It has been long since I read something of serious nature in terms of ‘true non-fiction’. Recently, I asked the Orient BlackSwan for a copy of India, The West, and International Order, edited by Kanti Bajpai and Siddharth Mallavarapu. Published in 2019, the book is very different in nature. The book takes the readers into a world of original Indian thought – thoughts that originated in India and became internationally important. The editors have introduced to the very definition of this concept and also helped the readers in understanding the nuances of this extremely useful, helpful and much-needed collection.
The Book in a Nutshell:
India, The West, and International Order is a collection of intellectual writings about India and Indian by 9 eminent figures of the pre-independence era. Among them, Swami Vivekananda, Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi and M S Golwalkar are the eminent ones and others are also up to the mark in their judgements and notions (featuring in their writings). There is a collection of 23 intellectual pieces of writing by 9 people. However, the choices of including the number of written pieces by these included figures, actually, confused me. I would have wanted to read more of Swami Vivekananda because even the editors agree that he was the shape-designer of modern India as we see today (really?). However, whatever is there is good!
What does strike me the most?
“At the very outset, let it be made clear that it is not the modern thinkers who are the first in the filed to think in terms of world unity and universal welfare. Long long ago, in fact, long before the so-called modern age had set in, the seers and savants of this land had delved deep into this vital question.”
It features in Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar’s writing, included in the collection, Our World Mission. In the above-quoted extract from his piece, Golwalkar makes it clear that most of the things that we can think and not even distantly think of have already been done and seen by our ancient ancestors and there is no shame in taking inspiration from them! What inspires us to think more and more about Indianness and ancient Indian heritage? It is writing like the above-mentioned extract! Undoubtedly, there is much treasure within (India) than we can ever find outside! Likewise, the writings of Veer Savarkar and Swami Vivekananda, and even of Sayyid Abdul A’la Maududi, are very bearing and important. However, Much of Maududi’s writing represent his own views rather than a collective ‘Indian’ view (I think so). And so, I am impressed by the very motive of the editors and the publisher (known for such driving ideas) that they have come out with something like this. This collection will certainly inspire the readers to think about what they read and possibly look for more (if they are really stirred).
I would recommend this book for:
All the readers who want to explore more of Indian thoughts and trace the development of something that might be called ‘Indian Consciousness’ should read this book. As the title suggests, India, The West, and International Order, the book has things in ‘order’ and the pieces included in the book allow the readers to have a glimpse into ‘Indianness’ in the context of the Western influence. In his piece, The Sick Nations of the Modern Age (originally published in October 1935), Sayyid Maududi foresees:
“The problem is not confined to any single Muslim nation; the entire world of Islam is passing through this critical revolution. And much of the blame of this dangerous situation must be accepted by our leaders of religion.”
Are you serious about looking into this book? Then you should not wait any further! Have your copy from Amazon and read what Indians thought of the Indianness put against the West in ‘that’ time. I am sure the next volumes will also be equally interesting in this series. All the best for your read! You can get your copy from Amazon India by clicking the link below:
The review was sponsored by Ashvamegh Publications – best self-publishing company in India!
India, The West, and International Order740 Rs
Selection of Writings3.5/5
Appeal to Modern Readers3.0/5
Ease of Reading3.0/5
- Quality Writings by Eminent Personalities
- Powerful Introduction to the Book
- Very Helpful for Researchers
Could be avoided
- Number of works by various included authors could be more
- Could include one or two more on the cost of a few writings
- For a limited section of readers