The First Annual Jalal Alamgir Memorial Lecture: Righteous Republic, with Ananya Vajpeyi

Date & Time April 10, 2013 7:30pm
Terrace Room, Paige Hall, Tufts University, Medford Campus

Ananya Vajpeyi comes to Tufts from New Delhi, India to give a talk on her 2012 book, “Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India, “ honored with the Harvard University Press’ Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize for outstanding first manuscript. Ananya Vajpeyi is with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, India, where she works on intellectual history, political theory and critical philology.

Taking five of the most important founding figures—Mohandas Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, Jawa- harlal Nehru, and B.R. Ambedkar—Vajpeyi looks at how each of them turned to classical texts in order to fashion an aoriginal sense of Indian selfhood. These included Buddhist literature, the Bhagavad Gita, Sanskrit poetry, the edicts of Emperor Ashoka, and the artistic and architectural achievements of the Mughal Empire. India’s founders went to these sources not to recuperate old philosophical frameworks but to invent new ones. In Righteous Republic, a portrait emerges of a group of innovative, synthetic, and cosmopolitan thinkers who succeeded in braiding together two Indian knowledge traditions, the one political and concerned with social questions, the other religious and oriented toward transcendence.

This event honors the life of Jalal Alamgir, Bangladeshi academic, activist, and professor of Political Science at University of Massachusetts Boston, whose passing in late 2011 was a sad and shocking loss to the Tufts and IGL community and to Bangladeshi politics.