Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India 1st Edition

42 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195141269
ISBN-10: 0195141261
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"A succinct, cogent study that is admirably well organized and consistently insightful. Though brief, it makes a significant contribution to the study of Indian history and religious studies."--Journal of the American Academy of Relgion


"Shivaji is a succinct, cogent study that is admirably well organized and consistently insightful. Though brief, it makes a significant contribution to the study of Indian history and religious studies. In one of the first studies to trace the longitudinal developments in the biography of a major precolonial figure of India, Laine employs an innovative approach that could well be adapted to other figures. In addition, Laine makes valuable observations about the precolonial history of 'Hinduism'"--Journal of the American Academy of Religion


About the Author


James W. Laine is a Professor of Religious Studies at Macalester College.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195141261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195141269
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.7 x 5.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,495,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Pankaj SAXENA on March 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is not so much a review of the book as my take on the controversy surrounding it and some of the comments in the other reviews on Amazon. Yes, I've read the book. Yes, it's silly in parts. But nothing to get so upset about....
I read with dismay about the ban on this book and the vandalism at BORI, with the loss of so many irreplaceable historical documents and treasures. This is Indian history that was lost forever through senseless destruction, and Indians are the poorer for it. It's a shame that a democracy has to resort to book banning; and so readily produces mindless mobs who wantonly destroy priceless history. Democracy can't exist without the freedom of speech, including speech you consider to be wrong or contrary to your beliefs.
That said, this book is an ill-assorted compendium of half-digested facts and speculation, without any attempt at rigorous scholarship. I know the author has since explicitly stated that it is not meant to be historical; it is in fact a collection of stories about Shivaji -- some historical and documented, others that he heard from his buddies over a cup of tea in Pune. The trouble is that most people *do* see it as a factual account (with authority conferred by the credentials of the author and the Oxford University Press). To some extent, it is the fault of the author for not being sufficiently explicit to begin with, but then again, he probably did not expect such scrutiny from the public.
No one knows the truth except the author himself, but I really do not think he set out deliberately to demean Hinduism or to defend Islam.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By William Coate on September 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The fundamental confusion is synthesized in the sub-title. James W. Laine attests to a cultural crossroads in India where two cultures were grappling wirh one another in terms of being at times comprehensive and at times confrontational.

Generally. looking in on a situation from the outside, without being part of it, or being within it, is not conducive to an understanding of human relationships since humans in a time/place frame have their own rationales and it is questionable that "objectifying" them is going to make them any more accessible. Only conceptual arrogance can convince otherwise: We cannot oblige everyone to think the way we do. In other words, our terms are not the only ones to think in. "Our" traditions and "our" rationales, talking of the U.S.A., could easily become the laughing stock of the world. In Studies in Classic American Literature, apparently suppressed in 1923, the year of its publication, D.H. Lawrence does a good job of it. He argues that hypocrisy, ably portrayed in the works of Fenimore Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, and others, will be the seed of our destruction.

I believe that the purpose of Laine's thesis crumbles when he confuses the thesis of historical perfection with human frailty. The imperfection of human beings is all too well known. Lain recurs to his youthful miscomprehension of Davy Crockett as a regional or national hero seen as a villian, he assures us, in the eyes of Mexican status quo. And evidently the scenario does present confrontational issues that, however, cannot be resolved in terms of pseudo terminology brought into existence by contemporary situations, e.g. "Anglos as Illegal immigrants," (pp.89-90).
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Seth J. Frantzman HALL OF FAME on December 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The main thesis of this book is that history is bunk and that the writing of history is a modern attempt to recreate the past to mirror our own perceptions of the present. In a supreme irony the author does not realize he has fallen in his own net. The book sets out to rpove that the Hindu Nationalists have stolen Shivaji, the king of the Marathas, and made him into a legend in order to be anti-Muslim. But the true story of Shivaji was supposedly different. According to this book Shivaji was a diveristy loving, multi-cultural, moral relativist and perhaps even a secular-humanist, who loved Islam and didn't really care about Hinduism. It is nice to project our own modern loves into the past but nothing could be further from the truth.

Shivaji was a warrior king who desired to assert the independence of his people, Hindus, from a colonial power, Mughal Muslims. He was a freedom fighter. If he was tolerant, that was by accident. He was not 'Davy Crocket' as the author tries to paint him. Legends about him don't abound with him fighting bears, but rahter with him waging a war of independence. The documents, both Muslim and Hindu, attest to the authenticity of his life. Sometimes modern historians should be mature enough to accept that some legends are real, they arn't all cynical manipulations by modern politics.

Seth J. Frantzman
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20 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have read this Lainebaby's book from cover to cover. Legerdemaine! But simply not skilled enough. Why would anyone go to all the trouble to buy this piece of hash? Seems like his Grudge 1 is against Hindu immigrants in the US bringing up their children on the unifying and heroic legends of Shivaji from their homeland... as is being told on too many websites, even with colorful illustrations, mind you! Papa Laine doesn't approve of this. He particularly doesn't like the idea of Babasaheb Purandare presenting his Janta Raja show on Shivaji on the Mall in Washington DC. He doesn't like Lata Mangeshkar collaborating with Purandare. He doesn't approve of the Brihan Maharashtra Mandal, an organization for Maharashtrians living in North America, or its official website. He disapproves of Madhukar Joshi,, when the latter makes contemporaneous references to Shivaji as a successful manager, who in fact set up the earliest Mall in history on Fort Raigad, where you 'drove through on horse-back'. Takes the sheen off Texans... Grudge 2 is that it was Shivaji against Islamic invaders. The story of repeated destruction of Hindu temples and widespread pillage and rapine doesn't go well with his own cracks. Anyway, it is not history that he is here bothered about, see? He just wants to take the shine off Janta Raja. Makes one wonder what the BMM (and BMMOnline.Org) has done to incur so much of a tantrum from JL, as an American and a Christian. He doesn't accept the record that Shivaji's army was in fact a crucible of secular Indians fighting colonial rule, and it included adherents of various castes and sects, including indigenous Muslims.Read more ›
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