India, that is Bharat book review – J Sai Deepak by First Post
India, that is Bharat book review: J Sai Deepak makes pressing arguments about colonialism
In the book, J Sai Deepak argues that while the colonisation of the Indian landscape may have been reversed, the minds continue to be possessed, and ultimately handicapped by a historical narrative that the outsider set for us.
Henry David Thoreau writes in his book Wild Apples ‘It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple-tree is connected with that of man’. If you replace the apple tree with ‘colony’ and man with ‘colonial power’ there emerges and idiom for much of the world’s history itself. For no former colony, however long its freedom may have been sustained, has truly recovered from the hangover of colonial rule. British rule cast such a weight on India’s socio-cultural spine that even seventy-five years after Independence we are irretrievably coiled in some way or the other with leftovers of this foreign invasion of our land, and most crucially, our minds. Lawyer and thinker J Sai Deepak in his book India, that is Bharat: Coloniality, Civilisation, Constitution argues that while the colonisation of the Indian landscape may have been reversed, the minds continue to be possessed, and ultimately handicapped by a historical narrative that the outsider set for us.
Deepak, firstly, is not new to the limelight. He has argued some landmark cases often from the unpopular side of the debate including siding by the temple’s ritualistic right to deny women entry in the Sabarimala temple case. Deepak’s position that ‘the deity too should be able to assert its rights’ had caught the attention of the country in the landmark case. Deepak turns author for this sizeable book that is the first in a trilogy exploring various subjects related to the Indic civilizational history and its immediate anxieties. In India, that is Bharat, Deepak explores the underpinnings of the idea of Bharat, by first travelling into history to excavate the corrosion of the idea, then as lawyers do, offering evidence of its sustenance and subsequently paving the way for a decolonised interpretation of the constitution.
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