One of the world's leading historians examines the great Indian liberal tradition, stretching from Rammohan Roy in the 1820s, through Dadabhai Naoroji in the 1880s to G. K. Gokhale in the 1900s. This powerful new study shows how the ideas of constitutional, and later 'communitarian' liberals influenced, but were also rejected by their opponents and successors, including Nehru, Gandhi, Indian socialists, radical democrats and proponents of Hindu nationalism. Equally, Recovering Liberties contributes to the rapidly developing field of global intellectual history, demonstrating that the ideas we associate with major Western thinkers - Mills, Comte, Spencer and Marx - were received and transformed by Indian intellectuals in the light of their own traditions to demand justice, racial equality and political representation. In doing so, Christopher Bayly throws fresh light on the nature and limitations of European political thought and re-examines the origins of Indian democracy.
Professor Sir Christopher Bayly, KB, LittD, FBA, is Professor of Imperial and Naval History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St Catherine's College. He is currently Director of the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge. He has published works on the history of the city of Allahabad in north India, Indian merchant communities, empire and information in India and the origin of nationality in South Asia. Professor Bayly was awarded the Wolfson Prize in History for 'lifetime achievement' in 2006 and the Royal Asiatic Society's medal in 2008. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Historical Society. He became a trustee of the British Museum in 2008.