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Of Cricket, Guinness and Gandhi: Essays on Indian History and Culture

Vinay Lal (Author)
Synopsis The eight essays that comprise this book offer a ‘dissenting, futurist, and hermeneutic’ perspective on Indian civilization and various aspects of the modern cultural history of India. Feminism, subaltern studies, postcolonial theory and cultural studies have helped to pose new and important questions about our knowledge of India, but there has been insufficient engagement with local forms of knowledge, and with the non-modern, ahistoricist, mythic, vernacular and pluralist elements of Indian civilization. Although this scholarship offers rearrangements within the existing frames of knowledge, it seldom dispenses with the frames. This book is an attempt to help in establishing a tradition of modern Indian criticism, of which there are only a handful of practitioners in English in India today including Ashis Nandy, Rustom Bharucha, Shiv Visvanathan, and T.G. Vaidyanathan. The essays, all in an easily readable style, cover a wide range of cultural phenomena and offer a sweeping perspective on contemporary Indian society. They explore the national obsession with the Guinness Book of Records and the paranoia over VIP security, the politics of sexuality as embodied in the lifestyles of Hijras and the nationalist fervour over the nuclear tests. There are essays on the impossibility of the other in the Hindi film, on the world cup of cricket, on Gandhi’s life as an ecological treatise, and on Gandhi’s experiments with celibate sexuality. The idea of India as a nation-state is, as the essays suggest, slowly encroaching upon the idea of India as a civilization, and the essays explore how our finite games can be transformed into infinite games.
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About the author

Vinay Lal

Vinay Lal is Associate Professor of History, University of California at Los Angeles. His most recent works are Empire of Knowledge: Culture and Plurality in the Global Economy (Plato Press, 2002), of Cricket, Gandhi, and Guinness: Essays in Indian History and Culture (Seagul Press, 2002) and (edited) Dissenting Knowledge, Open Future: The Multiple Selves and Strange Destinations of Ashis Nandy (Oxford, 2000). He also wrote South Asian Cultural Studies: A Bibliography.

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Bibliographic information

Title Of Cricket, Guinness and Gandhi: Essays on Indian History and Culture
Author Vinay Lal
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2003
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8170461847
length xxiv+224p.
Subjects History