Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



To Uphold the World carries a Foreword by Amartya Sen, and also engages seriously with his writing, together with Martha Nussbaum, on human capabilities. Rich is similarly engaged with the progressive ideas of Karl Polanyi, Manuel Castells, Vaclav Havel, Joseph Stiglitz and a number of other contemporary thinkers and theorists, including Hardt and Negri. Gandhi too is an obvious choice, for a book about the revival of ethical and ecological thinking within a framework of civilisation, globalisation and cosmopolitanism. The Dalai Lama provides an encouraging and appreciative Afterword. The ethico-political categories available in India, from niti and dharma to dhamma and ahimsa, from artha and kama to satya and karuna, have a fascinating history that is always rewarding to revisit. Rich writes with ease, so that the complex statecraft laid out in Kautilya’s text and the conflicted personality of Ashoka shine through his accounts, as though 2,300 years had not passed since these men founded a tradition of political thought for the subcontinent.


First published in Economic & Political Weekly on January 3, 2009:

Included in

Asian History Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.