New Thinking about Indian Civilization

Reading South Asia - Spring 2010

Led by eminent Political Scientists. Susanne Rudolph and Lloyd Rudolph.

The Reading List:

Tuesday, February 23
Amartya Sen, The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity, Publisher Various including Penguin 2005

  • Preface, ix –xvii
  • Part One. Voice and Heterodoxy. Chapters 1 - 4, pp, 3- 86.
  • Part II. Culture and Communication, Chapters 5 – 7, pp. 89 – 160
  • Part IV. Reason and Identity. Chapters 13, 14, 16. Pp. 273 – 316, 334 – 356.

Tuesday, March 16
Wendy Doniger, The Hindus: An Alternative History.

  • pp. 1- 50; 252 -303; 444- - 502; 572 -609; 687 – 690.

Tuesday, April 20
Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, Postmodern Gandhi and Other Essays: Gandhi in the World and at Home, Chicago, University of Chicago Press paperback, 2006.

  • Part Two. Chapters 5 -8, pp. 177 – 252.
  • Part I. Chapter 1. Pp. 1- 59

Tuesday, May 18
James Tod and Vernacular History.

  • Nandini Chandra, The Classic Popular Amar Chitra Katha, 1967 – 2007. New Delhi,Yoda Press, 2008. Paperback.:
    Ch 1. Pp. 3 -14; Ch 2. Pp. 38 – 83; Ch. 5. Pp. 183 – 198
  • Lloyd I. Rudolph, “Tod and Vernacular History” paper presented at the 6th International Conference on Rajasthan, Jaipur, January 2-3, 2010. Packet
  • Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, “Writing and Reading Tod’s Rajasthan: Interpreting the Text and Its Historiography,” in Jos Gommans and Om Prakash, eds,, Circumambulations in South Asian History: Essay in Honour of Dirk H. A. Kolff, Leiden Boston, Brill, 2003. Packet or Library reserve.

The vernacular history found in the Amar Chitra Katha draws heavily on Tod whose bardic sourced history may be an early if not the first version of vernacular history in India. For reference to Tod’s main work see James Tod, Annals & Antiquities of Rajasthan ,In two volumes. New Delhi, Rupa & Co., paperback 1997 and subsequent impressions.

For why and how Tod imagined “the Rajpoot states of Western India” in terms of the feudal and medieval revival and aspects of the Scottish Enlightenment of his time see Volume 1. “Sketch of the Feudal System in Rajathan. Chapters I – V, pp.107 -158.

For Tod’s view of the various sources of history other than archival available in Rajputana, particularly bardic sources, see “Author’s Introduction,” Vol 1, xiii – xx.

For the story of Prithvi Raj including Tod’s validation of and reliance on the 12th century poem since proved spurious of Chand Bardai, see Volume I. Annals of Mewar. Chapter V. pp. 206 212.

Chand Bardai’s Prithvi Raj Rasa long enjoyed the status of an authentic historical account of Prithvi Raj Chauhan, known as the last Hindu emperor of Ajmer-Delhi. The reason is that its appeal is spread over more than one segment of society. Hindus are proud of it because it is ‘the story of the last Hindu Emperor.’ Historians draw from it to reconstruct the past for which other Indian texts are not available. Scholars of Hindi feel attached to Chand Bardai and his composition as the first poet of Hindi and the first epic in that language. Writing in the Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, Beams supposed the poem to be the ‘earliest work of Hindi Poetry’ and Chand to be the earliest poet in Hindi language. He thought that it was written about A.D 1200.

For the story of Padmini see Volume I, Annals of Mewar. Chapter VI. Pp. 212 -222.

For the story of Rana Pratap, see Volume I. Annals of Mewar. Chapter XI. Pp. 264 -278.