<== BACKWARD << through time >> FORWARD... ==>

==Even more than most centuries, this one feels impossibly crowded-- and too near for perspective. I'll simply note a few particularly evocative people and events; for more material, see *Sources of Indian Traditions*; *Columbia Univ.*; and the *modern maps*.
==Annie Besant (1847-1933), converted to Theosophy by Madame Blavatsky, comes to live in India to pursue her mystical studies (on *forms of yoga*; see also her *book on yoga*), and thinks of herself as an Indian ( see her *autobiography*). She works energetically for Indian Home Rule (*The Case for India*), is interned during World War I for her activism, and serves a term as President of the Indian National Congress in 1917 after her release. She dies in Madras (*victorian web*; *womens history*).
==Sister Nivedita (1867-1911): an Irishwoman named Margaret Noble meets Swami Vivekananda in 1895, and dedicates her life completely to the service of the Ramakrishna Mission and Indian nationalism. Her early death is hastened by overwork; she leaves all her worldly goods (including the copyrights of her many books) to Belur Math, to be used for the education of the women of India (*belur math*).
==Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941): The towering presence of Bengali literature (*Columbia Univ.*), composer of the Indian national anthem (*wikipedia*), founder of the unique educational institution of Shantiniketan (now *Visva-Bharati*; *Nandini Gupta*), winner of the *Nobel Prize* for his poetry-- what more could he possibly have achieved? He looks quite at home in the *company of Einstein*.
==Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)-- If the Mahatma hadn't existed, with all his multifarious political-cum-religious views and activities, could anybody possibly have invented him? Study materials: *Columbia Univ.*. (*Routes*)
==Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949)--  A child prodigy, poet, and activist for Indian independence, she becomes the first Indian-- and the first woman-- to serve as governor of the United Provinces (1947-49). Her poetry, translated from the Bengali, is first published in "The Golden Threshold" (c.1905) (*Project Gutenberg*; *Arthur Symons*). Further discussion: *howlingpixel*.
==Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the "Frontier Gandhi" (1891-1988) is one of Gandhi's closest kindred spirits. Against great odds, his Pathan "Red Shirts" remain staunch allies of Congress, devoted to nationalism and social service; against their own tribal traditions, they consistently honor their pledge of nonviolence (*progressive*; *Rahimullah Yusufzai*). (*Routes*)
==Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (1891-1956), is a preeminent Dalit leader and anti-caste activist (*ambedkar.org*), the chief framer of the Constitution of India, a prolific writer and speaker, a convert to Buddhism, and--last but not least--a Ph.D. of whom we at Columbia are particularly proud (*Columbia Univ.*). (*Routes*)
==Paramahansa Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi" (1946) matter-of-factly describes (among other phenonema) a remarkable number of supernatural yogic feats allegedly performed by the author's guru, Shri Yukteshwar Giri (*crystal clarity*) . Yogananda comes from a middle-class Bengali family, is fluent in English, and has many American students; his teaching of "self-realization" through yoga acquires thousands of followers around the world (*Self-Realization Fellowship*).
==Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938): The great Urdu (and Persian) poet and philosopher, known as the father of Pakistan (*Iqbal Academy*), also seeks to reimagine Islam, in his major work "On the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam" (*allama iqbal*). If you know Urdu, you'll enjoy this treatment of "Khizr-e rah": *youtube*. More on Iqbal: *Columbia Univ.*. (*Routes*)
==Independence and Partition, 1947: This rough division rips through the fabric of time, space, and community-- and creates, at the cost of millions of lives, two new independent nations, India and Pakistan. Discussion: *sacweb*; *Manas*; *BBC*; *Legacy Project* (especially for paintings); filmclips from *Harappa*; the experience of Dr. Zakir Husain: *Outlook* or *CU*. (*Routes*)
==Nirad Chaudhuri (1897-1999), the ultimate "gadfly on the rump of the state," publishes his acerbic "Autobiography of an Unknown Indian" (1951), which has delighted readers ever since, and which marks the beginning of a major literary career. Discussion: *Stanford U.*; *Ramachandra Guha*; *rediff*.
==Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 -1964) is Gandhi's anointed protege, though his vision of the world could hardly be more different. The Nehru dynasty, running from Motilal through Jawaharlal to Indira Nehru Gandhi to Rajiv and Sonia and the next generation, is India's closest thing to a royal family. Nehru's influence on his country, and the world, has been incalculable (*Internet Sourcebook*; *Harappa*;  *BBC*; *E. A. Vas*).
==Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958): Azad is a traditionally educated Muslim journalist and scholar; his vision of a common Indianness shared by Hindu and Muslim alike makes him a loyal Congress activist (and sometime Congress president) for his whole highly influential life. Discussion: *Manas*; *Mushirul Hasan*. (*Routes*)
==Bangladesh is born (1971-72): To make a single nation out of two widely-separated (and very different) halves was perhaps a hopeless project from the start. Increasingly serious political conflicts finally result in West Pakistan's invasion of East Pakistan, India's military intervention, and the rebirth of East Pakistan as the new nation of Bangladesh. Discussion: *Naeem Mohaiemen*; *Virtual Bangladesh*; see also *Bangladesh Virtual Library*.
== Nek Chand's rock garden in Chandigarh is opened (1976) to the public after years of work, as his own unique creation made from scrap materials, imagination, folk art, and personal devotion: *Nek Chand Foundation*. Someday I'm going to go to Chandigarh to see it. Photos: *Dey Alexander*
==The Babri Masjid is destroyed, 1992: In the case of Ayodhya, as so often in South Asian history, the real reasons for "religiously motivated" acts of temple- and mosque-destruction are in fact highly political ones. General discussion: *Columbia Univ.*
==Visions of South Asia nowadays include, as they always have, both realities and fantasies. Discussion: *Mohsin Hamid*; *Philip Lutgendorf*; "Jai Kali Karachi Vali" (*Outlook* or *CU*); *Behind the Veil*; *sawnet*; *Manushi*. (*Routes*)

<== BACKWARD << through time >> FORWARD... ==>
== INDIAN ROUTES index == sitemap == Glossary == FWP's main page ==