Edited by Akeel Bilgrami
9.5 x 6.25 inches
xiv + 314 pages
As a tribute to Javeed Alam and his exemplary life, some of his close friends and admirers have come together in this volume with reflections on the range of themes that he pursued in his work with such intelligence and relish for some four decades: the nature of capitalism and the various angles of a Marxist response to it, the nature of secularism and liberalism and the forms of modernity which they usher in, and Gandhi’s political ideas in the context of Indian society and India’s own unfolding modernity.
Akeel Bilgrami, the editor of the volume, is the Sidney Morgenbesser Chair of Philosophy and the Director of the South Asian Institute at Columbia University. The contributors to the volume include Irfan Habib, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Utsa Patnaik, Charles Taylor, Prabhat Patnaik, Aijaz Ahmad and Partha Chatterjee, among others.
Javeed Alam was born on 12 August 1943 to Khadija and Alam Khundmiri in what was then the State of Hyderabad, ruled by the Nizam. His first memories are of independence and the struggle of the Telangana peasantry in which his family was involved. His early thinking and his commitments were much influenced by his father who was a philosopher of high distinction, and his mother who along with her husband was a keen activist in Left politics in Hyderabad. He studied in Hyderabad’s Alia School and then completed his BA and MA degrees at Osmania University, getting a gold medal for standing first in the MA. He went to Delhi to do his PhD at the Indian School of International Studies, eventually getting his doctorate from Jawaharlal Nehru University with which the ISIS was merged. He started his career teaching at Delhi University’s Salwan College, where his stand against the administration, which had terminated his services for marrying a Hindu, led to a larger agitation that successfully defended the secular character of the University. From 1973 to 1999 he taught at Himachal Pradesh University. A popular teacher who inspired generations of students, he also played a vital role in building Left politics in that state. His writings on Indian politics, political theory, federalism, democracy, modernity and Left politics have helped to shape many of the academic and political debates of the past three decades. He returned to Hyderabad in the late 1990s and taught at the English and Foreign Languages University from which he retired in 2005. He was Chairman of the Indian Council for Social Science Research from 2008 to 2011. In his retirement, he lives in Hyderabad with his wife Jayanti.