The essays in this volume reflect on an undeniably important form of knowledge: history. They explore the variety of 'uses' of history in South Asia. Colonial and nationalist themes occupy the first two sections of the book, which take up topics like the racialization of history and its political appropriation for right and left-wing agendas, as well as the nationalist and Hindutva recasting of the past of Indologists, scientists, doctors and travel-writers.
The final section focuses on a wide range of pre-colonial materials, from Sanskritic uses of the past in the theory of mixed castes to Sri Lankan and north Indian debates about religious community and history, from Mughal imperial pasts to south Indian innovations. This section reveals a complexity of traditions rarely acknowledged by those who attribute history to the coming of modernity.
The essays in this volume alert us to the problem of the shifting significance and place of the past at different moments in the history of South Asia. They also suggest the need for a more nuanced and sustained examination of the often stereotypical attributes of pre-colonial, and nationalist history. This book will be of interest to scholars of South Asian history and politics.
About the Author :
Daud Ali is Lecturer in Early Indian History, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Excerpts From Review
'The range of essays drawn from various regions and times offer... a rich and many-layered interpretation of the uses to which the past has been put, enriching our understanding of history.'
- Journal of the School of Oriental and African Studies.
'The ease with which the essays range through the concepts of temporality, narrativity, authenticity, memory, polity and social identities in the context of the seemingly inexhaustible range of south Asian texts... is remarkable.'
- The Telegraph
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