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Showing posts from January, 2013


‘Sir William Jones’, a book review dating to 1968 and therefore 45 years old, is in 2013 exactly half the age of its author, Ranajit Guha, the Bengali writer and thinker who is also the most influential living historian of South Asia. Guha and his wife Mechthild live close to the Viennese woods on the outskirts of Vienna. From their house you can see straight to the sanatorium in which Subhas Chandra Bose was briefly housed. The other figure from nationalist times who once lived not so far away was Mirabehn. She spent her last years in the proximity of the regions where her first idol, Beethoven, had composed his music. At one time Mechthild had thought of writing a book about Mirabehn, but many years back, after some meetings with her prospective protagonist, she decided against pursuing the idea. (Unlike Annie Besant, C.F. Andrews, and Verrier Elwin, who have biographers, Madeleine Slade seems to have made a getaway.) Mechthild and Ranajit Guha in 2008 ( photo court