The Imaginary Institution of India

Politics and Ideas

Sudipta Kaviraj

Columbia University Press

The Imaginary Institution of India

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Pub Date: May 2010

ISBN: 9780231152235

312 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $32.00£24.00

Pub Date: May 2010

ISBN: 9780231152228

312 Pages

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List Price: $95.00£70.00

Pub Date: May 2010

ISBN: 9780231526517

312 Pages

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The Imaginary Institution of India

Politics and Ideas

Sudipta Kaviraj

Columbia University Press

For decades Sudipta Kaviraj has worked with and improved upon Marxist and subaltern studies, capturing India's social and political life through its diverse history and culture. While this technique has been widely celebrated in his home country, Kaviraj's essays have remained largely scattered abroad. This collection finally presents his work in one convenient volume and, in doing so, reasserts the brilliance of his approach.

As evidenced in these essays, Kaviraj's exceptional strategy positions Indian politics within the political philosophy of the West and alongside the perspectives of Indian history and indigenous political thought. Studies include the peculiar nature of Indian democracy; the specific aspects of Jawaharlal Nehru's and Indira Gandhi's regimes; political culture in independent India; the construction of colonial power; the relationship between state, society, and discourse; the structure of nationalist discourse; language and identity formation in Indian contexts; the link between development and democracy, or democratic functioning; and the interaction among religion, politics, and modernity in South Asia. Each of these essays explores the place of politics in the social life of modern India and is powered by the idea that Indian politics is plastic, reflecting and shaping the world in which people live.

The Imaginary Institution of India is the first major collection of Sudipta Kaviraj's essays and, as such, will be received with great curiosity and attention.

Sanjay Subrahmanyam, University of California, Los Angeles

The analysis is stimulating, elegant, and novel.

Choice

Kaviraj's narrative about the state in India is an important one, and it is high time these influential papers were collected in one volume.

Sailen Routray, Contemporary South Asia
Introduction: Literature as the Mirror of Modernity
1. On the Advantages of Being a Barbarian
2. Literature and the Moral Imaginations of Modernity
3. The Two Histories of Literary Culture in Bengal
4. A Strange Love of Abstractions: The Making of a Language of Patriotism in Modern Bengali
5. Tagore and Transformations in the Ideals of Love
6. The Poetry of Interiority: The Creation of a Language of Modern Subjectivity in Tagore's Poetry
7. Laughter and Subjectivity: The Self-Ironical Tradition in Bengali Literature
8. Reading a Song of the City: Images of the City in Literature and Films
9. The Art of Despair: The Sense of the City in Modern Bengali Poetry
10. The Invention of Private Life: A Reading of Sibnath Sastri's Autobiography
11. The Second Mahabharata
Index
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About the Author

Sudipta Kaviraj is professor of Indian politics and intellectual history at Columbia University. He also taught for many years at SOAS, London University, and at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has been a fellow of St. Antony's College, Oxford, and a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and Sciences Po, Paris. He is the author of The Imaginary Institution of India: Politics and Ideas.