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V.S.Srinivasa Sastri(A Study)
V.S.Srinivasa Sastri(A Study)
Description
About The Book

V. S. Srinivasa Sastri: A Study is an attempt to explore the ideas of Sastri as Statesman, Ambassador, Citizen and Man of Letters. Ramanan’ book locates Sastri in the broad cultural context of the Indian Renaissance and weaves a narrative of his ideas which sets him off truly as a Man of Letters who used the English language with facility and felicity. This book is a tribute to a colourful personality whom Mahatma Gandhi described as his “conscience keeper” and brother, and to the culture of Madras city at a particularly momentous period in modem Indian history.

About The Author

Mohan Ramanan is Dean anProfessor of English at the University of Hyderabad. He is the author f many books and articles on a wide range of subjects Professor Ramanan had his educatiou at Ko1kata Bangalore, Chennai and Pilani He was British Council Scholar at Merton College Oxford, 1982-83, Fulbright Scholar-in- Residence at Amherst Colleges Massachussets, USA, 1989-90, British Council Visiting Scholar at the Universities of Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford, l990 and Antoni de Montserrat Fellow at Barcelona University, 2005. Professor Ramanan is interested in Karnataka music and in Religious studies.

Preface

In the writing of this book I have incurred several debts which it is a pleasure to acknowledge. I must first thank the English Advisory Committee of the Sahitya Akademi and the then chairperson, Professor Meenakshi Mukherjee, for encouraging me to write this book. Its cultural importance is becoming clearer to me by the day because it is an account at one level of a way of life embodied in nationalists like Sastri himself and others like Rajaji, K. Balasubramania Aiyar, C.P. Ramaswami Iyer, V. Krishnaswami Aiyar and Sir P. S. Sivaswami Aiyar, all of whom were Madras based men of public affairs and all of whom contributed no little to the prestige and importance of Madras City in the years leading to Indian Independence. I should like to think that this book is a small tribute to the cultural Renaissance which these men and women like them initiated in Madras and which was intimately connected to the idea of the Indian Nation which the lives and thought of these personalities embodied. My own family had only tangential relations to Madras but I consider it my home and this book at one level is a paen to that imagined sense of community which my teacher grandfather Sri P. V. Gopalakrishna Iyer and my musician father Sri P. G. V. Ramanan believed in. I thank my student Anand Mahanand for procuring vital Sastri material for me and for patiently awaiting its return. Professor G. Balarama Gupta was instrumental in making available to me a copy of The Other Harmony and I thank him for this and also for his constant interest in my work. Prof. A. P. Dani likewise made available material from Fergusson College Library, Pune. I thank him for his trouble. The late Professor C. D. Narasimhaiah had been extremely supportive of this venture and his interest in it has added value to the work. I like to think that he would have approved of this study. A chance remark by Professor U. Ananthamurthy to the effect that we have not a good study of the profound conservatism of Sastri and others of his persuasion encouraged me to attempt this book. I thank him for his kindness. A version of Section I on Sastri as a Renaissance Man and Section IX on Sastriar on The Ramayana appeared in Avadesh K. Singh Ed. Indian Renaissance Literature. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2004 and The Literary Criterion, Vol. )(XXVIII, No. 1, 2003. I thank Professor Avadesh Singh and Professor N. Srinath for permission to rework those ideas first tried out at Rajkot and Mysore. Likewise a version of section VIII where I deal with Sastri and the Woman Question appeared in Reflection : A Journal of critical Inquiry (vol. 7, no. Jan 2005). I thank [Jyatirmaya Tripathy] for publishing that version which now appears in an improved form. I am grateful to my parents, P.G.V.Ramanan and Jaya, my wife, Sudha, my children Bharat and Sowmya, and my sister Meera, for giving me seffless love and care during the preparation of this study. My American family Bejoy, Visalam, Gopal and Lizzy have extended strong and timely assistance at difficult times. To them this book is dedicated as a mark of gratiturde. To the distant relative of Sastri, Madras Patti (my cousin Parvati’s granny) who exhorted me to show her a copy of the book when it would be done, I express my thanks for the silent support. My colleagues in the Department of English, University of Hyderabad, have been supportive and I thank them for their solicitude. Finally I must place on record the secretarial assistance of Rajendra Prasad and R. Nagarajan in the preparation of the volume. They have given freely of their time and energy and I thank them for this.

Introduction

The Rt Hon Srinivasa Sastri’s life was a saga of service to India. He espoused a politics of gentlemanliness, always preferring moderation to partisanship, rejecting revolution in favour of gradual evolution, affirming consensus as opposed to uncompromising extremism. This was not always easy to carry off, particularly when he was seen as opposing Congress under Gandhi or taking a stand which was at odds with what a large number of his countrymen wanted and it brought him much abuse and opprobrium. He was, however, unaffected and tried always to see the other point of view. He spoke often of his “cross-bench mind” and of seeing the opponent’s viewpoint clearly and he attempted to adjust his views so as to be as accommodating as was possible. But there was always a threshold to tolerance and in matters like the need for India to stick to the British Empire as a Dominion within it or in his attitude to Non Cooperation which he refused to countenance, he made a mark in public life as a Liberal, albeit with a conservative cast of mind. Why should one write a book about an almost forgotten figure, forgotten perhaps because of his unfashionable views ? I have for a while now wondered if there is anything like a conservative philosophy operating in public life in India and believe that C. Rajagopalachari, Rajaji, was the one outstanding thinker who dared to oppose the License Permit Socialist pattern of political thinking, which continues even today to be if not a major force, at least a major strain in national thinking. Sastri does not come to mind in this context immediately and that is because he did his work largely in councils, legislatures, delegations and in conferences. This is unglamorous work but there has been grudging acceptance of Sastri’s preeminence in our national struggle. I thought that a small tribute to his thought and values would be in order at a time when with increasing globalisation and economic liberalization the Indian body politic is suffering from strains and there is a need to reorient our priorities in a rapidly changing world. What is required, I make bold to say, is the balance which Sastri set much store by, because on the one hand we seem to have uncritically accepted globalisation which has a strong dose of American hegemony in it. On the other hand the centripetal urge makes us xenophobic and narrowly nationalist, with its attendant conceptions of a pure nationhood which aggressively excludes major collectivities in our plural culture from a reasonable stake in nationhood. If Sastri had been alive today, he would have in his usual practical way seen that we cannot live in isolation from the rest of the world and that we might want to engage with neo-Imperialism, but, I like to think that he would have asked the UN to play a more proactive role to negate some of the harsher features of the Americanisation of the world. He after all was a delegate to the League of Nations, a precursor of the UN, and he always spoke up for peace with dignity, particularly the dignity and equality of citizenship within the British Empire.

The other reason why I am attracted to Sastri is that he is a major South Indian player and I may confess to some particularly for him because of his origins in the same cultural formation as mine. The South Indian contribution to Indian nationhood is only now slowly getting recognition and I thought a small volume on a South Indian more particularly Tamil patriot, would be a contribution to that discourse. I am, however neither a professional historian, nor am I well versed in the language of Political Science. I have depended, therefore, heavily in those parts where history or politics were the main focus, not only on Sastri’s published writings but on the well-known biographies of Sastri done by Jagadisan and Kodanda Rao. Of the two my dependence on Rao is near total and I could easily cite his volume as a primary source for my work. The reason is that Rao set out to write a political biography and this has helped me to summarise Sastri’s work as a servant of India adequately. Rao also quotes Sastri generously and I have benefited from this procedure because what Rao quotes is a strong addition to the other published work of Sastri available. Jagadisan has left all Sastri afficionados in his debt by not only writing a neat little biography, giving the life in a nutshell as it were, but also by editing in Sastri’s lifetime his Letters and a well- known collection of prose The Other Harmony. I have, course, used these volumes to construct a narrative of a man who lived in a world of ideas. As such this may be termed an intellectual study, because Sastri was an intellectual, if ever there was one in India.

The style makes the man. This is true of Sastri in a profound way. One cannot write about Sastri without repeatedly quoting him and sometimes one is so carried away by the man’s eloquence that the quotations keep getting longer and longer. I have tried to resist this but have not always succeeded but the blame if any should go to Sastri. He is one of our consummate users of the English language and somewhere, I believe my own training in English responds to this other harmony with enthusiasm and reverence. This study of Sastri’s ideas could not have been done without attention to the way those ideas actually clothed in felicitous phrase. I have accordingly, influenced by the late K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar, treated Sastri as a major figure in Indian Writing in English. This surely is my main justification for writing on Sastri. therefore, offer this slim book as a small contribution to Indian intellectual and cultural history.

Contents

PrefaceVII
Note on DocumentationIX
V.S. Srinivasa Sastri: A ChronologyXI
V.S. Srinivasa Sastri: A Study1-196
IIntroduction
IIV.S Srinivasa Sastriar: A Rennaissance Man6
IIIA Life as Servant of India17
IVSastriar and the idea of the Intellectual68
VSastriar on Education for citizenship77
VIValues in Life89
VIIRights and Duties of a Citizen105
VIIIThe Women Question119
IXOn The Ramayana131
XThe Other Harmony153
XIA Man of Letters166
XIIThe Man192

V.S.Srinivasa Sastri(A Study)

Item Code:
NAE497
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2007
Publisher:
ISBN:
9798126024376
Language:
English
Size:
9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
Pages:
115
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 414 gms
Price:
$20.00   Shipping Free
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About The Book

V. S. Srinivasa Sastri: A Study is an attempt to explore the ideas of Sastri as Statesman, Ambassador, Citizen and Man of Letters. Ramanan’ book locates Sastri in the broad cultural context of the Indian Renaissance and weaves a narrative of his ideas which sets him off truly as a Man of Letters who used the English language with facility and felicity. This book is a tribute to a colourful personality whom Mahatma Gandhi described as his “conscience keeper” and brother, and to the culture of Madras city at a particularly momentous period in modem Indian history.

About The Author

Mohan Ramanan is Dean anProfessor of English at the University of Hyderabad. He is the author f many books and articles on a wide range of subjects Professor Ramanan had his educatiou at Ko1kata Bangalore, Chennai and Pilani He was British Council Scholar at Merton College Oxford, 1982-83, Fulbright Scholar-in- Residence at Amherst Colleges Massachussets, USA, 1989-90, British Council Visiting Scholar at the Universities of Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford, l990 and Antoni de Montserrat Fellow at Barcelona University, 2005. Professor Ramanan is interested in Karnataka music and in Religious studies.

Preface

In the writing of this book I have incurred several debts which it is a pleasure to acknowledge. I must first thank the English Advisory Committee of the Sahitya Akademi and the then chairperson, Professor Meenakshi Mukherjee, for encouraging me to write this book. Its cultural importance is becoming clearer to me by the day because it is an account at one level of a way of life embodied in nationalists like Sastri himself and others like Rajaji, K. Balasubramania Aiyar, C.P. Ramaswami Iyer, V. Krishnaswami Aiyar and Sir P. S. Sivaswami Aiyar, all of whom were Madras based men of public affairs and all of whom contributed no little to the prestige and importance of Madras City in the years leading to Indian Independence. I should like to think that this book is a small tribute to the cultural Renaissance which these men and women like them initiated in Madras and which was intimately connected to the idea of the Indian Nation which the lives and thought of these personalities embodied. My own family had only tangential relations to Madras but I consider it my home and this book at one level is a paen to that imagined sense of community which my teacher grandfather Sri P. V. Gopalakrishna Iyer and my musician father Sri P. G. V. Ramanan believed in. I thank my student Anand Mahanand for procuring vital Sastri material for me and for patiently awaiting its return. Professor G. Balarama Gupta was instrumental in making available to me a copy of The Other Harmony and I thank him for this and also for his constant interest in my work. Prof. A. P. Dani likewise made available material from Fergusson College Library, Pune. I thank him for his trouble. The late Professor C. D. Narasimhaiah had been extremely supportive of this venture and his interest in it has added value to the work. I like to think that he would have approved of this study. A chance remark by Professor U. Ananthamurthy to the effect that we have not a good study of the profound conservatism of Sastri and others of his persuasion encouraged me to attempt this book. I thank him for his kindness. A version of Section I on Sastri as a Renaissance Man and Section IX on Sastriar on The Ramayana appeared in Avadesh K. Singh Ed. Indian Renaissance Literature. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2004 and The Literary Criterion, Vol. )(XXVIII, No. 1, 2003. I thank Professor Avadesh Singh and Professor N. Srinath for permission to rework those ideas first tried out at Rajkot and Mysore. Likewise a version of section VIII where I deal with Sastri and the Woman Question appeared in Reflection : A Journal of critical Inquiry (vol. 7, no. Jan 2005). I thank [Jyatirmaya Tripathy] for publishing that version which now appears in an improved form. I am grateful to my parents, P.G.V.Ramanan and Jaya, my wife, Sudha, my children Bharat and Sowmya, and my sister Meera, for giving me seffless love and care during the preparation of this study. My American family Bejoy, Visalam, Gopal and Lizzy have extended strong and timely assistance at difficult times. To them this book is dedicated as a mark of gratiturde. To the distant relative of Sastri, Madras Patti (my cousin Parvati’s granny) who exhorted me to show her a copy of the book when it would be done, I express my thanks for the silent support. My colleagues in the Department of English, University of Hyderabad, have been supportive and I thank them for their solicitude. Finally I must place on record the secretarial assistance of Rajendra Prasad and R. Nagarajan in the preparation of the volume. They have given freely of their time and energy and I thank them for this.

Introduction

The Rt Hon Srinivasa Sastri’s life was a saga of service to India. He espoused a politics of gentlemanliness, always preferring moderation to partisanship, rejecting revolution in favour of gradual evolution, affirming consensus as opposed to uncompromising extremism. This was not always easy to carry off, particularly when he was seen as opposing Congress under Gandhi or taking a stand which was at odds with what a large number of his countrymen wanted and it brought him much abuse and opprobrium. He was, however, unaffected and tried always to see the other point of view. He spoke often of his “cross-bench mind” and of seeing the opponent’s viewpoint clearly and he attempted to adjust his views so as to be as accommodating as was possible. But there was always a threshold to tolerance and in matters like the need for India to stick to the British Empire as a Dominion within it or in his attitude to Non Cooperation which he refused to countenance, he made a mark in public life as a Liberal, albeit with a conservative cast of mind. Why should one write a book about an almost forgotten figure, forgotten perhaps because of his unfashionable views ? I have for a while now wondered if there is anything like a conservative philosophy operating in public life in India and believe that C. Rajagopalachari, Rajaji, was the one outstanding thinker who dared to oppose the License Permit Socialist pattern of political thinking, which continues even today to be if not a major force, at least a major strain in national thinking. Sastri does not come to mind in this context immediately and that is because he did his work largely in councils, legislatures, delegations and in conferences. This is unglamorous work but there has been grudging acceptance of Sastri’s preeminence in our national struggle. I thought that a small tribute to his thought and values would be in order at a time when with increasing globalisation and economic liberalization the Indian body politic is suffering from strains and there is a need to reorient our priorities in a rapidly changing world. What is required, I make bold to say, is the balance which Sastri set much store by, because on the one hand we seem to have uncritically accepted globalisation which has a strong dose of American hegemony in it. On the other hand the centripetal urge makes us xenophobic and narrowly nationalist, with its attendant conceptions of a pure nationhood which aggressively excludes major collectivities in our plural culture from a reasonable stake in nationhood. If Sastri had been alive today, he would have in his usual practical way seen that we cannot live in isolation from the rest of the world and that we might want to engage with neo-Imperialism, but, I like to think that he would have asked the UN to play a more proactive role to negate some of the harsher features of the Americanisation of the world. He after all was a delegate to the League of Nations, a precursor of the UN, and he always spoke up for peace with dignity, particularly the dignity and equality of citizenship within the British Empire.

The other reason why I am attracted to Sastri is that he is a major South Indian player and I may confess to some particularly for him because of his origins in the same cultural formation as mine. The South Indian contribution to Indian nationhood is only now slowly getting recognition and I thought a small volume on a South Indian more particularly Tamil patriot, would be a contribution to that discourse. I am, however neither a professional historian, nor am I well versed in the language of Political Science. I have depended, therefore, heavily in those parts where history or politics were the main focus, not only on Sastri’s published writings but on the well-known biographies of Sastri done by Jagadisan and Kodanda Rao. Of the two my dependence on Rao is near total and I could easily cite his volume as a primary source for my work. The reason is that Rao set out to write a political biography and this has helped me to summarise Sastri’s work as a servant of India adequately. Rao also quotes Sastri generously and I have benefited from this procedure because what Rao quotes is a strong addition to the other published work of Sastri available. Jagadisan has left all Sastri afficionados in his debt by not only writing a neat little biography, giving the life in a nutshell as it were, but also by editing in Sastri’s lifetime his Letters and a well- known collection of prose The Other Harmony. I have, course, used these volumes to construct a narrative of a man who lived in a world of ideas. As such this may be termed an intellectual study, because Sastri was an intellectual, if ever there was one in India.

The style makes the man. This is true of Sastri in a profound way. One cannot write about Sastri without repeatedly quoting him and sometimes one is so carried away by the man’s eloquence that the quotations keep getting longer and longer. I have tried to resist this but have not always succeeded but the blame if any should go to Sastri. He is one of our consummate users of the English language and somewhere, I believe my own training in English responds to this other harmony with enthusiasm and reverence. This study of Sastri’s ideas could not have been done without attention to the way those ideas actually clothed in felicitous phrase. I have accordingly, influenced by the late K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar, treated Sastri as a major figure in Indian Writing in English. This surely is my main justification for writing on Sastri. therefore, offer this slim book as a small contribution to Indian intellectual and cultural history.

Contents

PrefaceVII
Note on DocumentationIX
V.S. Srinivasa Sastri: A ChronologyXI
V.S. Srinivasa Sastri: A Study1-196
IIntroduction
IIV.S Srinivasa Sastriar: A Rennaissance Man6
IIIA Life as Servant of India17
IVSastriar and the idea of the Intellectual68
VSastriar on Education for citizenship77
VIValues in Life89
VIIRights and Duties of a Citizen105
VIIIThe Women Question119
IXOn The Ramayana131
XThe Other Harmony153
XIA Man of Letters166
XIIThe Man192
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