Jnana Pravaha provides a fitting venue to celebrate Professor Bayly’s remarkable career, not least because his early work focused so closely on the city of Benares during the 18th and 19th centuries, representing as it did the study of India’s passage to modernity. Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars, for example, revised the relationship between emergent capital and colonial society and made visible the central role of merchants and magnates, while Empire and Information (1996) brought the north Indian print milieu to life and again and most recently reconstructing political ideas in Recovering Liberties (2011). It was the Gangetic Plain, including Benares and Allahabad that first brought Bayly to North India, and so it is only appropriate to mark his scholarly achievement in this city.
This event is the result of an intellectual and institutional collaboration between scholars at Jnana Pravaha in Varanasi and at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. It brings together speakers from India and abroad to make for an international celebration of the city of Benares and the work of C. A. Bayly.