India and the Unthinkable: Backwaters Collective on Metaphysics and Politics

ISBN : 9780199466863

Vinay Lal; Roby Rajan
276 ページ
138 x 216 mm

A remarkable but little commented on feature of the various discourses on India circulating today is the near total absence of its metaphysical heritage as a source of illumination into our contemporary condition. On the few occasions that this heritage is explicitly invoked, it is either as a subsidiary aspect of some purportedly larger concept such as religion, civilization, history, tradition etc., or as a set of quaint speculations fit for study as a tertiary branch of history of philosophy or religion but with little claim to political relevance. But is this neglect as innocent as it appears? Or might it be that the metaphysical heritage confronts us with the disavowed - indeed the unthinkable that lurks behind our current obsessions: progress and development; modernity and tradition; faith and secularism; history and myth; fundamentalism and tolerance? The central claim of this book is that the metaphysical heritage has an autonomy and dignity of its own not subsumable under any other concept whatsoever; and that furthermore, our national self-understanding and its place in the current system of global knowledge are founded on a wholesale effacing of this heritage. The collective contention of the papers in this volume is that a full and proper understanding of our ever lengthening catalogue of social afflictions and pathologies demands that we squarely confront the consequences of this fateful evasion, no matter how unsettling it might be to our vaunted notions about ourselves. Only in and out of such a self-encounter can we hope to break out of our thralldom to the currently hegemonic vision of humanitys future - a vision that is already bankrupt in every respect, but which nonetheless seems able to reproduce itself without end.


c Preface: Civilizational Dialogues and the Politics of a Collective - Vinay Lal
Vinay Lal and Roby Rajan
Introduction: Post-metaphysics and the Future of an Illusion - Roby Rajan
1. Is Metaphysics Political? Sundar Sarukkai
2. A Disowned Father of the Nation in India: Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and the Demonic and the Seductive in Indian Nationalism - Ashis Nandy
3. Backwater Disclosure: Ontological Politics and the Dialectics of Intercommunality - Roby Rajan
4. The Politics and Metaphysics of Intellectual Practices: Ashis Nandy and U. R. Ananthamurthy in Conversation - Edited and annotated by Vinay La
5. A Marriage Made in Heaven? How Metaphysics Transforms Politics: A Case Study - Julius Lipner
The Transmutation of Metaphysics and Politics in Literature - N. Manu Chakravarthy
7. Moving in the Double Bind: Reconfiguring Indian Reflective and Creative Traditions Today - D. Venkat Rao
8. Unarv: The Poetic Factor in Metaphysics and Politics - M. C. Dinakaran and Anish Damodaran
Notes on Contributors


Vinay Lal is Professor of History and Asian-American Studies at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and has written widely on modern Indian history, colonialism, the worldwide Indian diaspora, the politics of knowledge systems, public and popular culture in India, American politics, and the moral and political thought of Gandhi.; Roby Rajan is Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and has published internationally in a wide variety of disciplines including operations research, economic theory, game theory, Marxist theory, and aesthetic theory.