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

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