Invoking the Past: The Uses of History in South Asia

Invoking the Past: The Uses of History in South Asia

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Item Code: IDF061
Author: Edited By: Daud Ali
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2002
ISBN: 0195659120
Pages: 411
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.6" X 5.5"
From the Back of the Book :

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


Contributors xi

Daud Ali

Beginnings: Race, Language and Region in the Making the Past
1. Some Appropriations of the Theory of Aryan Race Relating to the Beginnings of Indian History
Romila Thaper
2. Inventing the History of South India
Thomas R. Trautmann
3. Being a Brahmin the Marxist Way: E.M.S. Nambudiripad and the Pasts of Kerala
Dilip Menon
II. Thinking the Past as History: Nationalist Configurations
4. History Textbooks and the Transmission of the Pre-colonial Past in North-western India in the 1860s and 1870s
Avril A. Powell
5. Monumental Texts: The Critical Edition of India's National Heritage
Peter Van der Veer
6. A Time for Science: Past and Present in the Reconstruction of Hindu Science, 1860-1920
David Arnold
7. The Use of the Past in a Public Campaign: Ayurvedic Prachar in the Writings of Bhai Mohan Singh Vaid
Kavita Sivaramakrishnan
8. Discovering India; Travel, History and Identity in Late Nineteenth-and Early Twentieth-century India
Kumkum Chatterjee
III. Beyond History?: Memory, Heterogeneity, Community
9. Imperial Orders of the Past: The Semantics of History and Time in the Medieval Indo-Persianate Culture of North India
Sudipta Sen
10. Smrtis and Jatis: The Ritualization of Time and the Continuity of the Past
Mikael Aktor
11. Recovering Babel: Polyglot Histories from the Eighteenth-century Tamil Country
Sanjay Subrahmanyam
12. Mahasena at the Mahavihara: On the Interpretation and Politics of History in Pre-colonial Sri Lanka
Jonathan S. Walters
13. History, Devotion and the Search for Nabhadas of Galta
William Pinch

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