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Showing posts from May, 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

EXTREME SCHOLARSHIP

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