Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Case for India

Although Will Durant's The Case for India was composed in 1930 it is still a highly readable and provocative account. Ultimately, its reading of history is political and partisan and polemical. As a result, this classic book will stimulate debate in your classroom seminar.

William James Durant (5 November 1885 – 7 November 1981) was an American historian, philosopher and writer, most famous for his works The Story of Philosophy (1926), and The Story of Civilization (1935-1975).

Crucially, Durant argued for a recognition of the India's contribution to world civilization:

"It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to the west, such gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all numerals and the decimal system."


An Indian edition from 2006 is also available online. A quotation  from the first page indicates the historical point of view in glaring colours:
"But I saw such things in India as made me feel that study and writing were frivolous things in the presence of a people-one-fifth of the human race-suffering poverty and oppression bitterer than any to be found elsewhere on the earth. I was horrified. I had not thought it possible that any government could allow its subjects to sink to such misery. […]

I was filled with astonishment and indignation at the apparently conscious and deliberate bleeding of India by England throughout a hundred and fifty years. I began to feel that I had come upon the greatest crime in all history."



This is a book that looks forward to the future in a visionary manner:

“India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of mature mind, understanding spirit and a unifying, pacifying love for all human beings.”



TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction
A Note to the Reader

CHAPTER I : FOR INDIA
I. Personal
II. A Perspective of India
III. The Rape of a Continent
IV. The Caste System in India
V. Economic Destruction
VI. Social Destruction
VII. The Triumph of Death

CHAPTER II : GANDHI
I. Portrait
II. Preparation
III. Revolution by Peace
IV. Christ Meets John Bull
V. The Religion of Gandhi
VI. Gandhi's Social Philosophy
VII. Criticism
VIII. An Estimate

INTRODUCTION
IX
THE CASE FOR INDIA

CHAPTER III : THE REVOLUTION
I. Origin
II. A Stroke of Politics 
III. A Whiff of Grapeshot 
IV. The Revolt of 1921 
V. Between Revolutions 
VI. The Simon Commission
VII. 1930

CHAPTER IV: THE CASE FOR ENGLAND

I. England Speaks
1. The Nietzschean Defense 
2. British Contributions to India
3. The Key to the White Man's Power
II. India Answers  
1. Morals in India
2. The Decay of Caste
3. Greek Gifts
CONCLUSION
WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE

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