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Arts feature

The man who got the West to fall in love with India's sacred literature

20 January 2024

9:00 AM

20 January 2024

9:00 AM

The first European translation of the Bhagavad Gita, a dialogue between Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna, appeared in English in 1785. Strangely, this classic of Indian spirituality, which is much concerned with liberation, was prefaced with talk of conquest, rightful dominion and chains of subjection.

The translation had been produced under the auspices of the English East India Company, then in the process of claiming for itself ever-larger swaths of territory in India.

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