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About the Series

This series explores the intellectual history of South Asia through the lives and ideas of significant individuals within a historical context. These 'pathfinders' are seen to represent a break with existing traditions, canons and inherited histories. In fact, even the idea of South Asia with its constituent regions and linguistic and religious divisions maybe thrown into crisis as we explore the idea of territory as generated by thought. It is not cartographic limits that determine thinking but the imagining of elective affinities across space, time and borders. These thinkers are necessarily cosmopolitan and engage with a miscegenation of ideas that recasts existing notions of schools of thinking, of the archive for a history of ideas, and indeed of the very notion of national and regional limits to intellectual activity. The books in this series try to think beyond the limited frameworks of colonialism and nationalism for the modern period and more generally of histories of societies that are told through the prism of the state, its institutions and ideologies.

These slim volumes written by leading scholars are intended for the intelligent layperson and expert alike, and written in an accessible, lively and authoritative prose. Through telling the lives of celebrated names and lesser known ones in context, this series will expand the repertoire of ideas and individuals that have shaped the history and culture of South Asia.

9 Series Titles

Per Page

V.S. Srinivasa Sastri A Liberal Life

V.S. Srinivasa Sastri: A Liberal Life

1st Edition

By Vineet Thakur
June 23, 2023

This book explores the Indian tradition of liberalism through a critical intellectual biography of Valangaiman Sankaranarayana Srinivasa Sastri (1869–1946). A notable politician, diplomat and educationist in colonial India, Sastri was a founding member of the National Liberal Federation and was one...

Baba Padmanji Vernacular Christianity in Colonial India

Baba Padmanji: Vernacular Christianity in Colonial India

1st Edition

By Deepra Dandekar
December 24, 2020

This book is a critical biography of Baba Padmanji (1831-1906), a firebrand native Christian missionary, ideologue, and litterateur from 19th-century Bombay Presidency. Though Padmanji was well-known, and a very influential figure among Christian converts, his contributions have received inadequate...

Shyamji Krishnavarma Sanskrit, Sociology and Anti-Imperialism

Shyamji Krishnavarma: Sanskrit, Sociology and Anti-Imperialism

1st Edition

By Harald Fischer-Tine
October 01, 2014

This book is the first critical biography on Shyamji Krishnavarma — scholar, journalist and national revolutionary who lived in exile outside India from 1897 to 1930. His ideas were crucial in the creation of an extremist wing of anti-imperial nationalism. The work delves into a fascinating range ...

Raja Serfoji II Science, Medicine and Enlightenment in Tanjore

Raja Serfoji II: Science, Medicine and Enlightenment in Tanjore

1st Edition

By Savithri Preetha Nair
May 07, 2012

In the early nineteenth century, the south Indian kingdom of Tanjore, which had come under the control of the East India Company, flourished as a ‘centre’ of enlightenment. This book traces the contours of the Tanjore enlightenment, which produced a knowledge that was at once modern and deeply ...

Vidyasagar The Life and After-life of an Eminent Indian

Vidyasagar: The Life and After-life of an Eminent Indian

1st Edition

By Brian A. Hatcher
March 26, 2014

This book offers a new interpretation of the life and legacy of the Indian reformer and intellectual, Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar (1820–91). Drawing upon autobiography, biography, secondary criticism and a range of Vidyasagar’s original writings in Bengali, the book interrogates the role of history,...

Benoy Kumar Sarkar Restoring the nation to the world

Benoy Kumar Sarkar: Restoring the nation to the world

1st Edition

By Satadru Sen
October 26, 2015

This book explores the life and times of the pioneering Indian sociologist Benoy Kumar Sarkar. It locates him simultaneously in the intellectual history of India and the political history of the world in the twentieth century. It focuses on the development and implications of Sarkar’s thinking on ...

M. N. Roy Marxism and Colonial Cosmopolitanism

M. N. Roy: Marxism and Colonial Cosmopolitanism

1st Edition

By Kris Manjapra
April 15, 2010

This is a work of South Asian intellectual history written from a transnational perspective and based on the life and work of M.N. Roy, one of India’s most formidable Marxist intellectuals. Swadeshi revolutionary, co-founder of the Mexican Communist Party, member of the Communist International ...

Veena Dhanammal The Making of a Legend

Veena Dhanammal: The Making of a Legend

1st Edition

By Lakshmi Subramanian
September 17, 2009

This book looks at the life and music of Veena Dhanammal (1866–1938), considered the embodiment of ‘classicism’ in Karnatik music. It locates her art within the cultural, social and intellectual milieu she inhabited, allowing readers to track the changing musical landscape of southern India, as a ...

Muhammad Iqbal Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

1st Edition

By Javed Majeed
March 09, 2009

Bringing together Islamic studies, a postcolonial literary perspective, and a focus on the interaction between aesthetics and politics, this book analyses Iqbal’s Islamism through his poetry. It argues that his notion of an Islamist selfhood was expressed in his verse through the interplay between ...

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