The combination of being an able scholar, critic and artist is rare enough, but to combine this with an influential teaching career is an achievement. At the University of Baroda, Professor K.G. Subramanyam has inspired more than two generations of artists, not only by his own work but by the impact of his critical writings.
Partha Mitter has written a carefully documented study of the history of European reactions to Indian art. Indian sculpture, architecture and even painting seem to have presented insuperable difficulties to the westerner in the past and even today he has still ‘to find a way to appreciate the values of Indian art in its own context and in its own right.’
What does one say about a book that got a rave review from Amitav Ghosh even before it hit the stands? A book that Ashish Nandy describes as ‘a majestic work on society’s future?’ A book that Aruna Roy, Jean Dreze, Amit Bhaduri, Justice Krishna Iyer and many other stars of the jholawala pantheon have praised in words that go well beyond the call of comradely duty?
The importance of this book lies in its unpacking the word ‘censorship’, which is commonly understood as the suppression of information, images or any other content, usually by the State or a State institution, on grounds ranging from obscenity to threat to national security.
Representations of people and of the past have emerged out of diverse contexts and been put to varied uses and served various ends. Much time has passed since the colonial ethnographers constructed their understanding of people, customs, law, language, religious and caste beliefs for purposes of governance and control.