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 of issues such as colonialism and knowledge, political violence, cosmopolitanism, and diaspora. Lucidly written, and with an insightful analysis of Krishnavarma’s life and times, this will greatly interest scholars and researchers of modern Indian history, politics, the nationalist movement, as well as the informed lay reader.
‘[An] outstanding and compelling study of the nationalist and revolutionary Shyamji Krishnavarma [that] throws much light on a critical phase of Indian nationalism when [. . .] Indian liberalism was transformed into radicalism and then violent anti-colonialism.’ — C. A. Bayly, University of Cambridge, UK
‘[The] book restores debates about the utility of violence to the historiography of Indian nationalist thought [. . .] problematising the binaries of east and west, cosmopolitanism and nationalism, that have ordered recent histories of transnational networks.’ — Kama Maclean, University of New South Wales, Australia
‘Fischer-Tiné paints a compelling portrait of Krishnavarma — intellectual, exile, nationalist revolutionary.’ — David Arnold, University of Warwick, UK
Harald Fischer-Tiné's book is worth reading for many reasons. It is not only giving back a long time forgotten intellectual and revolutionary his historical role, thereby saving him from 'safronisation'. It also widens the understanding of the many facets of the international anti-colonial struggle in the decades before the Great War, at the same time emphasizing its many limitations. — Amit Das Gupta
Plates. Abbreviations. Glossary. Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. Knowledge 2. Cosmopolitanism 3. Violence 4. Conclusion and Epilogue. Bibliography. About the Author. Index
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.