23 July 2010

INDIA'S NEW CAPITALISTS wins R.D. GOENKA Non-Fiction Award


INDIA'S NEW CAPITALISTS
Caste, Business, and Industry in a Modern Nation

by Harish Damodaran


WINNER OF THE RAMNATH GOENKA NON-FICTION AWARD 2009

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2010/07/23/stories/2010072351302200.htm

‘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 / Paperback / ISBN 81-7824-258-3 / For sale in South Asia only / Copublished by Palgrave Macmillan, London / April 09

22 July 2010

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, showing the ways in which they often cohered into a worldview, a mentalité.

This is also a book about Sanskrit literature. Scholars have long argued for a nuanced use of literary texts to achieve a more rounded understanding of ancient history, and Kaul achieves exactly that. She takes forward the idea of a Sanskrit ‘literary culture’, arguing that genres influence methods of historical representation. Her book gives us a fresh view of the early city, showing distinctive urban ways of thought and behaviour which relate in complex ways to tradition, morality, and authority. In advocating Sanskrit kāvyas as an important historical source, it addresses not just ancient India specialists but also scholars of literary history: the kāvyas rework history, says Kaul, providing us with ‘transhistoricity’ rather than ‘ahistoricity’.

By asking new questions about early Indian cities and ancient Indian texts, this book asks to be read by every scholar of history, urbanism, cityscapes, literary history, Sanskrit writings, and South Asian antiquity.

SHONALEEKA KAUL teaches in the Department of History, University of Delhi. She was at Jawaharlal Nehru University for her PhD. As part of visiting faculty, she has also taught at Yale.

Hardback / 290pp / Rs 595 / ISBN 81-7824-278-8 / South Asia rights / August 2010

Copublished by Seagull New York



FARINA MIR
The Social Space of Language
Vernacular Culture in British Colonial Punjab
(South Asia Across the Disciplines Series)

This rich cultural history set in Punjab examines a little-studied body of popular literature to illustrate both the durability of a vernacular literary tradition and the limits of colonial dominance in British India.

Farina Mir asks how qisse, a vibrant genre of epics and romances, flourished in colonial Punjab despite British efforts to marginalize the Punjabi language. She explores topics including Punjabi linguistic practices, print and performance, and the symbolic content of qisse.

She finds that although the British denied Punjabi language and literature almost all forms of state patronage, the resilience of this popular genre came from its old but dynamic corpus of stories, their representations of place, and the moral sensibility that suffused them.

This multidisciplinary study reframes inquiry into cultural formations in late-colonial north India away from a focus on religious communal identities and nationalist politics and towards a widespread, ecumenical, and place-centred poetics of belonging in the region.

FARINA MIR is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

Hardback / 294PP / RS 695 / ISBN 81-7824-307-5 / South Asia rights / October 2010
Copublished by the University of California Press, Berkeley


“Mir's archival work covers and foregrounds the breadth of the story-telling or qissa tradition, great and little, high and low, Sufi, Sikh and Hindu, showing its wide dissemination. Mir’s findings are of immense significance, given the turbulent history of the region in post-independence India and the political turmoil today, particularly on the Pakistani side of the border. Punjabi seldom finds this kind of focus in cultural history.”—Vasudha Dalmia, University of California, Berkeley

“Farina Mir has given us an outstanding work of literary and cultural history. She skilfully unravels the many versions of the famous folk-tale about Heer and Ranjha to illuminate gender, class and community relations in Punjab. This book will compel historians to rethink the links between language, religion and power and to reconsider the contingencies of union and partition in late colonial India.”—Sugata Bose, Harvard

“Mir makes creative use of archival and folkloric material to tell the history of a composite, modern, and gendered Punjabi self in colonial India that was sadly lost in the welter of partition politics and violence. The story of the legendary lovers Heer and Ranjha haunts her narrative like an artistic lament about a lost Punjabi self without in any way compromising the academic quality of her research and the rigour of her exposition. A very significant contribution to South Asian history.”—Dipesh Chakrabarty, The University of Chicago

“This is a pioneering study. Mir draws upon largely unfamiliar material and suggests new approaches to religio-cultural questions of great importance to South Asianists across a wide disciplinary spectrum.”—Christopher Shackle, SOAS, University of London

19 July 2010

A PLACE FOR EVERYONE


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 historical, socio-political, and biological contexts of nature conservation in the country in an effort to identify the causes of India’s ecological crisis. She provides detailed data to demonstrate that a broad-based participatory approach to conservation is necessary if we are to see India’s extraordinary wildlife survive into the next century.

The product of years of travel and research in remote places, this book combines rigour, logic, and passion. It will alert every reader to the danger that the wildlife and ecosystems we hope to preserve may have been ravaged beyond repair by the time we accept the need for change in our conservation strategies.

GHAZALA SHAHABUDDIN is Associate Professor, School of Human Ecology, B.R. Ambedkar University, Delhi. After her PhD in conservation biology from Duke University in 1998, she has worked and published extensively on habitat fragmentation, sustainable forest management, the human impact on biodiversity, and conservation-induced displacement.

Hardback / 254 pp / Rs 595 / ISBN 81-7824-264-8 / World rights / 2010

14 July 2010

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 forms different from those of its precursors. Ultimately, the Delhi Sultanate survived not just because of the political and military acumen of its rulers and military agents, but because of the ideological investment of a variety of Muslim émigrés that saw the Delhi Sultanate as a sanctuary for Muslims during the period of Mongol holocaust.


In
The Emergence of the Delhi Sultanate, Sunil Kumar charts the history of the structures that sustained and challenged this regime, and of the underlying ideologies—eliding its sometimes ephemeral form—that gave meaning to the idea of the Delhi Sultanate.

SUNIL KUMAR is Professor, History Department, Delhi University. His publications include The Present in Delhi’s Pasts, and an edited volume, Demolishing Myths or Mosques and Temples? Readings on History and Temple Desecration in Medieval India. He is also the managing editor of the Indian Economic and Social History Review.

Paperback / 440pp / Rs 395 / ISBN 81-7824-306-7 / World rights / September 2010