28 August 2018

Out in Paperback: History, Bhakti, and Public Memory


Namdev is a central figure in the cultural history of India, especially within the field of bhakti, a devotional practice that has created publics of memory around the figure of Namdev for over eight centuries. Born in the Marathi-speaking region of the Deccan in the late thirteenth century, Namdev is remembered as a simple, low-caste Hindu tailor whose innovative performances of devotional songs spread his fame widely.

In the modern period, Namdev appears throughout the public spheres of Marathi and Hindi and in India at large, where his identity fluctuates between regional associations and a quiet, pan-Indian, nationalist-secularist profile that champions the poor, oppressed, marginalized, and low caste. Christian Lee Novetzke considers the way social memory coheres around the figure of Namdev from the sixteenth century to the present, examining the practices that situate Namdev’s memory in multiple historical publics. He vividly illustrates how religious communities in India preserve their pasts and, in turn, create their own historical narratives.

“This erudite study is an important contribution to several important issues in contemporary social theory” Sumit Guha, Rutgers University

“Novetzke brings the cultural world of Namdev to life. He breaks new ground in the field of bhakti studies” Eleanor Zelliot, Carleton College

“Novetzke is a skilled and sensitive writer, and he has produced a challenging, erudite, and engaging book that will interest both historians and scholars of religion” William R. Pinch, Wesleyan University.

Christian Lee Novetzke is Professor at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies in the South Asia Program and Comparative Religion Program.

Read an interview with Christian Lee Novetske here

Paperback/ Rs 695/ BUY

08 August 2018

THE INVENTION OF PRIVATE LIFE: NEW IN PAPERBACK


By the Author of

The Imaginary Institution of India
The Trajectories of the Indian State
The Enchantment of Democracy and India


Sudipta Kaviraj has long been internationally recognized as a political analyst and thinker. In this book he shows that he is also one of the most acute writers on the interconnections of literature and politics. The essays here lie at the intersection of three disciplines: the study of literature, social theory, and intellectual history.

Kaviraj argues that serious reflections on modernity’s predicaments and bafflements lie in literature. Modernity introduced new literary forms—such as the novel and the autobiography—to Indian writers. These became reflections on the nature of modernity. Some of the questions central to modern European social theory also grew into significant themes within Indian literary reflection.

What was the nature of the self—did modernity alter this nature? What was the character of power under conditions of modern history? How is the power of the modern state felt by individuals? How does modern politics affect the personality of a sensitive individual? Is love possible between intensely self-conscious people? How do individuals cope with the transience of affections, the fragility of social ties? Kaviraj’s essays show modern Indian literature as reflections on modern times, particularly of their experiential interior.

SUDIPTA KAVIRAJ is professor of Indian politics and intellectual history at Columbia University. He has also taught for many years at SOAS, London University, and at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has been a fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford, and a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as at the University of Chicago.

Paperback/ Rs 695