Kingdoms of Memory, Empires of Ink

The Veda and the Regional Print Cultures of Colonial India

Cezary Galewicz

Jagiellonian University Press

Kingdoms of Memory, Empires of Ink

Pub Date: March 2020

ISBN: 9788323343912

306 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price:

Pub Date: June 2020

ISBN: 9788323397694

306 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $49.99£42.00

Kingdoms of Memory, Empires of Ink

The Veda and the Regional Print Cultures of Colonial India

Cezary Galewicz

Jagiellonian University Press

The backbone of this book on books is a history of a most unusual concept of the book that developed in South Asia with reference to the Veda… By the 19th century, regional cultures of print showed an uneven and spatially discontinuous development across the Indian subcontinent. They variously fed on regional patterns of communication, configurations of power, patronage, and a new economic regime. Their development formed part of tremendous transformations in the structures of power, statecraft, authority, and communication that the subcontinent was going through while being gradually absorbed into the globalizing orbit of the emerging British Empire. The period witnessed a general shift of knowledge-production sites and relocation of distribution and text-circulation networks towards new urban centres…. This book tries to understand how the emerging regional cultures of print created conditions for, inspired, and accommodated differently configured projects of bringing out printed editions of Vedic texts while leaving distinct traces of their respective nature on their editorial principles, book format, typographic form, and publishing ideology.


I. Objects, Spaces and Practices

I.1. The Book as an object circulating in space

I.2. The Rebel Book of the Veda

II. The Veda Before Print

II.1 The Beginnings: the travelling Veda

II.2 The living libraries: the memorized Veda

II.3 Performance and spectacle: The ritual Veda

II.4 Scribes and scripture: the handwritten Veda

II.5. The Veda commented upon

II.5.1. The imperial commentary

II.6 The Veda in the empire of writing

III.The Coming of Print to Indian Subcontinent

III.1 The Missionary, the Government and the Commercial Printers

III.2 Preachers, printers and Pundits

III.2.1The Jesuit printers of the western coast

III.2.2 German Danish Evangelists on the Coromandel Coast

III.2.3 The media revolution of Serampore 1800 –1837

III.2.4 Later Missionary print cultures

III.3 The Empire in print and the Ethnographic State

III.3.1 The Infernal machine

III.3.2 The Government Press and imperial typography

III.3.3 Print, catalogues and native knowledge

III.3.4 The ethnographic state in print

III.4 Indian Commercial Printing after 1835 (New Beginnings)

IV.The Printed Veda

IV.1 The lost, imagined and recovered Veda

IV.2. The Philological Veda

IV.3. The Imperial Veda

IV.3.1. Max Muller and his patrons

IV.4. The Printed Veda for Paṇḍitas and Pundits

IV.5. The Veda printed in India

IV.5.1 The polluting ink

IV.5.2 Whose is the printed Veda

IV.5.3. The codex and the pothi

V. The reading practices

V.1. The cultural concepts and practices of reading

V.1.1 The svādhyāya and the brahma-yajña

V.1.2 brahmavidyā-dāna

V.1.3 The vidhāna tradition

V.2. The regional practices of reading the Veda

V.2.1 Modus legendi: daśagrantha

V.2.2 Modus legendi: the veda-pārāyaṇa

V.2.3 Modus legendi: the trisandhā

VI. Towards Social history of print cultures in colonial India

VI.1. Printing revolution and social change

VI.2 Publishing Indian Religions in Print

VI.2.1 Printing and Appropriation of the past

VI.3 The regional print cultures and the Veda




About the Author

Cezary Galewicz, Associate Professor in Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations at the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. A historian of civilisations; a researcher exploring contemporary forms of cultural, religious and literary traditions of South Asia; member and coordinator of international research teams; translator.