Dialogue of Civilizations (William Jones and the Orientalists)

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Item Code: IDK972
Author: Mohandas Moses & Achala Moulik
Publisher: Aryan Books International
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 9788173053634
Pages: 456 (8 Illustrations in B/W)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.9" X 5.7”
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Book Description

From the Jacket
Dialogue of Civilizations - William Jones and the Orientalists is a sweeping account of the movement that began in 1784 by Warren Hastings – the then Governor General of India, Sir William Jones, Halhed, Wilkins, Colebrooke, Prinsep, Wilson and others to rediscover the civilization of India. It is small irony that this movement began in the heyday of a nascent imperialism and under the patronage of the East India Company. The authors describe how this happened, set against the turbulence of the times in India. The work of the early British scholars aroused the curiosity of scholars in Germany where Indology and Sanskrit studies rose to brilliant heights. The vast and comprehensive work of German scholars made Berlin the Benaras of India. Since Germany had no empire in India, German Indology was different in flavour and spirit from British Indology. Simultaneously Russian Indology developed on its own, with a growing sympathy for a nation of great heritage who was under alien rule. Their contribution to Indology in the nineteenth and twentieth century was formidable. Italy and Hungary too had their share of outstanding Indologists and Tibetologists. The authors give a comprehensive description of the contribution of these great scholars. The theory of civilization, its clashes, conflicts, and interactions is discussed at some length with erudition and originality.

no other book has brought together all these diverse contributions to Indology and Orientalism with particular relevance to contemporary debates on the dialogue of civilizations.

Mohandas Moses was one of the most distinguished civil servants of his time. He spent his boyhood in Burma, graduated from Madras University with honours in Economics and Mathematics and then joined the IAS. His achievements as head of the Food Corporation of India, Karnataka Power Corporation, Union Agriculture and Union Welfare Secretary are still remembered. As Advisor to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir during 1994-1996, he made a very significant contribution to the restoration of normalcy. He was a man of deep and wide learning and has written a highly acclaimed book on the mind and also a memoir of Kashmir. He and his wife Achala have a doctor son.

Achala Moulik was educated in England, USA, and Italy. She obtained a degree in Economics, History and International Law from London University and then joined the IAS. She was Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, and Education Secretary to the Government of India. A novelist, poet, playwright and cultural historian, Achala has written twenty-one books. She has been Guest Lecturer at the Getty Conservation Institute at USA, has been a member of several UNESCO-ICOMOS committees on heritage, the United States Education Foundation of India, Trustee of the National Book Trust and the Indian Museum.

The dialogue of civilizations began when man became a sapient being.

This book attempts to study the phenomenon of civilizations, their interactions, their impact on each other, their conflicts and clashes. The dialogue of civilization is not a new phenomenon; many have contributed to it. The reason we have set William Jones as the central figure is because through his work and researches he inaugurated a movement in Western Europe that came to be known as Orientalism and which spread to France and Germany where it became a special subject of interest. That this movement was inaugurated by an Englishman in the heyday of imperialism is remarkable enough. His ideals, work and legacy are set against the background of British administrative policies and European attitudes to India. The intent of this book is also to communicate at least a hint of the richness of the life of William Jones, his personality, the development of Indian studies against the setting of his time, and the epochal contribution he made by revealing India’s contribution to human civilization to the world. His brilliant scholarship no less than his generosity and vision began a dialogue scholarship no less than his generosity and vision began a dialogue of civilization that is still continuing. This book describes how his legacy profoundly affected European response to Asian culture.

Russia developed Orientalism and Indology quite independent of Western Europe. Her contact with Indian civilization was propelled by scholars and artists of the eighteenth century who appeared on the scene about the same time as William Jones. Russian Orientalism had a different flavour from that of Western Europe. Her scholars and Indologists did not have to reconcile the grandeur of Indian civilization with the imperatives of imperialism.

The mind, William Jones wrote in the outline of his Tract on Education, cannot develop without absorbing the wisdom of other civilizations. A person’s education cannot be complete by depending on the wisdom of one’s own civilization alone. The wisdom of other cultures and their achievements is essential for self-improvement and understanding. Acquiring proficiency in languages therefore is an essential instrument for entry into other civilizations. With such understanding comes the good of mankind. William Jones believed that exchange of ideas and knowledge are the basic of dialogues between civilizations. Here we have in essence the Charter of UNESCO, written two centuries before it was declared as a policy of international organizations.

The idea of this book began in the summer of 1983 when my husband Mohandas Moses and I were visiting Calcutta. After his official discussions, Mohan and I went to the Asiatic Society to see the library. There he came across a copy of Warren Hastings letter to Sir William Jones that was the beginning of a new chapter in the cultural history of the world. “Next year will the bicentenary of the establishment of the Asiatic Society,” he reflected pensively.

He could not. He had just been appointed Managing Director of the Karnataka Power Corporation and the state was reeling under an acute power crisis. He, an economist by training, plunged into the work of providing energy to Karnataka by expediting work on the various power projects of the states with the eager cooperation of his engineer colleagues. His remarkable achievements in this field are still remembered with admiration. But Mohan did not forget William Jones. Wherever he went on tours he carried books and notes on the subject and worked in the evenings. At home in the evenings he made notes from a heap of books.

Three years later he had completed writing half the book when he was selected to head the Food Corporation of India in New Delhi. There too a crisis was looming – the worst drought of the century of 1987-88. There too he earned high praise from the Union government for the manner in which he handled the drought and provided food security. In between various crises he wrote the book on the discovery of Indian civilization by Western scholars. Inspired by this, and goaded by Mohan, I began writing a novel on this period. In 1991 I joined the Archaeological Survey of India and realized the immense legacy of William Jones and Oriental scholars. We spent many hours in the Central Archaeological Library browsing through books and then adjourned to the tea lounge of the India International Centre to discuss our finds. These were some of the happiest days of our lives. Mohan hoped to complete writing his book after his retirement in 1994.

After serving as Union Secretary in several ministries Mohan was appointed as the Advisor to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir by the Government of India in 1994. Militancy was at its violent height. With courage and determination the new Advisor entrusted with crucial development sectors decided to help in rebuilding the shattered infrastructure of this abandoned paradise. Among his shattered infrastructure of this abandoned paradise. Among his many concerns was the rehabilitation of the wounded – in body and mind. This interest in the body-brain-mind had begun when he was Union Welfare Secretary. Now in Kashmir the interest because an obsession. He began writing Last Frontiers of the Mind – Challenges of the Digital Age which was completed in 2003, and his memories of Jammu-Kashmir-Ladakh, in Rajatarangini Revisited.

On a December morning in 2003 Mohan passed away without a warning. Last Frontiers of the Mind was published by Prentice Hall of India in July 2005. I incorporated Rajatarangini Revisited in A Stranger in Paradise, my biography of Mohan that was published by Har-Anand in March 2008.

It had been Mohan’s wish all along that I should collaborate on the book on William Jones and write certain chapters. Yet he kept advising me to write on other subjects. I had, therefore, written my own books. In the monsoon of 2005 I began to put together Mohan’s manuscript of Dialogue of Civilizations – William Jones and the Orientalists. I worked on this book for nearly two years and handed the completed typescript to Mr. Vikas Aryan Books International in July 2007 at the tea lounge of India International Centre.


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Part I
Dialogue Between Civilizations
1.The Crossroads of Civilizations3
2.William Jones and the Dialogue of Civilizations8
3.Contacts between Asia and Europe14
4.Interaction of Cultures within Asia18
5.Early Cultural and Commercial Exchanges between East and West23
6.Clash and Confrontation29
7.India’s Seashore of Humanity33
8.Orientalism and the Western World41
Part II
British Rule in India in the Age of William Jones
9.The Prelude to Plassey53
10.Foundation Stones of the British Empire56
11.Preliminary Skirmishes62
12.Clive the Conqueror70
13.Shaking the Pagoda Tree76
14.The East India Company80
15.The Enigmatic Warren Hastings (1732-1818)87
16.Administrator and Reformer99
17.Burke and the Indian Constitution105
18.Evaluation of Hastings 112
19.Later British Colonial Administrators116
Part III
British Attitudes to India
20.East Meets West123
21.Early Encounters125
22.Chaos and Camaraderie132
24.Charles Grant and the Struggle to Save Indian Souls140
25.The Evolution of Anglo-Indian Mythology146
26.Upholding Indian Traditions151
27.Educating Indians154
28.Attitudes to the Indian Empire: Guilt and Atonement 159
29.Thomas Babbington Macaulay – Dialogue or Clash of Civilization?164
30.The Nationalist Response176
31.Conflicts and Cross-Pollination of Cultures178
Part IV
Sir William Jones (1746-94)
32.Tribute to Sir William Jones185
33.The Long Journey from Portsmouth189
34.The England of William Jones192
35.The Making of William Jones195
36.The Literary and Political Science in London205
37.A Brush with Rebels210
38.The Advent of William Jones215
39.A River of Ruined Capitals218
40.Calcutta in the Time of William Jones224
41.Social Life in Calcutta232
42.The British Justinian236
43.Poet, Historian and Philologist243
44.William Jones and the Indian Game of Chess255
45.Jones Discovers Kalidasa259
46.Establishment of Asiatic Society264
47.Farewell to Arcadia269
48.The Legacy of Sir William Jones275
Part V
European Indology
49.Germany and Indology304
50.Russia and Indology318
51.Italian Indology334
52.Sandor Csoma de Koros – The Pilgrim-Scholar of Hungary338
Part VI
Oriental Scholars and Dialogues in Civilization
53.Warren Hastings – Imperialist and Orientalist349
54.Procuring Pundits353
55.Nathaniel Brassey Halhed and the Bengali Grammar356
56.Codifying Hindu Laws370
57.Charles Wilkins and the Bhagavad Gita375
58.Henry Thomas Colebrooke – The Path Breaker385
59.Horace Hayman Wilson393
60.James Fergusson395
61.William Carey and the Serampore Mission397
62.Sir Monier Williams and Development of Sanskrit Studies402
63.Sir Edwin Arnold411
64.Vincent Smith414
65.Aurel Stein – Explorer-Scholar-Translator417
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