“An erosion of self-esteem is one of the commonest symptoms of dispossession. It doesn’t occur only at the naïve level ... even more troubling is when it comes in the company of sophistication & learning.”

— Chinua Achebe, Home & Exile

Liang Qichao can be arguably considered as the foremost intellectual leader of modern China. Born on February 23rd 1873, Qichao saw a China under crises of all sorts when he was coming of age. He launched several magazines, set up schools and trained disciples who went on to become quite powerful. He also had a huge influence on younger readers, including Mao Zedong, who read his works in his youth. The intellectual journey of Liang was not a smooth one. He was in a constant to and fro motion. While started off a Confucian, Liang later embraced western ideas as the way forward for China to embark on the progress. However, Liang ended his flirt with Westoxification as soon as he realized that the western idea of modernity did not offer satisfactory answers to moral questions. After this realization, he once again tried to find solace in Confucianism. The voice of Liang was the earliest response to the civilizational mission of Colonial powers and Western modernity. He died on January 19th 1929.