Freedom Between Order and Chaos: Reading a Political Satire From India

Photo of Jyotirmaya Sharma

Freedom Between Order and Chaos: Reading a Political Satire From India

Monday, 16 May 2022 - 4:00pm
Online - Zoom
Jyotirmaya Sharma (University of Hyderabad)
Zobia Haq and Alizeh Paracha
South Asian Intellectual History Seminar

Hasyarnava or The Ocean of Mirth, a medieval Sanskrit political satire, delineates two compelling themes that require serious consideration. First, the Indic traditions underline the centrality of order in a polity. This preoccupation is underlined by the supremacy of the Rajadharma-dandaniti framework. A great deal of violence and cruelty inheres within this framework. Second, if the order is the site for violence and force, it follows that a glimpse of freedom, unshackled from the conventional implications of the purusharthas can only be had in upholding the desirability of disorder.

Jyotirmaya Sharma is Professor of Political Science at the University of Hyderabad, India. He is perhaps best known for his body of work examining the contemporary face of Hindutva and Hindu nationalism, the 19th century reinterpretation of Hinduism, and the ideas of Swami Vivekananda as well as the interpretations of his ideas today. A prolific writer, his recent publications include Elusive Non-Violence: The Making and Unmaking of Gandhi's Religion of Ahimsa (Westland/Context, 2021), The Ocean of Mirth: Reading Hāsyārṇava-Prahasanaṁ Of Jagadēśvara Bhaṭṭāchārya, a Political Satire for All Times (Routledge, 2019), Hindutva: Exploring the Idea of Hindu Nationalism (Context, 2019), Cosmic Love and Human Apathy: Swami Vivekananda and the Restatement of Religion (HarperCollins, 2013), and A Restatement of Religion: Swami Vivekananda and the Making of Hindu Nationalism (Yale University Press, 2013). Sharma has also held senior editorial positions at the Times of India and The Hindu, and continues to write for Hindustan Times, Mail Today, and Outlook.

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