

The Virtually Unknown Mahatma of Indian Academics

Dharmanand Kosambi The Essential Writings Edited, Translated, and with an Introduction by Meera Kosambi The life and writings of Dharmanand Kosambi (1876–1947), pioneering scholar of Pali and Buddhist Studies, comprise the substance of this book. Born in rural Goa, Dharmanand came under the spell of the Buddha’s teachings during his adolescence. As described in his long autobiographical memoir (included here), at an early age he set off on an incredible journey of austere self-training across the length and breadth of Britain’s Indian Empire, halting to educate himself at places connected with Buddhism. His sojourns included living in Sri Lanka to master Pali as a novitiate-scholar, in a Burmese cave as a bhikshu, and in some viharas of North India—begging for monastic sustenance—as well as in Nepal and Sikkim which he reached after arduous, sometimes barefoot, treks. Over these itinerant years Dharmanand acquired such mastery of the Buddhist canon that he was variousl

Burning Issues in a Long Out-of-Print Classic: New, Radically Revised, Substantially Enlarged Edition

D.R. NAGARAJ The Flaming Feet and Other Essays The Dalit Movement in India Edited and with an Introduction by Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi and with a Foreword by Ashis Nandy READ A REVIEW here and here Described by Ashis Nandy as the foremost non-Brahmin intellectual to emerge from India’s vast non-English speaking world, D.R. Nagaraj (1954–1998) was a profound political commentator and cultural critic. Nagaraj’s importance lies in consolidating and advancing some of the ideas of India’s leading Dalit thinker and icon, B.R. Ambedkar. Following Ambedkar, Nagaraj argues that the Dalit movement rejected the traditional Hindu world and thus dismissed untouchable pasts entirely; but, he says, rebels too require cultural memory. Their emotions of bewilderment, rage, and resentment can only be transcended via a politics of affirmation. This book gives us Nagaraj’s vision of caste in relation to Dalit p

Who's Afraid of Sir Ifor Evans?

A CONCISE HISTORY OF INDIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH edited by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra This is an updated, text-only version of AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF INDIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH. It is being published in paperback for the first time. CHOICE magazine of the USA chose the illustrated version as its OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC TITLE OF THE YEAR. This is what the critics said ‘A delightful journey through Indian writing in English from its beginnings in the early nineteenth century to the boom in fiction we’re witnessing now.’ Padmini Mongia, Biblio ‘This is the best kind of history . . . it deserves a place on the bookshelves of anyone who has an inquiring mind.’ Nilanjana S. Roy, The Hindu ‘. . . an amazing volume . . . A rigorous book, with a brilliant introduction, this compendium joins K.R. Srinivas Iyengar’s legendary Indian Writing in English .’ P . Venkateswaran, Choice ‘A useful and detailed guide to a varied body of writing.’ Siddhartha Deb, Times Literary Suppleme


Yigal Bronner Extreme Poetry The South Asian Movement of Simultaneous Narration Series: South Asia Across the Disciplines Beginning in the sixth century CE and continuing for more than a thousand years, an extraordinary poetic practice was the trademark of a major literary movement in South Asia. Authors invented a special language to depict both the apparent and hidden sides of disguised or dual characters, and then used it to narrate India’s major epics, the Ramāyāṇa and the Mahābhārata, simultaneously. Originally produced in Sanskrit, these dual narratives eventually worked their way into regional languages, especially Telugu and Tamil, and other artistic media, such as sculpture. Scholars have long dismissed simultaneous narration as a mere curiosity, if not a sign of cultural decline in medieval India. Yet Yigal Bronner’s Extreme Poetry effectively negates this position, proving that, far from being a meaningless pastime, this intricate, “bitextual” technique both transce


Anthropology in the East Founders of Indian Sociology and Anthropology edited by Patricia Uberoi, Nandini Sundar, and Satish Deshpande Anthropology and sociology have long histories in India. Yet, with the exception of fieldwork experience, there is neither much available on the institutional and material contexts of these disciplines, nor on the practices of pioneering anthropologists and sociologists. The present book fills an important gap. While the sociology of India is not purely a national phenomenon (scholars and centres studying India exist outside), and while Western theories have been important, this book shows that local influences and personalities played a major role in shaping the field. The volume spans a century of life and work, from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century, and focuses on scholars with varying research trajectories. However, it also shows the threads that bind these scholars: their common concern with nation-building, social refor


History in the Vernacular edited by RAZIUDDIN AQUIL and PARTHA CHATTERJEE Was there history writing in India before the British? Looking closely at vernacular contexts and traditions of historical production, this book questions the assumption that there was no history writing in India before colonialism. It suggests that careful readings reveal distinctly indigenous historical narratives. These narratives may be embedded within non-historical literary genres, such as poems, ballads, and works within the itihasa-purana tradition, but they are marked by discursive signs that allow them to be recognized as historical. Vernacular history traditions in Assam, Bengal, the North-East, Kerala, the Andhra-Tamil region, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh are examined here with fresh archival material and new insights, making this a valuable book for historians, sociologists, and South Asianists. RAZIUDDIN AQUIL is a reader in history at the University of Delhi. PARTHA CHATTERJEE's sever

Tochter aus Elysium? ...

HEINRICH VON STIETENCRON Ganga and Yamuna River Goddesses and their Symbolism in Indian Temples There are many books on the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, pictorial and celebratory. The present one is of a different kind. Professor von Stietencron investigates the temple sculptures of Ganga and Yamuna in order to unveil a whole cosmos of Hindu ritual and conceptual tradition. He shows how an entire worldview informs the planning and sculptural embellishment of such a temple—conceived of as the body of the deity enshrined in it. Consequently this book is a historical study of the sculptures of the goddesses Ganga and Yamuna adorning the doorways of Indian temples, most recognizable from the Gupta period onwards. It examines how these gracious and purifying riverine deities have been conceived in human form. It discusses in detail the rich store of puranic myths and legends woven around these deities, tracing their Vedic roots and showing their evolution since then. Translated from the

IN PRACTICE (Roll Over Aijaz Ahmad)

BARBARA D. METCALF, EDITOR Islam in South Asia in Practice This volume brings together the work of more than thirty scholars of Islam and Muslim societies in South Asia. It comprises a rich anthology of primary texts that contributes to a new appreciation of the lived religious and cultural experiences of the world's largest population of Muslims. The thirty-four selections—translated from Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Gujarati, Hindavi, Dakhani, and other languages—highlight a wide variety of genres, many rarely found in standard accounts of Islamic practice, from oral narratives to elite guidance manuals, from devotional songs to secular judicial decisions arbitrating Islamic law, and from political posters to a discussion among college women affiliated with an “Islamist” organization. Drawn from premodern texts, modern pamphlets, government and organizational archives, new media, and contemporary fieldwork, the selections reflect the rich diversity of Islamic be

Telengana? But What About Telugu?

LISA MITCHELL Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India The Making of a Mother Tongue Winner of the Edward Cameron Dimock, Jr., Prize in the Indian Humanities, American Institute of Indian Studies What makes someone willing to die, not for a nation, but for a language? In the 1950s and 1960s a wave of suicides in the name of language swept through South India. This book asks why such emotional attachments to language appeared. It answers by tracing shifts in local perceptions and experiences of language in general, and Telugu in particular, during the preceding century. Mitchell shows the emergence in India of language as the foundation for the reorganization of a wide range of forms of knowledge and practice. These included literary production, the writing of history, geographic imagination, grammatical and lexical categorizations, ideas about translation, and pedagogy. Newly organized around languages, these practices then enabled assertions of community and

Ravi Vasudevan Ends Long Hibernation with 'Spectacular' New Book

RAVI VASUDEVAN's the melodramatic public draws on melodrama as a key conceptual apparatus to understand how entertainment cinema in India drew audiences into complex passages of historical change. As the seeming consensus of the 1950s about nation-building unravelled in the 1970s, and globalization introduced new economic and territorial compulsions, Indian cinema offered compelling testimony to debates about economic advancement, social justice, inter-community conflict, and urban lifestyles. Melodrama provided a narrative architecture and an expressive form which connected the public and the private, as well as the personal and the political, in ways which engaged audiences emotionally. In continuous dialogue with cinematic ‘others’—within American cinema, in Indian popular cinema, and in a realist art cinema—mainstream melodrama also underwent significant mutations. This book explores the dynamics of form and narrative strategy across a wide repertoire of film practices.


Robin Jeffrey MEDIA AND MODERNITY Communications, Women, and the State in Indi a Two puzzles of modern India—one well known, the other overlooked—form the core of this book. For fifty years, the state of Kerala has been famed, first as a home of Communists, then as a perplexing ‘model of development’. But why Communists? And why development, especially in a place where the economy usually underperformed even lowly national averages? Part of an answer lies in the unusual place of women in Kerala and their changing role in the past 200 years. Another part lies in the other, often under-analyzed focus of this book: media and communication. Printing and publishing in Indian languages—and accompanying questions of literacy and language identity—present tantalizing puzzles. Since data were first collected in the 1950s, Kerala’s people have been India’s greatest newspaper consumers. Do literacy and newspapers mobilize people for political action or does politicization make peop

World Book Fair, New Delhi, 30 January to 7 February 2010


SUMIT SARKAR The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal 1903–1908 (New Edition) with a new preface by the author and critical essays by Neeladri Bhattacharya and Dipesh Chakrabarty ‘From the moment of its first printing about thirty-five years ago, The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal has always held a special place in the historiography of modern India. Very few monographs, if any, have ever rivalled the meticulous research and the thick description that characterized this book, or the lucidity of its exposition and the persuasive power of its overall argument … Sarkar’s research improved on existing historiography in a major way by bringing out many unknown or hitherto neglected aspects of the history of the Swadeshi movement: the complex divisions that marked its different trends, the labour movement and mass mobilization of the period that few knew about in our time, Swadeshi anticipation of many of the Gandhian techniques of protest … this book, which should have enjoyed a steady and buoya


PORTFOLIOS OF THE POOR HOW THE WORLD'S POOR LIVE ON $2 A DAY About forty percent of the world’s people live on incomes of two dollars a day or less. If you’ve never had to survive on an income so small, it is hard to imagine. How would you put food on the table, afford a home, and educate your children? How would you handle emergencies and old age? Portfolios of the Poor is the first book to explain systematically how the poor find solutions. The authors report on the yearlong “financial diaries” of villagers and slum dwellers in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa. The stories of these families are often surprising and inspiring. Most poor households do not live hand to mouth, spending what they earn in a desperate bid to keep afloat. Instead, they employ financial tools, many linked to informal networks and family ties. Their experiences reveal new methods to fight poverty and ways to envision the next generation of banks for the “bottom billion.” Indispensable for thos