Bangalore International Centre had arranged a Book Launch-cum-Discussion on the book “Righteous Republic – The Political Foundations of Modern India” authored by Ms. Ananya Vajpeyi, Visiting Fellow with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, and a Senior Fellow with the American Institute of Indian Studies
on Wednesday, 24th April 2013 at 6:30 pm. Dr. Ramachandra Guha, eminent Historian and Writer chaired and moderated the discussion. Dr. Guha also released the book formally.
The book was about what India’s founders derived from Western political traditions as they struggled to free their country from colonial rule is widely understood. Less well-known is how India’s own rich knowledge traditions of two and a half thousand years influenced these men as they set about constructing a nation in the wake of the Raj. In Righteous Republic, Ananya Vajpeyi furnished this missing account, a groundbreaking assessment of modern Indian political thought. Taking five of the most important founding figures—Mohandas Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru, and B. R. Ambedkar—Vajpeyi looked at how each of them turned to classical texts in order to fashion an original sense of Indian selfhood.
The interactive discussion after the talk, inevitably threw up the question – why only five were chosen and why no Indian from the South featured among the five. With discerning frankness, Ananya clarified that her selection was basically subjective, based on her understanding about the emergence of the new Indian identity in the wake of the colonial rule and that it was not her intention to belittle or ignore the contributions made by several others. The witty and the lively observations made by the moderator, Dr. Ramachandra Guha, made the discussion extremely interesting.