Sunday, January 28, 2018

Montage Evening

Bombay. January of 2016, half past five in the evening. You are in a taxi, passing along Marine Drive. The afterglow of sun packs itself for later. That way it might last longer. Amblers and wayfarers gather at the sea. The city faintly buzzes in the horizon, a loud arc of traffic extends behind you. A sleepless skyline stapled with the sun and a metropolis. You are not sure yet if you talk, watch, rush, or savour the ocean’s quiet. A multitude of stories that throb like unknown hearts. An indifferent sea as witness. It’s a mixture of a thousand things. Maybe it’s the crashing waves, maybe it’s the calm.

[Photographs from a moving taxi. A tribute to sunlight that let the silhouettes form. This montage catches glimpses from a Black and White dream.]

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hegel in Mumbai

Bombay called me back in November this year! This happy, sleepless city, not shy about its love. 

During the weekend at Mumbai LitFest 2017 - Tata Literature LiveHegel’s India was caught lazing among 'Award-Winning Books' at Landmark at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point!

Limelight and citylights. Bridges and dreams. Sea and sky. Flight and height. Turns and curves. Taxis and walks. Sleep and wake. Slow and fast. Hues and night.

Hegel’s India - In Marx and Philosophy Review of Books!

‘Not only have Rathore and Mohapatra carefully collated Hegel’s writings on India, including translations of hitherto unfamiliar texts, in their brilliant reinterpretation of these writings, provide a justification, which is both sympathetic and critical, of Hegel’s engagement with India . . . Intellectuals and activists challenging entrenched casteism and the upsurge of Hindu fundamentalism in India will be eternally grateful for Hegel’s India.'

A lucid and humbling review of the book! 

Read the full review here.

Karthick Ram Manoharan, Marx and Philosophy Review of Books15 December 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hegel’s Gita – A Philosopher Haunted by Indian Spirit

An excerpt from Hegel’s IndiaA Reinterpretation, about Hegel’s little known writings on the Bhagavad Gita.

By Aakash Singh Rathore and Rimina Mohapatra 
Published in The Wire, 4 November 2017

It is little known that the great teacher of Karl Marx, German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, wrote extensively on the Gita. Hegel’s long two-part essay entitled, “On the Episode of the Mahabharata Known by the Name Bhagavad-Gita by Wilhelm von Humboldt” is a detailed critique of not only the Indological work of Humboldt, but also of the philosophical foundations and teachings of the Gita itself.

Read more here.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Hegel's India nominated for the 


Book of the Year (non-fiction)!

Sharing space with these stars:

NONFICTION: Pankaj Mishra, Shashi Tharoor, Meena Menon, Arun Shourie, Milan Vaishnav

FICTION: Arundhati Roy, Anees Salim, Sujit Saraf, Shahnaz Bashir, Easterine Kire, Meena Kandasamy

Stunned and thrilled, goosebumps!

#tataliteraturelive #tatalitlive #litlive


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

'The Land of Desire' -- A Review of 'Hegel’s India: A Reinterpretation, with Texts'

An extract:
'Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s sustained engagement with India has always been something of a puzzle. His views on India, “the land of desire,” cannot, despite interpretive acrobatics, be described as anything but hostile. Yet, there is a seriousness of purpose in his engagement . . .  the useful introduction by Aakash Singh Rathore and Rimina Mohapatra to their usable anthology of Hegel’s writings on India does not dissent from this explanation, but hints that there must be something more to the matter. After all, Hegel is constantly revising the material he incorporates on India, whether it is in his lecture cycles on history and religion or the material in his encyclopaedia. There is also the palpable intensity of engagement that comes through in all the writings collected in this volume . . . It is wonderful to have access to these writings in one volume. The introduction gives a tour d’horizon of the sources Hegel consulted and the interpretive controversies surrounding his work on India . . . But reading Hegel is always challenging. If the difficulties are great, so are the stakes. Even in his most prejudiced criticism, he could shine a light on unusual questions.' 

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, 'The Land of Desire', 11 February 2017, The Indian Express

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The distinctiveness of German Indology – and its expression in German philosophy

On one side, posturing against his intellectual rivals (that is, the German romantics, great champions of Indian wisdom) Hegel treated Indian thought with acerbic contempt, riding roughshod over the subtle distinctions which, during cooler and more contemplative moments, he himself took great pains to tease out, articulate, and explore. 

See more here

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Six Windows

1 Chance thought it was a Sunday. Swirled a nightful. Erased telephone calls.

2 Will knew because she took a late taxi. Hours after, moon met unsure rainwind.

3 Will wanted to read. Starstorms of Chance's reluctant, moody fiction.

4 Chance went home. Left time hanging on curtains.

5 Bent forests in Will's noodle bowl. But Chance wanted pizza.

6 Sleepless city lay on Anonymity sea. Chance got two film tickets and popcorn. Bleary Will woke from a bad dream that second. Phone screen lit. A text from Chance:

'Want to bet?'

#midnightcrawler #christmasstory #winterdoodle

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hegel's India: A Reinterpretation, with Texts

In his writings on India, Hegel characterized Indian thought as “fantastic,” “subjective,” “wild,” “dreamy,” “frenzied,” “absurd,” and “repetitive”. 
If Indian art, religion, and philosophy were so inadequate, what explains his life-long fascination with India? This unique volume brings together Hegel’s reflections and argues that Indian thought haunted him, representing a nemesis to his own philosophy. Further, it indicates that the longstanding critical appraisals of Hegel are incommensurate with his detailed explorations of Indian thought. Hegel distinguished his own thought on two grounds. The first was to focus on freedom and to rail perpetually against the caste system. The second was to indicate the necessity for dialectical mediation, and thus to reprove the stasis of Indian thought. But did Hegel ever manage to exorcise the evil twin that beset his work? Shedding new light on Indological and Hegelian studies, this book systematically presents all of Hegel’s writings on and about India for the first time, including translations of his lesser-known essays on the Bhagavad-Gita and the Oriental Spirit, along with a substantive reinterpretation and a bibliography.


Announcing my new co-authored book: Hegel's India: A Reinterpretation, with Texts (with Aakash Singh Rathore), on the inimitable philosopher's obsessive affair with India, published by Oxford University Press! Breaks the myth around this continental Godfather (precursor to Marx, Nietzsche, phenomenology, existentialism, psychoanalysis, semiotics, positivism, analytic philosophy, critical theory, structuralism and all things post).

Žižek, maverick Slovenian pop star, bitterly named 'the most dangerous philosopher in the West' and the 'Elvis of cultural theory', has decided to break in and write a note for it! 

"In our postcolonial times, Hegel’s thoughts on India seem to allow only one reaction: an outright rejection of Hegel’s racist Eurocentrism. Hegel’s India takes the challenge of a detailed reading of Hegel’s texts with a surprising result: behind Hegel’s dismissal of India, there lies not only his profound fascination with India but also an uncanny proximity between India’s ancient wisdom and Hegel’s speculative thought. Beneath Hegel’s India, we can discern the traces of what would have been India’s Hegel. [This book] provides a model of how a dialogue between different cultures should be practiced, beyond the confines of Eurocentrism and historicist relativism." — Slavoj Žižek 

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Melancholia and Delight
Didn't go to the fair
They went their ways
As rapacious rainbows
Hid and surfaced
Sulking harmonica
Sent anonymous 
To Jack-in-the-box
Insomniac, imbecile
Rooted restless glue
Jugglers played the flute
Under wild midsummer
Raced the circus tent
Melancholia reached home
But Delight lost her way
Accidentally met the box
Fair came by instead
To complicated cube
Neon whirl


Can of an ocean haze. 
Rustle of a sand sheet.
Wind truant handkerchief.
Pocket rock surreptitious.

[November 8, 2014]

Clock Tower

Alone rushed
Kindred past
Didn't you know
That hours wait
Stillness stops by
Lazy they'd meet
In cloaked seconds
Fade out and cut
Clockwork love
Time for none

[August 14, 2014]


Somersaults of a wily noon
Tell you the toyest lie
Pieces of a twisted compass
Pointing south, skewed high
Tumble in the current
Where static sticks like magnet
In electric charge twines
Acrobat dream
Whirlwind deadlock

[August 14, 2014]

Perfect Ten

Streetened dust
Cast in bones 
Strange, hidden
Bitter, remains
Where reflections hang 
Upon tungsten shards
Flashes of faraway frolic
A dreamy iris watches 
Behind nose-pressed glass
Like a falling kite trapped
Whiffs appetise, famished, waits
Yellow fire, crimson smoke
Sprinkle salt, spices call
Whipped wounds on the side
Tossed and shaken
In a newspaper packet
Hate and hope
Served mint fresh

[July 27, 2014]


Windscreen winding
Roadside rising
Glinting asphalt
Twilight shining
Nets on wayside
Trees, wild, hiding

Stardust memories 
Of long ago
Revolving, forgetting 
That they met before
Whenever you crossed
Driving in rain
Losing and finding
Your bluest vein

[June 21, 2014]

Yellow 12

Yellow 12
Cut square and firm
Mountain pieces from ago
And fractions of a puckish sky
Wound in those stranger pines

[June 7, 2014]

Saturday, August 02, 2014


It stood still
When you fell
Held aloft
Silent, seeing
Snip a time-warp
It is pastime

Mending turn
Word alone
Yours or mine
Fighting light
A fraction run
Swapping veins
Steal a wish
Hang it dry

Saturday, July 26, 2014


There is that
A dream asleep
Flaming eyes
Crooked whim
Rouse the intrigue
Wrong, then real
Awake yet?

[Oct 6, 2013]


Gash cable. Vein-opener
Skin glider. Paperknife
Stone scissors. Glue lies
Word emulsifier. Deceit brush
Stamped faith. Sealed eyes
Wrangled wedges. Memory dust
And a branded truth tape

[July 19, 2014]


Shining hour | Routine high
A chair of lies | Holds fort
Indolent chatter | Canopies of pride
The jury confers | Curious ears
As the air fills | With snug delight
Farces huddle | In rugged bonhomie
Ringing lights | Clinking notes
The key witness | Honourable deceit
Under oath | Unwavering
Accused |
Wronged, it waits | Crushing faith
As the hapless clock | Grim, ticks
Verdict then | Drowning din
Truth is tied | In second place.

[Dec 18, 2013]

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Stage these words
They knock unexpected
Cobalt afternoons
To play and run away
A dream ice-cream cone
Caught in glittering eyes
On a rainy day
Out of breath, dripping wet

Stage these words
They hide in green rooms
As the cyclorama shimmers
Light and wind lashing
That golden sheen
On a brazen screen
They never truly show
Cast only a hint
Distant hazy, warm dewy
Shadows of the roles you play

Stage these words
They watch you rehearse
Behind the blinding white
Against limelight
Bared before all
Yet nobody will see
They filch your shoe
Just before curtains rise
Step along the wings
Fiddle with your mirrors
Stuffed suitcases
Rummage, fling, all over
Sword and scarf
Only to find, lay them back
Nimble, softly, one at a time
A lone checkered pocket
Stage these words
They spin to the tune
Out of step and frantic
Whistling as they go
In irreverent melody
Like the top swirls red
On the familiar terrace
When a door is left ajar
In the glistening streets
Edgy, drenched
Soon dusty, sunlit
Meet the bicycle bell

Stage these words
They confound actors
Prompt false lines, overwrite
Bioscope wordplay
Tell tales of fire
Still, rage, desire
Distract, deflect, inkblot shapes
Across the rustic fence
A crossroad faraway
Walk through the wild grass
When you turn back
Lock in intractable gaze

Stage these words
They block your way
Bystanders, passersby
Stun striding stilts, wanderers at will
Conjure train sets, break into song
Rough pitch, off-key
Watch a tepid sea dark
Crash more than once
Rocks and breeze
They fuse lyrics, old favourites
Waylay you, by the stairs
Dot, square, deal
Unscript what was to be
Strictly to script

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Raft ashore
Stumbles once
A dream rolled
Into a thin paper pipe
A blue bottle
Of liquid memory
In what is unsaid
Alive calls


That windscreen 
Blinked as he left
A distant second
Dishevelled, disarrayed
Bleary-eyed, stared
Tinted rain
In roads unseen
Waited, darkly met

Stranger storm
Called to say
This unknown pace
Brought blazing winds
Hoary lightning
Can't only be
Some different way

Milestones walk
With memories
Proud, they watch
Race petrol vapour
Trailing dust
Fading smoke
It’s Route-22
Cast away
Roadblock orange
Won't the highway
Ever slow down
Breathless stop
At the caution board
And wave

This hypnotic dashboard
Sings awhile
When gears and tyres
Confused, unwarned
Roll and gather sheen
And no one tells him
That he's been shadowed
Once before
That a dream cascade
Has been there since time
Under construction

One Hundred

It was to be. A dizzying whiff of words. Mixed in the air. Like a blue vein had cut through pale skin. Remembered. That golden, audacious sight melted every wall. Diffused the ink, brewed cold ash. The acidic cacophony of colour. Left a gash. Wrapped amid rising grass. As a withering yellow rustle trailed behind. Crept, knelt, and breathed low. A touch of a song rose from somewhere. Nebulous, hovering, falling. Drowned everything. Then that haunting ripple. Entered his fearful heart. Pulse pouncing. Impish, smiling, caught in an afternoon getaway.

Like the din of an evening's laugh. Ringing breeze. Hiding in a light-less, crowded corner. In confused rain, familiar banter, and a damning conspiracy. It was to be.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Reading Hegel: Reprise II

Reading Hegel: Reprise

Must you wake? When the ebb is out. 
A cliff watching. Bring a crumpled tale. 
Afloat. Lost happily. And shining.

Just published: South Asia edition of Reading Hegel: The Introductions (Edited and introduced by Aakash Singh and Rimina Mohapatra). New Delhi: Manohar, 2013. 

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Reading Hegel: The Introductions

G.W.F. Hegel 

Edited and introduced by Aakash Singh 
and Rimina Mohapatra

Bringing together for the first time all of G.W.F. Hegel’s major Introductions in one place, this book ambitiously attempts to present readers with Hegel’s systematic thought through his Introductions alone. The Editors articulate to what extent, precisely, Hegel’s Introductions truly reflect his philosophic thought as a whole. Certainly each of Hegel’s Introductions can stand alone, capturing a facet of his overarching idea of truth. But compiled all together, they serve to lay out the intricate tapestry of Hegel’s thought, woven with a dialectic that progresses from one book to another, one philosophical moment to another.

Hegel’s reflections on philosophy, religion, aesthetics, history, and law—all included here—have profoundly influenced many subsequent thinkers, from post-Hegelian idealists or materialists like Karl Marx, to the existentialism of Kierkegaard and Jean-Paul Sartre; from the phenomenological tradition of Edmund Husserl to Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida and other post-moderns, to thinkers farther afield, like Japan’s famous Kyoto School or India’s Sri Aurobindo. This book provides the opportunity to discern how the ideas of these later thinkers may have originally germinated in Hegel’s writings, as well as to penetrate Hegel’s worldview in his own words, his grand architecture of the journey of the Spirit.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


On a day it would
Cease to end
Time stopped by
On a dreamful frolic

Duped by a blemish
Shining lies
A tiny speck
Flung ashore
Under the watchful guard
Of an idle moon
You wait still
For the tempestuous one
In a stormy quiet
Disarming eyes
Edging ahead
Of that proud time
And all else that is 

Or can be.