Transcultural Translations in an Age of Transition: Jay Narayan Ghoshal and Late Eighteenth-Century Bengal’Annual meeting of the Association of Asian Scholars (2003)
The later 18th century witnessed an era of transition in Bengal. On the one hand, it witnessed the decline of the indigenous nawabi of Bengal; on the other, it experienced the establishment of the early colonial state. During this era indigenous cultural concepts and intellectual traditions (i.e. "Hindu"/Sanskritic and Islamicate/Mughal) were strong and vigorous and were in fact being pressed into the service of the early colonial state. Simultaneously, western/colonial influences were gradually filtering into this society. This interface between indigenous and colonial intellectual and cultural tradition is usually located by existing scholarship in the later 19th century. This paper makes an important departure by studying such interactions in the later 18th century, when indigenous traditions were far stronger than what they became in the later 19th century and western/colonial influences had yet to gather the power they subsequently did.
This paper studies the social and intellectual activities of one of the most important personalities of later 18th century Bengal, i.e., Jaynarayan Ghoshal, who had risen to eminence through his connections with English trade to illuminate the issue referred to above. The paper emphasizes how Jaynarayan’s contact with missionaries as well as with indigenous groups like the Kartabhaja Vaishnavas combined to produce a complex and unique vision of "social progress" in the early colonial period. This mission of social progress is studied through Jaynarayan’s production of a literary treatise, the construction of a school and the building of a temple.
Publication DateMarch 29, 2003
Citation InformationDavid Curley. "Transcultural Translations in an Age of Transition: Jay Narayan Ghoshal and Late Eighteenth-Century Bengal’" Annual meeting of the Association of Asian Scholars (2003)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david-curley/13/