Sumit Sarkar. Essays of a Lifetime: Reformers, Nationalists, Subalterns. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2019. Pp. xiv + 650.

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Narasingha Sil

Abstract

Karl Marx of post Napoleonic Prussia and the defunct (after 1806) Holy Roman Empire, is reported to have observed in respect of the manuscript of his Capital (1867) that he was “expanding this volume [for the publishers], since those German scoundrels estimate the value of a book in terms of its cubic capacity” (letter to Friedrich Engels, June 18, 1862; emphasis added). Postcolonial India’s distinguished historian Professor Sumit Sarkar’s massive tome may not have been deliberately produced to satisfy the business interests of any roguish publishers but manifestly intended for worldwide circulation of his scholarship (mostly published in India including some which may not have been easily accessible outside of the subcontinent). The magnificently produced Gesammelte Schriften is loaded with densely written historical and historiographical essays. The Contents page lists them grouped in three sections: Bhakti and Samāj: Social reform and Religious Modernity (8), Nationalists and Subalterns (6), and Tributes (3). It is unclear why the author decided to include such non sequitur items as an obituary of a Marxist professor (and president) of Birkbeck College, London and reminiscences of a British labor historian, and of an erstwhile Indian Communist Party leader and the editor of an anthology to which Sarkar had contributed an article.

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How to Cite
Sil, N. (2019). Sumit Sarkar. Essays of a Lifetime: Reformers, Nationalists, Subalterns. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2019. Pp. xiv + 650. International Journal for Indian Studies, 4(1), 184-194. Retrieved from https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/Nidan/article/view/1198
Section
Book Reviews
Author Biography

Narasingha Sil, Western Oregon University