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Nation at Play

Nation at Play

A History of Indian Sport

Ronojoy Sen
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Nation at Play is a novel history of India’s engagement with sport and a probing analysis of its cultural and political development under monarchy and the Raj, as well as in the decades after Independence. Interestingly, over time, some sports that originated in India have fallen out of favour, while others, such as cricket, a colonial import, have been adopted and made wholly India’s own.
Sen follows the transformation of sport from an elite, kingly pastime to a national obsession tied to colonialism, nationalism and free market liberalization. He pays special attention to two modern phenomena: the dominance of cricket in the Indian consciousness and the chronic failure of a billion-strong nation to compete successfully in international sporting competitions, such as the Olympics. Innovatively incorporating examples from popular media and other unconventional sources, Nation at Play not only captures the political nature of sport in India but also reveals the patterns of patronage, clientage, and institutionalization that have bound this diverse nation together for centuries.
‘A fine, lucid, engaging and constantly surprising study. Highly recommended’-Gideon Haigh
‘An informative and readable account of the Indian history of football, hockey, wrestling, boxing and cricket in the last two centuries’-Partha Chatterjee
‘An ingenious history of Indian sport . . . tells the story of India’s mostly failed love affair with competitive sport since the nineteenth century’-Mukul Kesavan
‘A fascinating, rich and thoroughly engaging history of sport in India’-Joseph S. Alter

Imprint: India Viking

Published: Oct/2015

ISBN: 9780670088362

Length : 400 Pages

MRP : ₹599.00

Nation at Play

A History of Indian Sport

Ronojoy Sen

Nation at Play is a novel history of India’s engagement with sport and a probing analysis of its cultural and political development under monarchy and the Raj, as well as in the decades after Independence. Interestingly, over time, some sports that originated in India have fallen out of favour, while others, such as cricket, a colonial import, have been adopted and made wholly India’s own.
Sen follows the transformation of sport from an elite, kingly pastime to a national obsession tied to colonialism, nationalism and free market liberalization. He pays special attention to two modern phenomena: the dominance of cricket in the Indian consciousness and the chronic failure of a billion-strong nation to compete successfully in international sporting competitions, such as the Olympics. Innovatively incorporating examples from popular media and other unconventional sources, Nation at Play not only captures the political nature of sport in India but also reveals the patterns of patronage, clientage, and institutionalization that have bound this diverse nation together for centuries.
‘A fine, lucid, engaging and constantly surprising study. Highly recommended’-Gideon Haigh
‘An informative and readable account of the Indian history of football, hockey, wrestling, boxing and cricket in the last two centuries’-Partha Chatterjee
‘An ingenious history of Indian sport . . . tells the story of India’s mostly failed love affair with competitive sport since the nineteenth century’-Mukul Kesavan
‘A fascinating, rich and thoroughly engaging history of sport in India’-Joseph S. Alter

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Ronojoy Sen

Ronojoy Sen is senior research fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies and Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. He is the author of Articles of Faith: Religion, Secularism, and the Indian Supreme Court, and has co-edited several books, including Being Muslim in South Asia: Diversity and Daily Life. He has a Ph.D. in
political science from the University of Chicago, and read history in Presidency College, Calcutta. He has been an editor with the Times of India.