Cultural Politics in Modern India : Postcolonial prospects, colourful cosmopolitanism, global proximities book cover
1st Edition

Cultural Politics in Modern India
Postcolonial prospects, colourful cosmopolitanism, global proximities

ISBN 9781138488335
Published January 24, 2018 by Routledge India
314 Pages

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Book Description

India’s global proximities derive in good measure from its struggle against British imperialism. In its efforts to become a nation, India turned modern in its own unusual way. At the heart of this metamorphosis was a "colourful cosmopolitanism," the unique manner in which India made the world its neighbourhood. The most creative thinkers and leaders of that period reimagined diverse horizons. They collaborated not only in widespread anti-colonial struggles but also in articulating the vision of alter-globalization, universalism, and cosmopolitanism. This book, in revealing this dimension, offers new and original interpretations of figures such as Kant, Tagore, Heidegger, Gandhi, Aurobindo, Gebser, Kosambi, Narayan, Ezekiel, and Spivak. It also analyses cultural and aesthetic phenomena, from the rasa theory to Bollywood cinema, explaining how Indian ideas, texts, and cultural expressions interacted with a wider world and contributed to the making of modern India.

Table of Contents

Preface. Introduction Part I 1. The Future of the Past, the Past of the Future 2. Regaining the Indian Eye/I: The Rasas of the Past 3. The Third Eye and Two Ways of (Un)knowing 4. Aesthetics and Ideology: The State of the Art Part II 5. Tagore’s Viswa-Sahitya: Re-wor(l)ding the House of World Literature 6. ‘Natural Supernaturalism?’ The Tagore-Gandhi Debate on the Bihar Earthquake 7. Contrasting Peace Perspectives: Kant and Gandhi: A Trans-Civilizational Inquiry 8. Hind Swaraj in Our Times Part III 9. Transparency, Globalization, Integrality: Jean Gebser’s Several Wo(r)lds 10. The Reluctant Guru: R. K. Narayan and The Guide 11. A Poetry of Proportions: Nissim Ezeliel’s Quest for the Exact Name 12. Ramchandra Gandhi’s ‘Truths’: Non-Dual Mediations and Meditations. Index

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Makarand R. Paranjape is Professor of English at the Centre for English Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He was the inaugural Eric Auerbach Visiting Chair in Global Literary Studies at the University of Tubingen, Germany, and served as the first ICCR Chair in Indian Studies at the National University of Singapore. His latest works includes The Death and Afterlife of Mahatma Gandhi (2014) and Swami Vivekananda: A Contemporary Reader (2015).


Paranjape is among the leading humanist intellectuals of his generation in India. In this volume he clarifies the circulations and crossings between Indian and global cultures—in all their novelties and quandaries—that every thinking Indian should reflect upon." — Prasenjit Duara, Director, Asia Research Institute, Singapore

"[A]n exemplary performance of cultural theory from the South. Engaging with significant figures from India's history of thought, Paranjape recalibrates cultural theory by allowing its central questions to be posed in terms set by its own intellectual actors. He never fails none the less to engage with an array of interlocutors from around the world, making his book a work of truly global scope." — Russell West-Pavlov, Professor of English, University of Tübingen

"Paranjape explores alter-cosmopolitanisms with rare skill and sensitivity. [The book] integrates habitual binaries of western paradigms, and enshrines what may be called 'scriptural modernities'." — Sachidananda Mohanty, Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Odisha