Political is More than Politics
Dev Nath Pathak
ELEMENTARY ASPECTS OF THE POLITICAL: HISTORIES FROM THE GLOBAL SOUTH by Prathama Banerjee Orient BlackSwan, New Delhi, , 274 pp., 625.00
June 2021, volume 45, No 6

The book foregrounds the ‘multitudinous dialectics’ (p. 215) at the core of the political, defying borders and hierarchies of disciplines and minds, and most fabulously, replete with the volumes of counterintuitive ideas. The book delivers in text as well as subtext, a breakaway intellectual framework, to dislodge philosophy, reaffirm the relation of history and philosophy, and to question the history of colonial-modernity and thereof intellectual-cognitive binaries.

Why is such a book important at this juncture in intellectual, or generally, human history? At a time when the very idea of the political is a bone of contention in popular commonsense, or perhaps it always was, the book rummages through the fundamentals. There is a prevalent way of thinking about the political and politics in contemporary India, which could be pithily termed, a la Amitabh Bachchan mindset! The latter refuses to acknowledge the political in seemingly non-political, extra-political, or what is fancifully known on social media as ‘apolitical’.

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