Warrior Ascetics and Indian Empires

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Overview

Many people assume, largely because of Gandhi's legacy, that Hinduism is a religion of non-violence. William R. Pinch shows just how wrong this assumption is. Using the life of Anupgiri Gosain, a Hindu ascetic who lived at the end of the eighteenth century, he demonstrates that Hindu warrior ascetics were an important component of the South Asian military labor market in the medieval and early modern Indian past, and crucial to the rise of British imperialism. Today, they occupy a prominent place in modern Indian imaginations, ironically as romantic defenders of a Hindu India against foreign invasion, even though they are almost totally absent from Indian history. William R. Pinch's book sets out to piece together the story of the rise and demise of warrior asceticism in India from the 1500s to the present.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a fine and useful book..."
-Peter Van Der Veer, Utrecht University, American Historical Review

"Pinch has discovered and employed wonderful visual materials, and many oral traditions of both Saiva and Vaisnava ascetics to match his thorough research in Company records."
-David L. Curley,Pacific Affairs

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Product Details

Meet the Author

William R. Pinch is Associate Professor of History at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He is the author of Peasants and Monks in British India (1996).

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Table of Contents

1 Mughal yogis 28
2 Warlords 59
3 Company gosains 104
4 Begums and ranis in Rasdhan 148
5 Shakti bhakti 194
6 Indian sadhus 231
Kailash's counterfactual and other conclusions 255
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