The Heart of Aryavarta (Hardcover)
A masterpiece of psychological evaluation of culture, religion, patriotism and rebellion, The Heart of ry varta is a penetrating investigation of a complex society at a critical time in its history. At the beginning of the 20th century, India's evolving nationalist movement, led by educated and cultured men such as Gandhi, was gaining strength. The British, whose colonial agencies had dominated Indian life for generations, were unable to fathom this desire for independence. Lawrence Dundas (1876-1961), a statesman and administrator, unlike most of his countrymen, did not contemptuously dismiss this movement, but committed himself to fully understanding the underlying economic and political factors that drove forward its systematic rejection of British rule. However, Dundas takes the discussion much further than politics. Using first-hand observation, as well as in-depth research, he articulates the positive goals of the Indian nationalists, which were founded on the idea of a return to a golden age of peace, wisdom, and fulfilment that existed before the arrival of the colonialists. He also sagaciously analyses the complex social and intellectual mechanisms that regulated, stifled or encouraged the attacks on the institutions of British colonial authority. These mechanisms were often outwardly expressed as religious concepts, some quite startling in their ingenuity. In fact, Dundas believed it was essential to understand these remarkable "myths", and he explains them at length, in a manner that a Westerner can easily comprehend. The author, an aide-de-camp and biographer of the famous Lord Curzon, was extremely unusual, in being a high-ranking political official in India with a scholarly interest in sociology, psychology, metaphysics and history. His studies resulted in a very original analysis of current affairs, social class, educational goals, morality and ethics. One might argue that in certain ways he resembled, and even surpassed, Carl Jung in his interpretation of Indian symbolism and cosmology. The Heart of ry varta is an ambitious work that is almost unique in its impressive ability to reconcile the mystical with the political. Despite his position and background, Dundas demonstrates that he has a profound knowledge of the deep-seated human need for social and cultural development free from external interference. He sympathises with the difficulties of the Indian people, and sincerely attempts to see their desire for autonomy from their perspective.