About the Book:
Elementary Aspects of the Political studies the rise of modern politics in India between the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries in the encounter between colonial modern, classical Indian, Indo-Persian and regional vernacular ideas. It unpacks the modern conception of the political into four elementary aspects – Self, Action, Idea and People – and shows how each element is structured around a conceptual instability, rendering its very elementary status questionable.
Thus, the political self is split by the tension between renunciation and realpolitik; action is driven by the contradiction between labour and nishakama karma, each with its distinctive means-end configuration; the idea torn by its troubled relationships with the economic and the spiritual; and the people forever strung between being pure structure, namely the political party, and being pure fiction, namely the protagonist of theatre, novel and poetry.
About the Author:
Prathama Banerjee is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi.