Simona Sawhney, author of the book Modernity of Sanskrit gave an excellent introduction to Nikhil Govind’s book, Between Love and Freedom. She began her talk by commenting on Nikhil’s use of language, which is never prosaic and a delight to read. This is a danger that many writers of academia falls into, however. Nikhil’s writing not only manages to escape such a problem, but he manages to even write with a flair for the poetic. Nikhil’s innovativeness lies in the fact that he, perhaps for the very first time in academics, manages to bring together the two completely different aspects of love and freedom in the figure of the revolutionary.
Nikhil traces the figure of the revolutionary right from the Bengali literary tradition in Bankim Chandra’s Anand Math down through Saratchandra and Rabindranath Tagore to the writings of three major Hindi novelists of the 1930s-Jainendra, Agyeya and Yashpal. One of the aims of the book is to look at how the relationship between the figure of the revolutionary and sexual and political freedom changes through the first half of the 20th century. After the introduction to Nikhil’s book, there were selected readings from the writings of Bankim, Yashpal, Bhagat Singh, Agyeya, Bachchan and Jainendra. The readings were done by Matteo, Sharmada, Esther, Asim, Tanuja, and Blessy.
Report by: Kimaya Khashnobish
Photography: Sissi Hamann