Download Studies in Modern Jewish and Hindu Thought by Margaret Chatterjee PDF

By Margaret Chatterjee

The ebook compares smooth Jewish and Hindu concept via discussing chosen writers almost about universal concerns taken care of via them, concerns that are nonetheless proper this present day. The writers are Mahatma Gandhi, Max Nordau, A.D. Gordon, Martin Buber, Sri Aurobindo, Rav Kook and Rabindranath Tagore. the problems contain the subsequent: the critique of civilisation, the concept that of labour, self-definition vis-a-vis 'east' and 'west', the pursuit of 'realisation' both separately or jointly, using evolution as a source notion, and the critique of nationalism which ran parallel to its pursuit.

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The 'construction' of Indianness included a combination of social and economic concerns at regional levels, which can be illustrated by the various satyagraha campaigns led by Gandhi and education in matters of all-India concern, that is matters for the most part to be dealt with through political action. A 'construction' over time was no less important than the one in space and this involved a re-thinking of the periodisation of Indian history and eventually a shift from political history to the study of socio-economic changes, and by this route to the study of less privileged classes.

The third possibility was to find in work, especially work on the land, one's own land, the source of redemption. But in order for this third alternative to be feasible the link between work and submission to authority had to be broken. The pursuit of such a goal had two obvious springs of inspiration to feed from: the nationalist impulse and socialist ideology. A counter theme to the disease of civilisation was the prospect of the fulfilled life of the nation in Israel. D. Gordon writes to Ahad Ha'am: 'In Eretz Yisrael the Jew doesn't have to keep feeling his national pulse.

2 It is also pertinent to this discussion to raise the question of how beggars are viewed in both cultures, the Jewish and the Hindu. Attitudes to the shnorrer/beggar have not been static over the centuries. Stereotypes have included the needy one, the parasite, one who provides the charitable with occasions for acquiring merit, a common disguise of the Almighty, a clownish figure who in enabling a persecuted community to find a safety valve in ironic laughter thereby serves it, an epitomised embodiment of the human condition vis a vis the cosmos/the gods/God - and this does not exhaust the possibilities.

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