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Showing posts from 2008


JAGADIS CHANDRA BOSE AND THE INDIAN RESPONSE TO WESTERN SCIENCE  by Subrata Dasgupta ‘ ... an important examination of the science of Jagadis Chandra Bose ... Dasgupta distances his account from nationalist historiography ... His reading complements the histories and biographies that have emphasized the sociocultural history of science in India.’—Dhruv Raina in Isis ‘Scholars interested in science and society issues as well as lay readers will find the narrative fascinating.’—Deepak Kumar in The Book Review ‘ ... a book that has filled a void in the history of science in India.’—Prajit Basu in Science, Technology and Society ‘ ... a thorough, critical, dispassionate, objective and lucid synthesis of an enormous amount of information ... a valuable contribution to the history of science, especially Indian science.’—R.L. Bijlani in Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology ISBN 81-7824-251-6 / Rs 350 / 320pp / Paperback / Spring 2009


BOMBAY CINEMA : AN ARCHIVE OF THE CITY by Ranjani Mazumdar "Mazumdar's experience as a filmmaker allowed her to offer significant readings of not just the narratives and character development in the films, but of the cinematography, mise-en-scene, and other technical and performance aspects of production. As scholar and filmmaker, Ranjani Mazumdar effectively combined her two disciplines in the book, which is accessible and useful to scholars of South Asia and film." Journal of Popular Culture “This is not simply a book about how Bombay movies have re-presented the ambivalent site of the city in post-Independence India. More profoundly, Mazumdar is giving us an alternative history of Indian modernity, a history in which 'the urban experience' only comes fully into focus through the sensuous mediation of the popular cinema.” Visual Anthropology Review “Mazumdar has a great capacity to discuss Indian cinema, with a brilliant grasp of its political, historical and


GANDHI’S CONSCIENCE KEEPER C. RAJAGOPALACHARI AND INDIAN POLITICS by Vasanthi Srinivasan 'Dr Srinivasan’s study is a tour-de-force, exhibiting all the signs of a mature thinker who is confident of her intellectual and spiritual bearings' Peter Emberley 'This work will be widely appreciated and will also set off useful debates' Rajmohan Gandhi Hailed by Mahatma Gandhi as his conscience keeper, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1878–1972; better known as Rajaji) epitomized the practical wisdom, religious tolerance, and statesmanship that Gandhi brought to the nationalist movement. Vasanthi Srinivasan presents Rajaji’s vision as that of a theocentric liberal. Examining his political ideas and actions alongside his literary works, as well as in relation to statesmen-ideologues such as Nehru and Periyar, she shows how Rajaji steered clear of ideological dogma and charted an ethic of responsibility. VASANTHI SRINIVASAN is a Reader in Political Science at the University of Hyderaba


REBELS, WIVES, SAINTS Designing Selves and Nations in Colonial Times by TANIKA SARKAR Tanika Sarkar’s writings on women, religion, and nationhood in the context of colonial Bengal have been pathbreaking. In this book, she again deploys to great effect her trademark focus on the small, the specific, and the emotive defining moment in history to arrive at larger, compelling pictures which show us how people actually felt and experienced life in that period. The colonial universe outlined in this book centres around woman as both defiled and deified (woman as widow, woman as goddess); the nation as woman-goddess within a country comprising plural traditions; male reformers battling Hindu conservatives; a Hindu novelist idealizing nationalism as the demolition of Muslim symbols; male-dominant social norms threatening principles of softness and femininity; theatre and censorship; and the sometimes contrasting worldviews of Bankim and Rabindranath. This accessible and enthralling book will c


Subhas Chandra Bose IN BURMESE PRISONS: Correspondence May 1923 - July 1926 edited by Sisir K. Bose Subhas Chandra Bose’s exile in Burmese prisons from 1924 to 1927 witnessed the transformation of a lieutenant into a leader. During the non-cooperation movement and its aftermath he had wholeheartedly accepted Deshbandhu Chitta Ranjan Das as his political mentor. The apprenticeship was cut short by Deshbandhu’s death in June 1925. When Subhas received this terrible news as a prisoner in Mandalay, he felt “desolate with a sense of bereavement”, as he wrote to his friend Dilip Kumar Roy. Netaji’s letters cover a very wide array of topics—art, music, literature, nature, education, folk culture, civic affairs, criminology, spirituality, and, of course, politics. He bore the rigours of prison life with a combination of stoicism and humour. This volume is indispensable to an understanding of India’s greatest revolutionary leader and will interest all historians of modern India. ISBN 81-7824-25


PERMANENT BLACK and THE INDIA INTERNATIONAL CENTRE, NEW DELHI are delighted to invite you to an illustrated talk on THE LIONS OF INDIA by Dr Divyabhanusinh. The talk will take place at the India International Centre, 40 Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi, on Thursday, the 11th of September 2008, at 6.30 pm. It will be chaired by Dr Mahesh Rangarajan. THE LIONS OF INDIA is published by Permanent Black and Black Kite, in hardback, at Rs 395.


PUMPKIN FLOWER FRITTERS AND OTHER CLASSIC RECIPES FROM A BENGALI KITCHEN by Renuka Devi Choudhurani THIS IS A BOOK FOR ANYONE WHO ENJOYS GOOD FOOD: THE COOKING OF IT, THE EATING OF IT, THE SHARING OF IT. Some of these recipes have fed and delighted Jawaharlal Nehru and Sarojini Naidu. All of them have provided nourishment and comfort to generations of Bengali families. Now for the first time, these time-tested recipes are available in English. Renuka Devi Choudhurani (1910–1985) was married off at the age of ten into a zamindari family. That was when her culinary education began, mainly from her father-in-law, but also from itinerant bawarchis and specialist cooks. As her interest in good food developed, she took to collecting and recording recipes. Ultimately, she published a two-volume Bengali work containing about 400 vegetarian and 300 fish- and meat-based recipes. From the simplest dal to the most elaborate biryani, her recipes are easy to follow, and produce delicious results. Th


A NATIONAL FLAG FOR INDIA, by ARUNDHATI VIRMANI "The long and difficult elaboration of the Indian national flag, the diverse and sometimes contrary expectations that built up around this object during half a century with their stakes profoundly rooted in the social world: these essential aspects of the historian’s work are masterfully unravelled in this book." Jacques Revel Unearthing the complex history of the making of the Indian national flag, Arundhati Virmani reveals cultural processes that imposed a set of values and sentiments on an incredibly diverse and scattered body of people. She shows that the Indian flag had strong roots in the ethos of colonialism. It was a major resource for the nationalist movement, a tool that allowed large social diversities to assert the compelling necessity for a new political culture with secular nationalism as the unifying pole. This viewpoint was contested by the Muslim League, the Sikhs, the Indian princes, and Hindu nationalists. So


Ramachandra Guha once said he writes on history for a living and on cricket to live. The States of Indian Cricket marries the craft of history to the life of cricket in India and is described by its author as ‘the product of a lifelong addiction to the most sophisticated sport known to mankind.’ Guha draws upon the memories of several generations of cricket lovers to give us wonderful sketches of India’s cricketers, the forgotten as well as the famous: from C.K. Nayudu and Vinoo Mankad to Saurav Ganguly and Anil Kumble. Using the device of imaginary all-time India Elevens, he provides rich insights into the cities and states in which Indian cricket was forged. We thus have here, for the first time within the covers of a single volume, an informal, anecdotal, and immensely readable history of Indian cricket, a book which complements Guha’s celebrated work on the sport’s social history, A Corner of a Foreign Field (2002). Ramachandra Guha is one of India’s most distinguished histor

Music in paperback

RAGA 'N JOSH: STORIES FROM A MUSICAL LIFE  by Sheila Dhar This book is a classic. The hardback edition sold out three printings and has been replaced by this Black Kite paperback.  Sheila Dhar’s stories, essays, and memoirs include Begum Akhtar, Siddheshwari Bai, Fayyaz and Niaz Ahmed Khan, Kesar Bai Kerkar, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, and Bhimsen Joshi. No writer has ever conveyed the ethos of this world and the quirks of its denizens with such wit, irreverence, perceptiveness, and empathy. As a part of Delhi’s political elite, Sheila Dhar is also inimitably observant about celebrities as diverse as Indira Gandhi, the economist Joan Robinson, the film director Richard Attenborough, and Her Supreme Royal Highness the Queen of Tonga who, when asked what she does in her spare time, says with regal common sense, 'I just bees.' Incisive intelligence, self-deprecating humour, and an original propensity to manipulate the English language for Indian contexts combine to make this book a

Garden Notes

A SAHIB'S MANUAL FOR THE MALI by ALICK PERCY-LANCASTER, edited by Laeeq Futehally Amateur gardeners and those who like gardens but cannot tell phlox from petunia: Alick Percy-Lancaster’s delightful guide is for everyone. It explains not only the What and the How but also the all-important Why. Even as he dispenses practical gardening tips, the leisurely charm of Percy-Lancaster’s writing evokes an India far away and long ago. He takes us through garden work month by month: follow his advice, and whatever space you have—terrace or balcony, kitchen window or rambling lawn—will be full of leaf and flower. Alick Percy-Lancaster was the last Englishman to hold the post of Superintendent of Horticultural Operations, Government of India. After Independence, his chores included maintaining 15,000 avenue trees on roads and clipping 150 miles of hedges. ISBN 81-7824-242-7 / Rs 250 / 230pp / paperback published end 2008 / A Black Kite book


THE INDISPENSABLE VIVEKANANDA: An Anthology for Our Times edited by AMIYA P. SEN A hundred years after Swami Vivekananda’s oratory, essays, and philosophical writings offered substantial modifications and refinements to modern Hinduism, he remains a key figure in any proper understanding of the religion of India’s largest majority. This anthology showcases those aspects of Vivekananda that seem indispensable even today. In his Introduction, the editor provides, first, a general introduction to the life and work of the Swami; and second, a critical appraisal of the various aspects of his social and philosophical ideas. The second half of the book contains selections from Vivekananda’s writings organised around topics dealing with ‘Contemporary India and her Problems’, ‘Religion and the Human Revolution’, ‘Vedanta and the Future of Mankind’, and ‘The Spiritual Ends of Man’. A list of suggested readings concludes this volume. AMIYA P. SEN is Tagore Professor, Rabindra Bharati, Santiniketa


MOVEABLE TYPE: Book History in India edited by ABHIJIT GUPTA and SWAPAN CHAKRAVORTY Book history is an emerging discipline in India. Moveable Type brings together a wider variety of the best recent work on the subject, combining compilation of primary data with rigorous historical analysis. Contributions range from a magisterial history of censorship in colonial India to reflections on the social construction of texts. Several essays focus on the study of historically symptomatic cases, such as the making of a Tamil encyclopaedia and the special number of a Hindi periodical. This collection is the latest in a series that promises to be an indispensable resource for future research in history, literature, textual scholarship, editorial theory, and cultural studies. Hardback / 270pp / Rs 595 / ISBN 81-7824-217-6 / October 08


CAPITAL, INTERRUPTED: Agrarian Development and the Politics of Work in India by VINAY GIDWANI " Capital, Interrupted provides a thoughtful and compelling study of the convoluted ways in which capital operates in the modern world. Gidwani illustrates his theoretical points with examples from fieldwork in one sub-district of Gujarat, all carried out with great sensitivity." David Hardiman, Professor of History, University of Warwick “In Capital, Interrupted social theory combines felicitously with rigorous empirical analysis, and the result is narrated in thoughtful and elegant prose. The colonial lineages of development, and the emergence of Lewa Patel agrarian capitalists as economic and cultural forces in the Gujarat countryside are presented with an expository flair uncommon in scholarly writing. Vinay Gidwani has brilliantly elucidated the way both work and development came to be understood in social and political theory, and in modern Indian history, by the end of the


CLEARING A SPACE: REFLECTIONS ON INDIA, LITERATURE AND CULTURE, by Amit Chaudhuri To the many admirers of his fiction, Amit Chaudhuri seems all the more remarkable because of the excellence and accessibility of his non-fiction. Clearing a Space brings together many of Chaudhuri’s best essays, written over the past decade in journals such as the London Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement . This body of his work has been widely praised and reveals a literary project of great value in understanding Indian and global modernity. ‘This extraordinary and wide-ranging collection, through a series of highly-focused aper├žus, puts in question the key terms of self-understanding of much modern literature. This and much else makes this book a treasure trove of acute and thought-provoking perceptions.’ Charles Taylor ‘Amit Chaudhuri...asks hard questions of himself as well as others, and he engages us as readers with the warmth and acuity of his observations across a wonderful range


THE SCANDAL OF EMPIRE: INDIA AND THE CREATION OF IMPERIAL BRITAIN, by Nicholas B. Dirks ‘This is a brilliant work of historical excavation … Dirks shows that, contrary to the imperialist ideologues then as now, the scandals of conquest, violence, and oppression were at its center, not its incidental sideshow. Civilizing the “native” necessarily entailed the practice of barbarism, the assertion of imperial sovereignty required the exercise of despotism.’ Gyan Prakash ‘…this lucid and masterful interpretive essay serves as a timely reminder that modern empires, caught in ideological contradictions of their own making, are fundamentally unpleasant, oppressive, and immoral formations. A stimulating contribution to contemporary debates.’ Dipesh Chakrabarty ISBN 81-7824-238-9 / Rs 395 / Copublished with Harvard University Press / For sale in South Asia only


LIMITING SECULARISM : THE ETHICS OF COEXISTENCE IN INDIAN LITERATURE AND FILM by Priya Kumar “ Limiting Secularism is a book for our times. Though scrupulously specific to the context of post-Independence India—and invaluable for that reason—its provocations resonate well beyond the boundaries of the unique nation-space. Working through but pushing well beyond the secularism debates in India, Kumar asks the vital question that few have as yet attempted: what vision and modality of the ethical life will enable those of opposed faiths to live well together? A work of this kind is not undertaken lightly. Kumar’s assumption of responsibility is everywhere apparent in the seriousness with which she engages the reality of religious violence at multiple levels, theoretical, historical and critical, as the urgent reason for exploring the imaginative possibilities of living otherwise. Intellectual work at such a level of challenge and commitment does nothing less than open the doors of the min


FEMINIST VISION OR 'TREASON AGAINST MEN'? Kashibai Kanitkar and the Engendering of Marathi Literature edited and translated by Meera Kosamb i Kashibai Kanitkar (1861–1948) was the first major woman writer in Marathi. She was largely self-taught and keenly conscious of the benefits of women’s education. She promoted this and other emancipatory measures for women through her prolific and wide-ranging writings—both fiction and non-fiction—deploying them as a mode of social reform discourse. The present book includes translations of most of Kashibai’s works: both her novels (in abridged form); a review of Pandita Ramabai’s American travelogue; long extracts from Kashibai’s episodic autobiographical narrative as well as from her biography of India’s first woman doctor, Dr Anandibai Joshee; and an article tracing the history of women’s education in Maharashtra. A comprehensive introduction by Meera Kosambi contextualizes these texts and situates Kashibai within her social and literar


NEW IN PAPERBACK! TWO MEN AND MUSIC : NATIONALISM IN THE MAKING OF AN INDIAN CLASSICAL TRADITION by Janaki Bakhle “A pioneering book that helps to relocate the towering Hindu nationalists Bhatkhande and Paluskar—from the restricted world of music grammarians to the wider social history of colonial India. A very important contribution.” Partho Datta “Janaki Bakhle’s book opens up a completely new area of research in modern South Asian history. This pioneering history of the making of modern North Indian classical music is exemplary for the very fine sense of balance with which it holds together both respect and criticism for the past it so brilliantly restores.” Dipesh Chakrabarty Rs 350 / 350pp / paperback / ISBN 81-7824-235-4 / for sale in South Asia only / Copublished by Oxford University Press, New York


THE LIONS OF INDIA, a collection edited by Divyabhanusinh Lions are associated mainly with the African grasslands. Few people know that in India they once roamed the plains of Haryana and Punjab, wandered as far as Bihar in the east and above the Narmada in the south, and walked the grasslands and scrub forests around Delhi. Today, the Asiatic lion has been reduced to one tiny population in a single forest of Gujarat. Has the Asiatic lion been so spectacularly unfortunate because it is not secretive enough to survive hunters and poachers? Is its survival the outcome of one prince’s efforts? Could a single epidemic wipe it out forever? This book celebrates an animal whose magnificent beauty has been the cause of its tragic destiny. The earliest extract included here dates from 1884 and is about shikar; the newest, written in 2008, analyses the implications of politics for the lion’s survival. Some pieces charm and entertain with their vivid literary style and their close observation of


LANDSCAPES AND THE LAW : ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS, REGIONAL HISTORIES, AND CONTESTS OVER NATURE by Gunnel Cederlof Landscapes and the Law is situated at the crossroads of environmental, colonial, and legal history. It examines the role of law in consolidating early colonial rule from the perspective of people’s access to nature in forests and hill tracts. It is concerned thus with the social history of legal processes and the making of law. The book is focused equally on the multitude of colliding claims to land and resources, and the complex ways by which customary rights in nature are redefined and codified for the purpose of securing and legitimizing colonial sovereign rule. Hardback / 316 pp / ISBN 81-7824-208-7 / Rs 695 / World rights


PEASANT PASTS : HISTORY, POLITICS, AND NATIONALISM IN GUJARAT by Vinayak Chaturvedi Peasant Pasts is an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to writing histories of peasant politics, nationalism, and colonialism. Vinayak Chaturvedi’s analysis provides an important intervention in the social and cultural history of India by examining the nature of peasant discourses and practices during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Through rigorous archival study and fieldwork, Chaturvedi shows that peasants in Gujarat were active in the production and circulation of political ideas, establishing critiques of the state and society while promoting complex understandings of political community. He argues that nationalists in Gujarat established power through the use of coercion and violence, as they imagined a nation in which they could dominate social relations. Hardback / 324 pp / ISBN 7824-226-2 / Rs 695 / South Asia rights only / Co-published with the University of California Press.


REPRODUCTIVE RESTRAINTS: BIRTH CONTROL IN INDIA , 1877-1947 by Sanjam Ahluwalia Reproductive Restraints traces the history of contraception use and population management in colonial India, while illuminating its connection to contemporary debates in India and birth control movements in Great Britain and the United States. Sanjam Ahluwalia draws attention to the interactive and relational history of Indian birth control by including Western activists such as Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes alongside important Indian campaigners. In revealing the elitist politics of middle-class feminists, Indian nationalists, Western activists, colonial authorities, and the medical establishment Ahluwalia finds that they all sought to rationalize procreation and regulate women while invoking competing notions of freedom, femininity, and family. Ahluwalia’s remarkable interviews with practising midwives in rural northern India fill a gaping void in the documentary history of birth control and show


MERCHANTS, TRADERS, ENTREPRENEURS: INDIAN BUSINESS IN THE COLONIAL ERA by Claude Markovits The merchant world represents a relatively neglected area in South Asian history. Merchants were important actors in the economic, political, social, and cultural life of India, and deserve more attention than they have been given. This book bridges that gap by bringing together a number of issues which deal with the Indian mercantile world in colonial India, and its relationship with politics and society. Written by one of the major contributors to the socio-economic history of modern India, this book will interest all South Asianists, students of colonialism, and historians of Indian economy and society over the past two centuries. 300 pp / Rs 695 / Hardback / ISBN 81-7824-188-9 / For sale in South Asia only / Copublished by Palgrave Macmillan, London / Published in April 2008.


INDIAN SECULARISM: A SOCIAL AND INTELLECTUAL HISTORY 1890-1950 by Shabnum Tejani Secularism has been the subject of much debate. Scholars have argued that recent Hindu nationalism is the symptom of a crisis of Indian secularism and have blamed this on a resurgence of religion or communalism. Shabnum Tejani argues here for a more complex and historically informed understanding. Her book is a history of how the idea of secularism emerged in India. This book will interest all students of Indian democracy, politics, and history, as well as of political philosophy and the sociology of caste. 320 pp / Rs 695 / Hardback / ISBN 81-7824-212-5/ For sale in South Asia only / Copublished by Indiana University Press / Published in Summer 2008.