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Listening to the Loom

Essays on Literature, Politics and Violence

Edited and Introduced by Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi

Listening to the Loom brings to light a previously unknown body of ideas and essays from renowned Indian Dalit scholar D. R. Nagaraj, representing his most important writings on literature, politics, and violence. Comprised of thirteen pieces-- the majority dating from between 1993 and 1998--the book covers a period when Nagaraj produced some of his most important insights.

The title comes from a story recounted by the novelist U. R. Ananthamurthy. Once, while walking in Kathmandu with Nagaraj, his companion asked him to stop and listen to the sound of a weaver’s loom that only he had heard. Ananthamurthy recalls saying to Nagaraj that so long as he retained this ability to hear the sound of a loom, he would never become a “non-resident Indian” intellectual. In this volume, Nagaraj’s ear for the sound and sense of things quintessentially Indian is undeniably apparent.

392 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2014

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Political Science: Comparative Politics

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Table of Contents

Editor’s Note and Acknowledgements
Introduction: Garuda in Search of Nectar—On the Narrative Imagination of D. R. Nagaraj
Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi
Part I: Kannada’s Cultural Imagination
1. Critical Tensions in the History of Kannada Literary Culture
2. The Creative Imagination of U. R. Ananthamurthy
3. Chandrashekar Kambara: The Playwright of Comic Energy
4. The Comic Collapse of Authority: An Essay on the Fears of the Public Spectator
5. The Forms of Kannada Nationalism
6. New Orality and Poetry
Part II: Politics and Violence
7. Beyond the Essentialist and Constructivist Paradigms: Notes on Indian Pluralism
8. The Ethics and Aesthetics of Violence
9. A Tibetan Dog, the Silent Sadhus, and the Peasants of Champaran: Notes on Violence, Non-Violence, and Counter-Violence in Gandhi
10. Anxious Hindu and Angry Farmer: Notes on the Culture and Politics of Two Responses to Globalization in India
11. The Tiger and the Magical Flute: Notes on Minorities
12. Spirituality and Social Action
13. Ashis Nandy: An Introduction
Appendix A: List of D.R. Nagaraj’s Writings
Amulya Nagaraj
Appendix B: A Folk Story

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