book on Hindu Widow Marriage (B. Hatcher, 2012)

Dipak Bhattacharya dbhattacharya200498 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Nov 5 14:43:38 UTC 2011

While I congratulate the author for the translation, the remark<While the importance of the work has long been noted,it has hitherto been little studied> is one-sided and hence materially wrong. It is not that only studies made in the West are real ones and others are not. The widow-marriage movement caused a big literature to be created in Bengal and later in other parts of India. It inspired intellectuals all over India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Later, dramas and films too were produced on it. There is an awareness in Bengal of an awakening in the nineteenth century beginning with the movements against discrimination against women started by Raja Ram Mohan Roy. The early nineteenth century beginning was carried by Vidyasagar on to new heights.To the movement for women's emanicipation were added a host of related enlightened movements, urge for reforms and the birth of modern Bengali (and Indian) art and literature. The whole
 thing later came to be known as 'Bengal Renaissance'. There is a huge literature on this 'Bengal Renaissance'none of which ignores the contribution of Vidyasagar. 

I do not know what the translator has remarked. There seems to have been some ambivalence among conservative intellectuals who have tried, partly successfully, in underestimating Vidyasagar's influence on and role in shaping the modern Indian society.   Perhaps this was caused by the fact that Vidyasagar was an atheist. Vidyasagar's partial ostracisation too is a noted fact here.
Some noted writers on related topics were Shivnath Shastri, Dilip Biswas, Binay Ghosh etc.
Dipak Bhattacharya

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim Cahill <tccahill at LOYNO.EDU>
Sent: Friday, 4 November 2011 11:10 PM
Subject: [INDOLOGY] book on  Hindu Widow Marriage (B. Hatcher, 2012)


    For those interested in Hindu widow marriage or the Bengal Renaissance we have a new book by Brian Hatcher.  It is available from Amazon or directly from Columbia University Press. See details below.

Tim Cahill
Loyola University New Orleans

_Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar, Hindu Widow Marriage: An Epochal Work on

Social Reform from Colonial India. A complete translation, with an
introduction and critical notes_, by Brian A. Hatcher.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-231-15633-2 (cloth)
978-0-231-52660-9 (e-books)

In Hindu Widow Marriage Brian A. Hatcher provides the first complete
translation of one of the most important treatises on social reform
from nineteenth-century India. Originally composed in Bengali by the
colonial Sanskrit scholar Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar, the work helped
pave the way for passage of Act XV of 1856, granting Hindu widows the
right to marry. While the importance of the work has long been noted,
it has hitherto been little studied and never before translated in
its entirety. In Hindu Widow Marriage readers will discover a
virtuosic display of Hindu legal erudition, scriptural exegesis, and
humanitarian rhetoric on behalf of the Hindu widow. Hindu Widow
Marriage features a substantial introduction that provides background
on the career of Vidyasagar, offers an overview of the history of the
widow marriage movement, and advances an interpretation of the work's
significance in relation to indigenous intellectual practice.
Brian A. Hatcher is the author of three important monographs on
colonial Bengal, including: (on Vidyasagar) Idioms of Improvement:
Vidyasagar and Cultural Encounter in Bengal (Delhi: Oxford University
Press, 1996) and the Tattvabodhini Sabha (Bourgeois Hinduism, or
Faith of the Modern Vedantists: Rare Discourses from Early Colonial
Bengal (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), as well as
Eclecticism and Modern Hindu Discourse (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1999). He has edited (with Michael Dodson Trans-colonial
Modernities in South Asia to be published in 2012 by Routledge.

Table of Contents

A Word About the Translation
Hindu Categories for First-Time Readers
Events Pertaining to the Widow Marriage Movement in Bengal
A Short Life of Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar
Widow Marriage in Bengal
Hindu Widow Marriage as Modern-Day Commentary
The Real Significance of Hindu Widow Marriage
Hindu Widow Marriage: The Complete English Translation
Book One
Book Two
Index of Sanskrit Passages
Index of Names and Terms

For further information please visit:

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