In 1921, a half-naked sannyasi appears in Dhaka and is identified as the Second Kumar of Bhawal a quintessential zamindar given to hunting, shooting and womanizing who was believed to have died in Darjeeling twelve years earlier. Persuaded to visit his estate, where he is interrogated, the fakir is disowned as an impostor by his ‘widow’, but his sisters swear that he is their long-lost brother. Then begins a legal battle in which the sannyasi seeks to prove his identity while others seek to destroy his claims, and, soon, the whole of British India is divided on the identity of the sannyasi. This book tells the incredible story of the prince as pauper, of pauper as resurrected prince. Partha Chatterjee’s retelling of the notorious ‘Bhawal Sannyasi Case’ – one of India’s best-known and most historic legal battles – has been widely acclaimed and was declared the joint winner of the Rabindra Purashkar in 2003.
About the Author
Partha Chatterjee, a founding member of the Subaltern Studies collective, is one of the world’s major political theorists. He has been director of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and is a professor of anthropology at Columbia University. His many books include The Politics of the Governed, and its sequel, Lineages of Political Society