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Showing posts from 2007


WOMEN AND SOCIAL REFORM IN MODERN INDIA: A READER edited by SUMIT SARKAR and TANIKA SARKAR The subject of social reforms has routinely formed a part of Indian history texts. The word ‘reforms’ conjures up the names of a few great individuals: always Hindu, always upper-caste and educated, always from cities, and always--apart from one or two memorable exceptions--men. These are the icons around whom the story of social change is written. The editors of the present work argue the need to understand the history of social reforms from a much wider array of perspectives: for example, the connections between specific social abuses on the one hand, and, on the other, systems or traditions of gender practices across times, classes, castes, and regions. For instance, when we look at widow immolation or widow remarriage practices, we need to look also at the larger domain of gender relations which sanctified immolation or which outlawed widow remarriage. What arguments were used? What aspects o


Permanent Black began life in an informal partnership with Ravi Dayal Publisher. We copublished many books together and loved our editorial and accounting meetings in odd places-- gardens, the hills, living rooms--which never felt like work. Ravi Dayal died in June 2006. This article celebrates him and his publishing. If you click on each image, it will enlarge enough for you to read the essay.


ISLAM AND HEALING : Loss and Recovery of an Indo-Muslim Medical Tradition 1600– 1900 SEEMA ALAVI Indo-Muslim medicine—or the Unani tradition—developed in South Asia alongside Mughal political culture. While it healed the body, it also had a profound bearing on the social fabric of the region. Seema Alavi’s book shows the nature and extent of this Islamic healing tradition’s interaction with Indian society and politics from roughly 1600 to 1900. Drawing on Persian texts for the pre-colonial phase, Alavi moves beyond the standard colonial archive to deploy unused Urdu texts, pamphlets, local newspapers, and private family records. Alavi shows precisely how, in the period of high colonialism, established practitioners kept their tradition alive. Their struggles to preserve and recast the Mughal legacy, control knowledge, and consolidate doctrinaire languages of power when confronting print culture and Western education are compellingly documented and analysed. In the present context, whe


THE UGLINESS OF THE INDIAN MALE AND OTHER PROPOSITIONS by Mukul Kesavan ‘Some years ago I was struck by the contrast between the beauty of Hindi film heroines and the ugliness of Hindi film heroes. After researching the matter I concluded that the explanation was straightforward: leading men in Hindi films were ugly because they were Indian men and Indian men were measurably uglier than Indian women ... While my observation was accurate and the data I had gathered reliable, I made the mistake of attributing the ugliness of the Indian male to nature. I know now that Indian men aren’t born ugly: they achieve ugliness through practice. It is their habits and routines that make them ugly. If I was to be schematic, I’d argue that Indian men are ugly on account of the three Hs: hygiene, hair, and horrible habits ... Why are Indian men like this? How do they achieve the bullet-proof unselfconsciousness that allows them to be so abandonedly ugly? I think it comes from a sense of entitlement th


Leading conservationist and wildlife biologist Dr K. Ullas Karanth has won the prestigious J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership. Dr Karanth has been awarded the prize for his pioneering and outstanding leadership in conservation science through a long and distinguished career. This prize has earlier gone to--among others--Salim Ali and Jane Goodall. Permanent Black has reason to celebrate too. A couple of years ago,we published Dr Karanth's A VIEW FROM THE MACHAN : HOW SCIENCE CAN SAVE THE FRAGILE PREDATOR. It is a fascinating set of essays on saving the tiger, on how Dr Karanth was himself saved from a career in engineering, and on wildlife people like Kenneth Anderson, whom Dr Karanth knew. He did in the book what few scientists can do: he made science comprehensible to lay people. The book was reviewed favourably all over the world and is now available in paperback. Dr Karanth is also one of two series editors for our Nature, Culture, Conservation series in which many


LEELA PRASAD's ETHICS IN EVERYDAY HINDU LIFE : Narrative and Tradition in a South Indian Town has been awarded the American Academy of Religion's 2007 prize for the "Best First Book in the History of Religions." In this book she draws on a decade of ethnography in Sringeri, the pilgrimage town in South India, to explore relationships between oral narrative, ethical discourse, and the poetics of everyday language. Leela Prasad is Associate Professor of Ethics and Indian Religions at Duke University, and is currently writing her second monograph, titled ANNOTATING PASTIMES: Cultures of Narration in Colonial India. Hardback / 290 pp / ISBN 81-7824-192-7 / Rs 595 / Copublished with Columbia University Press.


AN EMPIRE OF BOOKS : The Naval Kishore Press and the Diffusion of the Printed Word in Colonial India , by Ulrike Stark The history of the book and the commercialization of print in the nineteenth century remain largely uncharted areas in South Asia. This major monograph on the legendary Naval Kishore Press of Lucknow (est. 1858)—then the foremost publishing house in the subcontinent—represents something of a breakthrough. It analyses an Indian publisher’s engagement in the field of cultural production with a detail and rigour hitherto unknown. Describing early centres and pioneers of print in North India, the author traces the coming of the book in Hindi and Urdu. The career of Munshi Naval Kishore (1836–95) is viewed as exemplifying the publisher’s rise to prominence in the colonial public sphere. Ulrike Stark examines the publishing house in its roles as commercial enterprise and intellectual centre. Against a backdrop of cultural, social, and economic developments, she analyses the


In September 2007 Permanent Black launched a new imprint, BLACK KITE, which will publish books aimed at those who read for pleasure. There will be intelligent, thought-provoking, unusual writing from writers known and unknown. We'll publish essays, translations, biography, memoir, and anything else that catches our fancy as long as the writing is superlative. The first Black Kite book is a rambunctious romp through nineteenth-century Calcutta, a translation of Hootum Pyanchar Naksha (literally ‘Sketches by Hootum the Owl’), a set of satirical portraits so popular that it has never been out of print since its publication in 1862. This is its first ever translation. The writing is so vivid that there is within these pages a sense of walking through a decadent Dickensian city as fishwives call out their wares, housewives hurry to the river for baths, thieves pick pockets, and carriages creak through slush and rotting banana peel carting passengers high on ganja. THE OBSERVANT OWL: Ho


IMPERIAL CONNECTIONS : India in the Indian Ocean Arena 1860-1920 , by Thomas R. Metcalf An innovative remapping of empire, Imperial Connections offers a broad-ranging view of the workings of the British Empire in the period when the India of the Raj stood at the centre of a newly globalized system of trade, investment, and migration. Metcalf argues that India itself became a nexus of imperial power that made possible British conquest, control, and governance across a wide arc of territory stretching from Africa to eastern Asia. His book, offering a new perspective on how imperialism operates, emphasizes transcolonial interactions and webs of influence that advanced the interests of colonial India and Britain alike. September 2007 / Hardback / Rs 650 / ISBN 81-7824-209-6 / For sale in South Asia only / Copublished by the University of California Press, Berkeley


BEYOND BELIEF : India and the Politics of Postcolonial Nationalism, by Srirupa Roy Beyond Belief rethinks the formation and consolidation of nation-state ideologies. Analysing the first two decades after Indian Independence, Srirupa Roy shows how nationalists were turned into nationals, subjects into citizens, and the colonial state into a sovereign nation-state. The idea that nations come into being as 'imagined communities' is not adequate when you look at India. Here the state makes itself more than manifest as the only possible glue for diverse communities to stick through thick and thin, like it or not, leaving very little for these communities to imagine. Hardback / 260 pages / ISBN 81-7824-211-7 / Rs 595 / For sale in South Asia only / Published in September 2007 / Copublished by Duke University Press


BEHIND THE VEIL: Resistance, Women, and the Everyday in Colonial South Asia, edited by Anindita Ghosh For some time now, scholars have been working on the theme of dissent and struggle among women in in colonial South Asia. But the focus so far has been on the educated and the outstanding—either female public figures or relatives of important male personalities. This book unearths a narrative of deeper and perhaps more enduring subterranean resistance offered by less extraordinary women in their daily lives. CONTRIBUTORS Tanika Sarkar, Geraldine Forbes, Clare Anderson, Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Anindita Ghosh, Nita Verma Prasad Hardback / 244 pages / Rs 595.00 / 81-7824-201-X / for sale only in South Asia COPUBLISHED BY PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, LONDON


CREATIVE PASTS : Historical Memory and Identity in Western India, 1700–1960 by Prachi Deshpande The ‘Maratha period’ of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is a defining era in Indian history. Prachi Deshpande examines this period for various political projects in the country at large, including anticolonial Hindu nationalism and the non-Brahman movement, as well as popular debates throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries over the meaning of tradition, culture, colonialism, and modernity. A study of quite extraordinary penetration and breadth, Creative Pasts mines Maratha history and Marathi sources as never before. HARDBACK / 320PP / RS.650.00 / SOUTH ASIA RIGHTS / August 2007 COPUBLISHED BY COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS


GANDHI IS GONE. WHO WILL GUIDE US NOW? Nehru, Prasad, Azad, Vinoba, Kripalani, JP, and Others Introspect, Sevagram, March 1948 Translated by Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Rupert Snell As India became free on 15 August 1947, and Jawaharlal Nehru became the first prime minister of the country, the larger ‘Gandhi family’, comprising the political and non-political associates of the Mahatma, needed to think through their future equations. The Mahatma had planned a discussion on this and, in his meticulous manner, identified the venue and date for the meeting, which he intended to attend in Sevagram on 2 February 1948. 30 January 1948 intervened. Gandhi was assassinated. But thanks primarily to Rajendra Prasad and Vinoba Bhave, the proposed conference did take place. Published here for the first time sixty years on, the discussions of that conference remain amazingly pertinent, stimulating, and challenging today. This book is indispensable for anyone interested in Gandhi, his legacy, and the his


If Indian historians have generally seemed wary of writing contemporary (post-1947) history, they have seemed even more sceptical about writing narrative history with a distinct story line that makes their work accessible and attractive to serious lay readers outside academia. Permanent Black has therefore been exceptionally fortunate in having published perhaps the two most outstanding recent works in this genre. Partha Chatterjee’s landmark history—and, by any measure, stupendously gripping account—of the strange case of the ‘Bhawal Sannyasi’ who returned from the dead ( a la Natalie Zemon Davis’s ‘Martin Guerre’) to reclaim his ancestral property is entitled A Princely Impostor? The Kumar of Bhawal and the Secret History of Indian Nationalism ; now in paperback and strongly recommended to anyone who thinks Indian history has no connection with great murder mysteries. Nayanjot Lahiri has made the dead come to life as well, in her brilliantly recounted history of how the Indus Valle


THE RETREAT OF DEMOCRACY AND OTHER ITINERANT ESSAYS ON GLOBALIZATION, ECONOMICS, AND INDIA , by Kaushik Basu ‘This is a rare book that combines the wisdom of market economy with social upliftment. Basu shows he is a clear and deep thinker with his heart in the right place.’—N.R. Narayana Murthy ‘This creative, lucid and forthright collection of essays is a joy to read, even where one disagrees. It will be of great value in sensitizing economists to political realities, and others to economic realities.’—Jean Dreze ‘Kaushik Basu is that triply rare being—an Indian intellectual who is open-minded, an economic theorist who is interested in human beings, and an American academic who has a sense of style. ' —Ramachandra Guha For sale in South Asia only, hardback, Rs 450.


Caste in colonial India, caste in South India, caste discrimination as experienced by Dalits, the life and philosophy of an ur-Brahmin--here are the books to read: The Last Brahmin , by Rani Siva Sankara Sarma, hardback, 200 pages, Rs 395 Plain Speaking , by A.N. Sattananathan, hardback, 235 pages, Rs 395 Brahmin and Non-Brahmin , by M.S.S. Pandian, hardback, 286 pages, Rs 650. There's also Nicholas Dirks's Castes of Mind for a history of the construction of caste in colonial India. (Paperback, 380 pages, Rs 350.)


WATERSCAPES edited by Amita Baviskar The wars of the future are already here: wars over water. As a resource central to life and livelihood, water has always been at the centre of intense social action. Waterscapes uses the analytical framework of cultural politics to examine questions of power and inequality, conflicts and compromises around water. It reflects the growing recognition that managing water, as much as land and biomass, is going to be a critical challenge for future economic growth and ecological sustainability. It is a major contribution by anthropologists, historians, and sociologists, leading scholars in the field, who bring original ethnographic and archival research to bear on the cultural politics of a key natural resource. hardback/ Rs 695/ 376 pages/ for sale worldwide


BY SUMMER 2008, SEVENTY of our books will be in paperback. Mridu Rai's book on Kashmir, Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects, is one of those seventy. All our paperbacks are beautifully produced and are priced much lower than our hardbacks. Have a look at our full list of paperbacks on and you'll be surprised by its range.


MAKING CONSERVATION WORK , edited by Ghazala Shahabuddin and Mahesh Rangarajan Wildlife today is competing with some of India’s most underprivileged people for survival. This apart, commercial and industrial pressures from far outside park boundaries reverberate within these fragile ecological oases, making them vulnerable in a way they never have been before. Reconciling the question of preserving what little wildlife remains with the needs of humans has never seemed as tangled. Shahabuddin and Rangarajan's new book, which is about to be released, brings together the thoughts of many new scholars on this urgent issue--is this a battle in which either nature or humans will survive? Must it be a battle? hardback; Rs 595; for sale worldwide.


TIME TREKS : THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE OF OLD AND NEW DESPOTISMS, by Ashis Nandy IN THIS companion to his earlier book Time Warps , Nandy uses the metaphor of the future—imagined utopias, conceptions of cultural possibilities, social critiques of things to come—and redefines the present. His effort is to demonstrate that, in a world increasingly dominated by a narrow range of ideologies, one must affirm that social ethics and a more humane society can be based on grounds other than those framed for the past 200 years by political and psychological forces that have tried to flatten and homogenize the world and reduced the possibility of diverse futures. Hardback, Rs 495, 228 pages, for sale in South Asia only. (Published for the rest of the world by Seagull Books, London and New York.)


We've published some of India's most highly reputed scholars on gender. Permanent Black's gender studies list traverses law, culture, sexuality. See below. Meera Kosambi CROSSING THRESHOLDS Feminist Essays in Social History HB/ 350PP + 7 B/W PICTURES / RS 695.00 / WORLD RIGHTS Rajeswari Sunder Rajan THE SCANDAL OF THE STATE Women, Law, and Citizenship in Postcolonial India HB/ 350PP/ RS 595.00 Nivedita Menon RECOVERING SUBVERSION Feminist Politics Beyond the Law HB / 275PP / RS 595.00 / SOUTH ASIA RIGHTS / 2004 Charu Gupta SEXUALITY, OBSCENITY, COMMUNITY Women, Muslims and the Hindu Public in Colonial India HB / 400PP, 30 ILLUSTR. / RS 350 / SOUTH ASIA RIGHTS / 2005 Tanika Sarkar HINDU WIFE, HINDU NATION Community, Religion, and Cultural Nationalism PB/ 280PP / RS 295 / SOUTH ASIA RIGHTS Ratna Kapur EROTIC JUSTICE Law and the New Politics of Postcolonialism HB/ LARGE FORMAT / 210PP / RS 595.00 / SOUTH ASIA RIGHTS Jörg Fisch IMMOLATING WOMEN A Global History of Widow-burnin


FOREST FUTURES: GLOBAL REPRESENTATIONS AND GROUND REALITIES IN THE HIMALAYAS by Antje Linkenbach Just out from Permanent Black is a book that re-examines the Chipko movement of the 1970s and 1980s because of which struggles over forest rights in the Garhwal Himalayas drew worldwide attention. To a large extent, this also entailed a subsuming of local experiences under global discourses: many of the messages and meanings of the Chipko movement’s varied struggles were homogenized, changed, and rewritten. Antje Linkenbach persuasively argues that global representation took away narrative control from local actors and removed Chipko from the specificity of its locale, from its village contexts. Her attempt is to relocate forest issues and struggles by revisiting the perspectives of leading activists and local residents. Hardback, Rs 695.00, 348 pages, South Asia rights Copublished outside South Asia by Seagull New York


Ramachandra Guha's association with Permanent Black editor Rukun Advani is as old as his writing career. Guha has done a vast amount to make Permanent Black better known, and directed several fine young scholars towards us. Alongside Sunil Khilnani, he has begun a series with us called THE INDIAN CENTURY which aims to bring in works of Indian history that refuse to stop at 1947. Guha's own recent academic work for scholarly audiences has for the past seven or so years been often published by Permanent Black: we have most recently published his How Much Should a Person Consume? Thinking Through the Environment (South Asia rights [copublished by the University of California Press], hardback, Rs 595, 275 pages); and earlier two collections of his essays, An Anthropologist Among the Marxists and The Last Liberal , as well as The States of Indian Cricket . Guha's combative stress on academic prose being accessible and jargon-free has stirred controversy, but there is no doubt


A.M. Shah—A.N. Sattanathan—Abhijit Gupta—Agha Shahid Ali—Amit Chaudhuri—Amita Baviskar-—Amiya Sen—Ania Loomba—Anindita Ghosh—Antje Linkenbach—Arvind Krishna Mehrotra—Ashis Nandy—Ayesha Jalal—Bill Aitken—Thomas Blom Hansen—Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya—Brigid Keenan—Bruce Lawrence—C.M. Naim—Charu Gupta—Chitra Joshi—Chitralekha Zutshi—Christophe Jaffrelot—Claude Markovits—D.K. Chakrabarti—D. Venkat Rao—David Arnold—David Hardiman—David Ludden—Dhriti K. Lahiri Choudhury—Dipesh Chakrabarty—E.H. Aitken—Emma Tarlo—Frances Pritchett—Francesca Orsini—Francis Robinson—Ghanshyam Shah—Ghazala Shahabuddin—Gopal Gandhi—Gyanendra Pandey—Harish Damodaran—Heinrich von Stietencron—Hew McLeod—Ian Bryant Wells—Ian Talbot—Indrani Chatterjee—Jackie Assayag—Janaki Bakhle—Joerg Fisch—Jon Lang—Jyotika Virdi—K. Sivaramakrishnan—K. Ullas Karanth—Kapil Raj—Kaushik Basu—Kaushik Roy—Leela Gandhi—Leela Prasad—Lucy Rosenstein—M.S.S. Pandian—Madhav Gadgil—Mahesh Rangarajan—Mahmood Mamdani—Manu Goswami—Mark Baker—Martha N