History of dissent explored by Romila Thapar in new book

romila thapar
Romila Thapar looks at the articulation of dissent in the book, focusing on non-violent forms.

New Delhi: Historian Romila Thapar will come out with a historical essay next month, exploring dissent, including its articulation and public response to its particular forms, with a special focus on recent protests in the country.

Penguin Random House India and Seagull Books have come together to publish the book titled 'Voices of Dissent'.

The book will be available in stores from October 19.

Commenting on the tie-up with Penguin India, Naveen Kishore, publisher of Seagull Books, says, "It takes time for good things to happen. Sometimes as much as 25 years! Two birds that have the sea in common finally collaborating at last to bring you a special book that reflects the immediate times."

According to Nandan Jha, senior vice president (product and sales) at Penguin Random House India, this "collaboration will open a new and enriching way of publishers working together to widen the reach of specially curated books that are vital to the times we live in".

Dissent has a long history in the subcontinent, even if its forms have evolved or changed through the centuries. Thapar looks at the articulation of dissent, focusing on nonviolent forms, that which is so essential to all societies, and relates it to various moments of time and in varying contexts as part of the Indian historical experience, the publishers said.

Beginning with Vedic times, she takes readers from the second to the first millennium BC, to the emergence of groups that were jointly called the Shramanas - the Jains, Buddhists, and Ajivikas. She explores the views of some Bhakti saints and others of the 15th and 16th centuries, and brings the readers to a major moment of dissent that helped to establish a free and democratic India: Mahatma Gandhi's satyagraha.

In her argument she emphasises the use of the idiom of religion as reflecting social change, ending with the eventual politicisation of religion in the present. She also highlights the public response to particular forms of dissent. She places in context the recent protests against the citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens.

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