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Nehru and the Spirit of India

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Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee is a writer, political theorist and poet. He is the author of The Town... Read More

Product Description

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee is a writer, political theorist and poet. He is the author of The Town Slowly Empties: On Life and Culture During Lockdown (2021), Looking for the Nation: Towards Another Idea of India (2018), and Ghalib's Tomb and Other Poems (2013). His writings, apart from regular contributions to The Wire, have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, World Literature Today, the Economic and Political Weekly, The Hindu, the Indian Express and Outlook, among others. He has taught Lyric Poetry and Literary Journalism in Ambedkar University.

Jawaharlal Nehru was Plato's philosopher king, who 'discovered' an India that remains an undiscovered possibility. Nehru and the Spirit of India is a critical and nuanced perusal of his intellectual and political legacy.

From the 'politics of friendship' between Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah, Nehru's defense of secularism in the Constituent Assembly Debates, to what propelled Nehru to curb free speech in the First Amendment, Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee draws from political history to illuminate fierce debates in India today: Kashmir, the CAA, and hate speech. Be it contemporary events like the miracle of Ganesha drinking milk and the use of Vedic astrology in Chandrayaan-2, or the agonising suicide of a doctor, the author examines the fractured nature of Indian modernity, which Nehru had suggestively called a 'garb'. Bhattacharjee bolsters Nehru's view that India is enriched by the encounter of cultures and that we must not discard the past, but engage with it.

As a second-generation refugee, Bhattacharjee argues for a 'minoritarian' approach to national politics. Breaking ideological and disciplinary protocols, he compels us to learn from the insights of poets and thinkers. Lucidly written, this provocative book offers an original perspective on Nehru and Indian history.

This excellent work is a concise, thoughtful account of Nehru's political ideas-particularly on three important themes-politics, culture and history. It skilfully interweaves history of events, careful and subtle text-reading, complex analysis of arguments of political theory and critical explication of moral judgements. It captures the spirit of Nehru's political thought with critical sympathy-both in terms of its politics and its poetics.This remarkable book is for everyone who is interested in India-but also for those who are perplexed by the unhappy course of most post-colonial states. It forces us in the end to ask ourselves whether the tragic missteps in that history are due to colonialism or to the form of the modern state itself. Highly intelligent and generous-spirited, Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee has given us a valuable and thought-provoking echo of Nehru's famous book-his own "Discovery of India".With remarkable sensitivity, Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee underlines how a truncated modernity causes a rupture in Indian society, which is at once tragic and tantalizing. He upholds Nehru's suggestion that to discover India is to find its plural roots. He argues that the idea of a new India needs to reject historical excess and adopt critical influences from the past, like Buddhism. In this fascinating book, Bhattacharjee shines new light on Nehru's ideas, making a significant contribution to Indian intellectual history.

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee has drawn a powerful intellectual portrait of Nehru. This is not an "objective" reading but it isn't biased because truth about some matters emerges only when nurtured in a space where two minds meet. Nehru's thought then becomes a vehicle of his own views on some of the most pressing issues of our time such as the politics of
identity, majority-minority, democracy, secularism, citizenship and Indian culture. Intensely felt, elegantly written, this rich and compelling book cuts across genres, transgressing boundaries between history of ideas, political philosophy, literature and memoir.

Product Details

Title: Nehru and the Spirit of India
SKU: BK0460359
EAN: 9780670094233
Language: English
Binding: Hardcover

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