Emanating from the bahujan samaj- the majority of ordinary people who make up the plurality of Indian civilization-Nativism is a form of indigenous literary criticism whose agenda can be summed up as a cry for cultural self-respect and autonomy. In the welter of derived and derivative critical theories which confound contemporary Indian cultural studies, nativism is, perhaps, the only home-grown school of criticism to have emerged in post-independence India.
In recent years, it has received greater attention because of the efforts of two bilingual critics, Bhalchandra Nemade and G. N. Devy. Based on a seminar on "The Concept of Desivad-(Nativism) in Indian Literature," this book is the first collection of critical essays on the concept and its applications.
The fifteen essays included here introduce and define the concept, analyse its classical, medieval, and colonial backgrounds, trace its evolution into the contemporary critical field, debate its strengths and weaknesses, and, finally, attempt to put it into practice by applying it to contemporary literary works. In addition, Bhalchandra Nemade's original Marathi essay on nativism, published in 1983, which introduced the concept, is included here in its first, complete English translation.
All told, this book is a pioneering and timely intervention in the critical scene today. It poses a challenge to the dominant, market-driven, globalising, and totalising intellectual and cultural trends of our times which threaten to marginalize and subdue our native ways of life. What is more, it does so without uncritically yielding to imported technologies of subversion, whether Marxist, feminist, postmodernist, or otherwise. This book is an attempt to show that there are alternative possibilities of facing up to our present cultural crises.
About the Author:
Makarand Paranjape, an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT-Delhi, is an Indian English poet, novelist, and critic.
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