Beyond Dharma: Dissent in the Ancient Indian Sciences of Sex And Politics

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‘A groundbreaking book. Wendy Doniger subverts accepted notions of dharma using the prism of the Arthashastra and Kamasutra. This is not simply “original”; nothing like this has been done before.’—Patrick Olivelle, author of King, Governance, and Law in Ancient India

Ancient Hindu texts speak of the three aims of human life: dharma, artha and kama. Translated, these might be called religion, politics and pleasure, and each is held to be an essential requirement of a full and fulfilling life. Balance among the three is a goal not always met, however, and dharma has historically taken precedence over the other two qualities, or goals, in Hindu life. Here, Wendy Doniger offers a spirited and close reading of ancient Indian writings—especially Kautilya’s Arthashastra and Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra—unpacking a long but unrecognized history of opposition against dharma.

Doniger argues that scientific disciplines (shastras) have offered lively and continuous criticism of dharma over many centuries. She chronicles the tradition of veiled subversion, uncovers connections to key moments of resistance and voices of dissent throughout Indian history, and offers insights into the Indian theocracy’s subversion of science by an exclusivist version of religion today.

Author's Name

ISBN

978-93-89958-01-0

Format

Paperback

Book Type
Imprint

Speaking Tiger

Pages

248

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