Dust On the Throne: The Search For Buddhism In Modern India
- Author: Douglas Ober
- Publisher: Navayana
- ISBN: 9788195539291
Received wisdom has it that Buddhism disappeared from the land of its birth between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, long forgotten until British colonial scholars re-discovered it in the early 1800s. Its full-fledged revival, the story goes, occurred in 1956, when the Indian constitutionalist and civil rights pioneer, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, converted to Buddhism along with half a million of his Dalit followers. Dust on the Throne provides a radically new perspective on what has long been called India’s modern Buddhist revival.
Through extensive examination of disparate materials held in archives and temples across South Asia, Douglas Ober explores Buddhist religious dynamics through the course of expanding colonial empires, intra-Asian connectivity, and the intellectual pursuits of nineteenth and twentieth century Indian thinkers. Dust on the Throne recovers the integral role of lesser-known Indian anti-caste activists and non-Indian Buddhist monastics in the making of modern global Buddhism. Ober also accounts for the powerful influence Buddhism exerted in shaping modern Indian history.