Political & Spiritual Rhetoric (Semester 3)


This course explores the paradigmatic concerns of twentieth century India through a variety of genres— novels, autobiography, biography, essay and public speeches. Framed by Jawaharlal’s Nehru’s Discovery of India and Rabindranath Tagore’s essays on nationalism and the problematic self, the course travels through early anti-colonial sentiments, the turbulent years of the Swadeshi movement, the early imaginings of an Indian nation, visible and invisible revolutions in family spaces, spiritual experimentations, and culminates in the ruminations of Ambedkar. The authors included in this course will help critically frame the rhetorical concerns of the course: self and nationhood, sexual and spiritual politics, personal and political struggles.

Sample Texts:

Jawaharlal Nehru’s Discovery of India,

Tagore and Gandhi’s letters in Mahatma and the Poet,

Ambedkar’s Waiting for a Visa and Annihilation of Caste,

Bhagat Singh’s essays, Bankimchandra’s Anandmath,

Tagore’s Home and the World or Gora,

Sharatchandra’s Devdas or Shrikant,

Pandita Ramabai’s The High Caste Hindu Woman,

Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s In the Afternoon of Time,

Jainendra Kumar’s The Resignation,

Ismat Chugtai’s The Crooked Line,

Mary Lutyens’s The Life and Death of Krishnamurti,

Krishnamurti’s Notebooks,

Leela Samson’s Rukmini Devi,

Davesh Soneji’s  Unfinished Gestures,

M Knight Doughlas’s Balasaraswati

Since the syllabi in MCPH are dynamic and regularly updated, this reading list is indicative and amenable to modifications in each session.