About the Book :
The book, Essays in National Idealism in the words of the author himself, represents "an endeavour towards an explanation of true significance of the national movement in India." In fact, it marks a stage of development of Coomaraswamy's own thought reflecting perhaps the quest for his own identity. In his view, the Indian National Movement had its base in an idealistic movement, for it represented a struggle for spiritual and mental freedom from the domination of an alien ideal.
As early as 1909 Coomaraswamy strived for ideal type of national education to be imparted by purely Indian institutions wherein in addition to other subjects, the study of art based on deepest principles of life should be a must. According to him no regeneration of Indian people would be meaningful unless there is similar expression in Indian art, as the causes for the degeneration of Indian art and factors preventing its revival are identical with those that prevent the recovery of India's political efficiency.
In fifteen chapters of the book, Coomaraswamy discusses a number of subjects like nationalism, various aspects of national struggle, Indian nationality, aims and methods of Indian art, art and yoga, Western impact on Indian art, ancient and modern Indian art, education in India, Swadeshi, Indian music and education, and a variety of other interesting subjects.
About the Author :
Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, the greatest among the Indian Art-historians, was born in Colombo on August 22, 1877. After graduating from the University of London, he became the Director of the Mineralogical Survey of Ceylon. Between 1906 and 1917, when he joined as the Curator of Indian Art in the Boston Museum, he was busy lecturing on Indian art and formed societies for the study of Indian Art. In 1938, he became the Chairman ofNational Committeefor India's Freedom. His contributions on Indian philosophy, religion, art and iconography,paintingand literature are of the greatest importance as were his contributions on music,scienceand Islamic art. He died on September 9, 1947.