Abstract: During the Indian nationalist period from 1880 until Independence, the Bhagavad Gita assumed a new dominant role in Indian religious culture and public discourse. Leaders of the Independence movement were instrumental in identifying the Gita as the classical Indian work with the greatest relevance to contemporary needs. In this talk I briefly examine three issues in this shift: What were the reasons for the great growth in the Gita's public? How was the Gita read in Indian nationalist circles? And what were the consequences of their adaptation of the Bhagavad Gita as a key work of Indian modernity?
Organized by the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures as part of our Pre-Modern India series.