India: A Sacred Geography by Diana L. Eck : Harmony, Random House, New York, 2012, 559 pp., Rs 599, ISBN 978-0-385-34708-2

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  • May 2013
    Review Essay

    India: A Sacred Geography by Diana L. Eck is an important contribution to the literature on the processes that have contributed to imagining India long before the age of the nation state. Eck traces the ‘prehistory’ of the idea of India, locating it in the geographical nature of Hindu spiritual practice and pilgrimage.
    Firmly refuting the Orientalist notion that India was a creation of the British who benevolently provided political unity to warring (religious and/or regional) communities, 1 Eck shows how the imagination of India was firmly rooted in the shared meanings created by the geographical landscape, each place anchored by a myth or story, and connected in turn to another place, myth and story.