This insightful video (produced by Dalit Camera) is perhaps the most rigorous perspective with regard to the statement made by Prof. Ashis Nandy at the Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF). Baraza has nothing but deep respect and warm regard for Prof. Ashis Nandy. We have enjoyed his support and good wishes. As a forum, we do not hold an opinion with regard to the issue at hand. Though, as the South Asia Coordinator responsible for the South Asia content produced during this academic year, I would like to express my deep disappointment with regard to the manner in which Professor Nandy phrased his observation, as well as the manner in which he chose to react to the backlash.
Five Questions with Professor Ashis Nandy
2011 has marked a new model of revolution that stem from practical realities and shun standardized theory. What do you think the prospects are for such demands for change that function in the absence of macro-social frameworks and ideologies? What ideas or discourses are likely to rise to the fore in the future? Does the nation state have a future as the main unit of political organization? If not, how will people and societies be organized?
The recording is now available for the public conversation between Prof. Hamid Dabashi and Prof. Ashis Nandy.
The two eminent scholars raised crucial questions revolving around the theme of “state, culture, and human imagination.” Professor Dabashi and Professor Nandy brought to this discussion their respective conceptions of these central ideas. Of particular interest was the nature of the modern state and its viability within the context of changing epistemological, discursive, and temporal spaces. Professor Nandy suggests that the advent of the modern state has wreaked devastation upon societies by imposing the necessity of a cultural homogenization project. Building upon this idea, Professor Dabashi questions the viability of the modern state, in the Weberian sense, suggesting that the amorphous state has a greater tolerance for critical thinking than a totalitarian nation-state. The public conversation between Professor Dabashi and Professor Nandy is crucial to Baraza’s own work, which seeks to imagine – and create – a space that not only facilitates engagement within the geographic and disciplinary boundaries of Area Studies. It also encourages the production of new discursive modes around which these engagements can be centered.