Author: Romila Thapar
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670049824
In 1026, Mahmud of Ghazni raided the temple of Somanatha. The history of this raid and subsequent events at the site have been reconstructed in the last couple of centuries largely on the basis of the Turko-Persian sources. There were other sources that also refer to events at Somanatha throughout a period of almost a thousand years, but these have rarely been quoted when reconstructing this history. Until very recent times, there were few attempts to either juxtapose or integrate these other texts in order to arrive at a more complete understanding of the history of Somanatha. Such sources include local Sanskrit inscriptions, biographies of kings and merchants written from a Jaina Perspective, epics of Rajput-Turkish relations composed at various Rajput courts, popular narratives of the activities of pirs and gurus, all of which, in some way, have a bearing on the history of Somanatha.
This book is an attempt to draw together these many voices, to view the sources comparatively, but above all to place each narrative in a historical context. This also involves exploring why a particular, and often distinctive, perspective was adopted by each. It suggests a different history of Somanatha from the one that has been projected through the last two centuries. It underlines the significance of examining the historical perceptions of how authors present events, both in the narratives written in the past and in the interpretations of past events in present times.
The Turko-Persian Narratives
Sanskrit Inscriptions from Somanatha and its Vicinity
Biographies, Chronicles and Epics
The Perceptions of Yet Others
Colonial Interpretations and Nationalist Reactions
Constructing Memory, Writing Histories