Reconceptualizing India Studies by Balagangadhara–a new book

What does it mean to be an Indian in this time and age? What does India have to give to the contemporary world? These overarching questions that echo in the mind of the post-colonial Indian cannot be truly answered by Western frameworks instituted at the behest of colonialism.

This book sets the stage for a reconceptualization of India studies. Clearing away intellectual deadwood, it initiates a process of comparative study of cultures. The volume scrutinizes the Western studies on India, including contemporary writings on Hinduism, the nature of inter-cultural dialogues, and their implications for normative political philosophy.

S.N. Balagangadhara puts forth the case to translate Indian traditions to the twenty-first century idiom. He urges the need to analyse and understand Indian contributions to human knowledge.

  • Re-examines postcolonial studies and modern India as a domain of study.
  • Provides new perspective on Hinduism, caste system, and secularism.
  • Discusses foremost contemporary thinkers like Edward Said and Karl Popper

This book asserts that postcolonial studies and modern India studies are in need of theoretical rejuvenation. Post Said’s Orientalism, postcolonialism, as a discipline, has drifted into the realm of paralysing self-reflection and impenetrable jargon. This volume addresses the original concerns of postcolonial studies and the central problems of modern India studies, and points out a potential direction for the social-scientific study of the Indian culture at a time when it is being challenged from all sides. Stressing the need for an alternative understanding of the Western culture, Balagangadhara argues that Hinduism, caste system, and secularism are not colonial constructs but entities within the Western cultural experience. He believes that the so-called facts about India and her traditions are a result of colonial consciousness. To answer the questions about Indian traditions, we need to understand the Western culture.

This book will be of considerable interest to all those interested in understanding Indian society, culture, and traditions. Scholars and students of history, philosophy, sociology, and postcolonial studies will also find this very useful.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
1: ‘Culture’ and the ‘Cultural': Problems, Pitfalls and a Proposal
2: The Future of the Present: Rethinking the Post-colonial Project
3: Comparative Science of Cultures: A Methodological Reflection
4: Colonialism and Colonial Consciousness
5: India and Her Traditions: An Open Letter to Jeffrey Kripal
6: Are Dialogues an Antidote to Violence?
7: Intercultural Encounters, Reasonable Dialogues, and Normative Political Theory
8: The Secular State and the Religious Conflict
Bibliography
Index

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