Sumit ChakrabartiSep 28, 2023
Local Selfhood, Global Turns
Akshay Kumar Dutta and Bengali Intellectual History in the Nineteenth Century
Cambridge University Press 2023
Sumit Chakrabarti's book Local Selfhood, Global Turns: Akshay Kumar Dutta and Public Culture in Nineteenth-Century Bengal (Cambridge UP, 2023) examines the works of Akshay Kumar Dutta (1820-1886), who can be seen as ideologically inhabiting the cusp between religion and rationalism - the two most crucial avenues of debate and discussion in the public sphere in nineteenth-century Bengal.
While nineteenth-century Bengal has been an important discourse within South Asian history, major figures of reform such as Rammohun Roy, Debendranath Tagore, Iswarchandra Vidyasagar, or Keshub Chunder Sen have generally been the focus. The book attempts to rescue Dutta from the clutches of academic amnesia, and to locate him as one of the foundational figures of intellectual refashioning among the common albeit educated public in nineteenth-century Bengal.
Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com.