Swimming Upstream: Laxmanshastri Joshi and the Evolution of Modern India (Hardcover)
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Around the turn of the twentieth century, as Gandhi was getting the satyagraha movement off the ground, a number of thinkers began advocating for social and religious reforms. Amongst them was Laxmanshastri Joshi, a Sanskritist, Vedic scholar and an articulate, passionate champion for erasing the hold that the caste divide and other Hindu dogmatic traditions had on Indian society. He armed Gandhi with arguments that helped bring the so-called untouchables into mainstream. With courage and civility, he sought the higher truth and spoke out against Hindu orthodoxy and for the heterodoxy and polemical debate in the immense sweep of Hindu religion. As an ardent humanist, when confronted with blind adherence to dogma, he provided contrary evidence. His arguments were as innovative as they were simple, helping transcend convention instead of bowing to it. Like Tagore, he was in every respect one of India's renaissance men. From a scholar to reformer, from opposing British imperialism to urging Indian Congress leaders to support the British against the Japanese, Laxmanshastri rose from obscurity to become one of India's leading voices in the making of a free, secular, modern, and democratic India. Swimming Upstream traces Laxmanshastri's life of scholarship, abiding humanity, courage, and his steadfast quest for truth.
About the Author
Arundhati Khandkar, nee Suman Joshi, the older daughter of Laxmanshastri Joshi, was born and raised in Wai, Maharashtra. After obtaining her bachelor's and master's degrees from S.P. College, Pune University, she became a professor at the SIES College, University of Mumbai, while raising her two sons, and managing the household. In 1993, she received her doctorate in philosophy from the University of Mumbai. Author of numerous books in Marathi, her biography of Laxmanshastri Joshi, Tarkateertha- Ek Prajnapravaha, received critical acclaim, and was recognized as the book of the year (1995-1996) by the Maharashtra state Government Board of Literature. Since retiring as a professor, she continues to read avidly, mentor students and write, publish and speak at forums on Indian philosophy, religion and moral values. In her spare time, she enjoys her grandchildren and her great-granddaughter. Ashok Khandkar, Laxmanshastri's eldest grandson, was born in Wai. Raised in Mumbai, he spent most of his vacations with his grandparents in Wai. After obtaining his doctorate in engineering, he founded medical device companies bringing groundbreaking solutions to the healthcare markets. He won the Utah Governor's Science and Technology Medal for successfully pioneering a new class of biomaterials for orthopedics and growing a venture-backed high-tech industry and also won the HAP Paul Award of the International Society for Technology in Arthroplasty for his research on orthopedic implants. He serves as an adjunct associate professor in the materials science and engineering and metallurgy departments of the University of Utah. In his spare time, he pursues mountaineering, and reads widely on topics from technology to developmental economics and the intersection of philosophy, society, and justice.