Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Intellectual Roots of the Independence Movement in India: 1893-1918 by Dr Prithwindra Mukherjee

from Prithwindra Mukherjee Prithwindra@aol.com to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 26 October 2010 14:10 subject
Bhâi Tusâr, Thanks.
Enclosing a translation of Mr Attali's foreword. As you know, Mr Attali had been appointed advisor by former President François Mitterand, and is considered to be foremost among Western thinkers today. Regards.
Prithwindra Mukherjee
A Fascinating Thesis
Jacques Attali      
            No one leaves this great book by Prithwindra Mukherjee, unaffected by it.

            It is the work of a great intellectual, sociologist, writer, musicologist; a thesis begun under Raymond Aron and completed under Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, supported by the biggest shots of French university, like Annie Kriegel. A wonderful instance of the quality of a university, which can  welcome within its fold someone coming from somewhere else and offering to France - in exchange - more than what she has given him. 

            This fascinating book constitutes first of all a passionate tribute to a grandfather, activist and martyr, whose place in the history of India has not been recognised as it deserved to be, in the front rank of the freedom fighters; simultaneously with a look for details, lucid, distancing itself, concerning a period very little known, that which, at the bend of the 19th to the 20th century, opens before India the path leading to the awareness of her identity, and the necessity of her fighting for independence.

            For too long a lapse, indeed, people have wished to think that Gandhi's non-violence had been enough to drive out the armies of the colonizer. That is not true. Before Gandhi succeeded in animating the vast social movement of the 1930s, there had been the great intellectual movement of Aurobindo, of Bagha Jatin, and of all those who strove by their side, at times up to death, enabling India to become aware of herself.

            This book is essential for understanding what today's India is, even in her violence,  and to put back in their due - the first - place, all the dreamers who, from Aurobindo to Tagore, from Gandhi to Patel  have trodden diverse paths  leading her to independence, in its diversity.

            It is essential as well for understanding the very special role that intellectuals played in all freedom movements, in India and elsewhere. And first of all their role in kindling the perception of the national idea, often artificial, often imaginary : here, Mr Mukherjee explains very well their driving power and the conditions of their crystallisation.  

            Essential, at last, for understanding the role of intellectuals in History, so often carried off by the consequences of their ideas, swept out, chased away, censored, by the very persons who implement their concepts.

            Become, by fluke of history, an exceptional musicologist and a great poet, having been set to music by the greatest musicians of our time, the author of this book reminds us that humanity is one, that music, poetry and politics are mere dimensions among other than human condition, and we have as yet much more to learn from India. Let France take advantage of it and establish relations necessary for our future. Jacques Attali

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