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Rustom Bharucha reviewed by Upendra Baxi in Frontline

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The Frontline review of Prof. Rustom Bharucha’s Terror and Performance by Prof. Upendra Baxi:


Rustom Bharucha reviewed by Upendra Baxi

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The Frontline review of Prof. Rustom Bharucha’s Terror and Performance by Prof. Upendra Baxi:

Marx, Gandhi and Modernity – Essays Presented to Javeed Alam

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Marx Gandhi and Modernity - cover

Edited by Akeel Bilgrami

July 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xiv + 314 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-39-6
Rs 750

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.

Planter Raj to Swaraj – Freedom Struggle and Electoral Politics in Assam

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Planter Raj cover PB 2014.psd

Amalendu Guha

June 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xxviii + 366 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-34-1
Rs 550

This is a re-issue of Amalendu Guha’s influential work on Assam and the North-East more than thirty years after its original publication, with a new Introduction by the author. Guha’s analysis extends from Assam in 1826, the year of the British annexation, to the post-independence conditions in 1950.

The peculiar features of the region’s plantation economy; the imperialism of opium cultivation; the problems of a steady influx of immigrants and the backlash of a local linguistic chauvinism; peasants’ and workers’ struggles; the evolution of the ryot sabhas, the Congress, trade unions and, later, the Communist Party – such are the themes that receive attention in this book, alongside an analysis of legislative and administrative processes.

The narrative is structured chronologically within an integrated Marxist framework of historical perspective, and is based on a wide range of primary sources.

Amalendu Guha is an eminent historian whose work covers twentieth century Afghanistan, medieval Assam, and from the saga of the early Parsi capitalists to tribal unrest in post-colonial North-East India. Trained as an economist, Guha has taught at Darrang College, Tezpur, the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune, and the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. He has been Professor of History at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata, and a member of both the Indian Council of Social Science Research and the Indian Council of Historical Research.

Cover design: Ram Rahman

Comprehensive History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh, Volume V- Late Medieval Andhra Pradesh AD 1324–1724

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Late Medieval Andhra Pradesh cover

Edited by R. Soma Reddy

June 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xxiv+764 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-38-9
Rs 1500

The present volume on Late Medieval Andhra Pradesh covers the period AD 1324 to AD 1724, which witnessedthe rise of large regional state powers such as the Vijayanagara kingdom, the Bahmanis, Gajapatis, Musunuris, Recherlas, Reddis and Later Gangas. The political formations of the period were military-centred as witnessed by the well-organized nayamkara system, which revolved around the creation of nayamkaras or military chiefs,and was the mainstay of the Vijayanagara rulers.

There was large-scale expansion of agriculture with the introduction of new crops like tobacco, tomato, potato and chillies, and phenomenal growth of trade in commodities like cotton and indigo. The trading and artisanal communities were organized in powerful guilds.

The constant flux of peoples of different languages, faiths, cultural modes and professions led to a liberal spirit of tolerance. Telugu literature flourished, and new genres were introduced in which outstandingworks were created. A significant feature of the times was the evolution of a composite Dakhni (Deccani)culture. Rulers, Hindu and Muslim alike, patronized religious institutions but did not allow religion to interfere in matters relating to administration. Sri Vaishnavism, which won royal support during the reign of Saluva Narasimha, was established in the royal house and court during Krishnadeva Raya’s rule. Numerous royal grants were given to Vaishnava temples and mathas. During Aravidu rule, the Tirumala temple occupied a premier position. Ahobalam was another centre in western Andhra that wielded great influence. The patronage of ruling chiefs of Shudra varna to Sri Vaishnava acharyas and temples fundamentally influenced their social and ritual ranking.

The sixteenth-century temple was an organized complex of sanctuaries and mandapas. Tadipatri, Lepakshi and Ahobalam deserve mention as examples. Placing a chariot in stone in the temple complex was a contribution of the Vijayanagara period. The Aravidu period contributed the gopura as a dominant feature of the temple complex. The detached gopura of Govindarajaswami Temple, Tirupati, is a fine example. The rulers of medieval Andhra seldom violated established norms of dharma, thereby ensuring the security and stability of their kingdoms.


V. Ramakrishna (General Editor), formerly Professor of History, University of Hyderabad, and founder member, Andhra Pradesh History Congress.

R. Soma Reddy (Editor), formerly Professor of History, Osmania University, Hyderabad.

I. Lakshmi (Co-Editor), Professor of History, Osmania University, Hyderabad.

C. Somasundara Rao, formerly Professor, Department of History and Archaeology, Andhra University,

B. Rajendra Prasad (late), formerly Professor, Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati.

Terror and Performance

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Rustom Bharucha

June 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xvi+252 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-37-2
Rs 695

Focusing on four primary motifs – ‘September 11’, Islamophobia, Truth and Reconciliation, and non-violence – this book offers a non-Eurocentric perspective on the dangerous liaisons between terror and performance. Instead of equating ‘terror’ with ‘terrorism’, it offers alternative epistemologies and narratives of terror by drawing on a vast spectrum of human cruelties relating to war, genocide, apartheid, communal and ethnic violence, in India, Rwanda, South Africa and Palestine, among other parts of the global South.

From exposing the liberal biases of ‘September 11’ as the paradigmatic event of terror in our times, the book reflects on how the ‘war on terror’ has catalysed an upsurge of Islamophobia in the performances of everyday life. Against the fictions of ‘passing’, ‘covering’ and ‘queering’ Muslim identities, the book juxtaposes the very real terror of genocide and communal violence in which Muslims have been marked and killed.

Extending the concept of ‘performance’ beyond theatre practice, the book also interrogates the performativity of political discourse with particular reference to state-sponsored processes of Truth and Reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda and post-apartheid South Africa. By contrasting the conflicting modalities of Truth and Reconciliation, it questions how the performances of guilt, confession and forgiveness can be valorized at the expense of securing justice for the victims.

To what extent can non-violence serve as an instrument of justice in the age of terror? Is it possible to envision justice outside the strictures of the law? The concluding chapter of this book probes these questions through the activist performances of Mahatma Gandhi in a larger context of critically re-examining his role as a one-man Truth Commission. Affirming the need for non-violent political resistance, Terror and Performance envisions how a turbulent peace may be realized through the uncertainties of the here and now.

Rustom Bharucha is Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies in the School of Arts and Aesthetics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the author of several books, including Theatre and the World, The Politics of Cultural Practice, The Question of Faith, In the Name of the Secular, Rajasthan: An Oral History and Another Asia: Rabindranath Tagore and Okakura Tenshin.

People’s ‘Warrior’ – Words and Worlds of P.C. Joshi

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People's Warrior cover

Edited by Gargi Chakravartty

March 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xxii + 474 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-36-5
Rs 995

Faced with many disappointments within the Communist Party to which he had dedicated his life and in the realm of politics beyond, P.C. Joshi turned to a deep and life-long engagement with the history of the Party. It was an engagement that led to the creation of a rich archive on the complex history of the Indian Left. On 1 December 1970, this collection was formally acquired by Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Joshi himself was the Director of this archive for the first five years, ably assisted by K. Damodaran. In 1974, the archive was set up as an adjunct to the School of Social Sciences, JNU, with its own advisory body.

The materials in the ‘P.C. Joshi Archives on Contemporary History’ consist primarily of documents and papers from the personal collection of P.C. Joshi. The cataloguing style that he developed, along with K. Damodaran, has been retained to the present. As such, it is divided between materials classified by year and those classified by themes. The materials include rare magazines and journals, publications of communist parties and various other Left groups from several parts of the globe; and books, pamphlets, photographs, and copies of important files and letters relating to the Communist Party of India.

P.C. Joshi himself had long been writing on a wide range of issues, commenting on contemporary political developments, on Party positions and strategies, on historical events and processes, and on debates and concerns among workers and peasants, artists and writers, students and the youth. Many of these were published in the journals with which he was associated, though some important reflections remained unpublished. This volume contains a selection from P.C. Joshi’s large body of writing, which will serve as an introduction to the man, his writings and his times. The articles are presented here in a chronological framework, starting with excerpts from P.C. Joshi’s memorable deposition in the Meerut Conspiracy Case and continuing to his last writings before he fell critically ill. The first chapter, titled ‘In His Own Words’, is an autobiographical note that he wrote on 7 November 1970. In addition to a selection of Joshi’s writings, the volume contains invited articles by scholars/writers which evaluate and contextualize P.C. Joshi and his times.

Gargi Chakravartty, formerly a faculty member of Maitreyi College, University of Delhi, is also a social activist. She is the author of Gandhi’s Challenge to Communalism (1987), Coming Out of Partition: Refugee Women of Bengal (2005) and P.C. Joshi: A Biography (2007).