Freedom Between Order and Chaos: Reading a Political Satire From India Jyotirmaya Sharma (University of Hyderabad) speaks at the Oxford South Asian Intellectual History Seminar on 16 May 2022. For queries, please contact seminar convenors at saih@history
Hasyarnava or The Ocean of Mirth, a medieval Sanskrit political satire, delineates two compelling themes that require serious consideration. First, the Indic traditions underline the centrality of order in a polity. This preoccupation is underlined by the supremacy of the Rajadharma-dandaniti framework. A great deal of violence and cruelty inheres within this framework. Second, if the order is the site for violence and force, it follows that a glimpse of freedom, unshackled from the conventional implications of the purusharthas can only be had in upholding the desirability of disorder.