Anandamath, or The Sacred Brotherhood

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Winner of the A.K. Ramanujan Prize for Annotated Translation

This is a translation of a historically important Bengali novel. Published in 1882, Chatterji's Anandamath helped create the atmosphere and the symbolism for the nationalist movement leading to Indian independence in 1947. It contains the famous hymn Vande Mataram ("I revere the Mother"), which has become India's official National Song. Set in Bengal at the time of the famine of 1770, the novel reflects tensions and oppositions within Indian culture between Hindus and Muslims, ruler and ruled, indigenous people and foreign overlords, jungle and town, Aryan and non-Aryan, celibacy and sexuality. It is both a political and a religious work. By recreating the past of Bengal, Chatterji hoped to create a new present that involved a new interpretation of the past. Julius Lipner not only provides the first complete and satisfactory English translation of this important work, but supplies an extensive Introduction contextualizing the novel and its cultural and political history. Also included are notes offering the Bengali or Sanskrit terms for certain words, as well as explanatory notes for the specialized lay reader or scholar.

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Julius J. Lipner is Professor in Hinduism and the Comparative Study of Religion and Chairman of the Faculty Board of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of several books, including Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices and Brahmabandhab Upadhyay: The Life and Thought of a Revolutionary.

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"We have waited one hundred years for this book. The last two faithful (but incomplete) translations of Bankimcandra Chatterji's classic novel were in the early 1900s and are long out of print. Lipner's translation supersedes all previous versions: his rendering of Anandamath, complete with introduction and splendid critical apparatus, will delight scholars of Indian literature, religion, and history, Bengali culture, and Hindu goddess worship. At last." -- Rachel Fell McDermott, chair of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures Department, Barnard College


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