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Of Cricket, Guinness and Gandhi: Essays of Indian History and Culture

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The eight essays that comprise this book offer a ‘dissenting, futurist, and hermeneutic’ perspective on Indian civilization and various aspects of the modern cultural history of India. Feminism, subaltern studies, postcolonial theory and cultural studies have helped to pose new and important questions about our knowledge of India, but there has been insufficient engagement with local forms of knowledge, and with the non-modern, ahistoricist, mythic, vernacular and pluralist elements of Indian civilization. ...

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Overview

The eight essays that comprise this book offer a ‘dissenting, futurist, and hermeneutic’ perspective on Indian civilization and various aspects of the modern cultural history of India. Feminism, subaltern studies, postcolonial theory and cultural studies have helped to pose new and important questions about our knowledge of India, but there has been insufficient engagement with local forms of knowledge, and with the non-modern, ahistoricist, mythic, vernacular and pluralist elements of Indian civilization. Although this scholarship offers rearrangements within the existing frames of knowledge, it seldom dispenses with the frames. This book is an attempt to help in establishing a tradition of modern Indian criticism, of which there are only a handful of practitioners in English in India today.

The essays, all in an easily readable style, cover a wide range of cultural phenomena and offer a sweeping perspective on contemporary Indian society. They explore the national obsession with the Guinness Book of Records and the paranoia over VIP security, the politics of sexuality as embodied in the lifestyles of hijras and the nationalist fervour over nuclear tests. There are essays on the impossibility of the Other in the Hindi film, on the World Cup of Cricket, on Gandhi’s life as an ecological treatise, and on Gandhi’s experiments with celibate sexuality. The idea of India as a nations-state is, as the essays suggest, slowly encroaching upon the idea of India as a civilization, and the essays explore how our finite games can be transformed into infinite games.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9788170461845
  • Publisher: Seagull Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003
  • Pages: 248

Meet the Author

Vinay Lal is associate professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of South Asian Cultural Studies: A Bibliography (1996), Empire of Knowledge: Culture and Plurality in the Global Economy (2002), The History of History: Politics and Scholarship in Modern India (2003), Introducing Hinduism: A Graphic Guide (2010) and The Other Indians: A Political and Cultural History of South Asians in America (2008)

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