Negotiating India’s Past

Negotiating India’s Past

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Author: Eminent Contributors
Editor(s): Biswamoy Pati / Bhairabi Prasad / et. Al
Publisher: Tulika
Year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 347
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8185229813


The essays collected in the book weave together issues and concerns of different scholars from the world of Indian history. The themes they examine reflect a common desire to understand historical processes over time and from the perspective of different regions, without losing sight of the broader historical context.

Through this attempt, the book perhaps demonstrates not only the fascinating possibilities of India’s historical scholarship, but also the fact that it has indeed come of age. The fifteen essays included here, covering the early, medieval and modern periods of Indian history, are organized under three thematic sections: ideology, legitimacy and the state; environment, exchange and economic transactions; social change and resistance. Together, they present ways of negotiating India’s past.

The essays that focus on early Indian history delineate the change of orientation in this field. This is borne out by the ground that has been covered: the history of archaeology in colonial India, political processes and the structure of the policy, social history, gender, the relevance of both text and context and the environment - all these are taken up for scrutiny.

The essays that examine different aspects of 'medieval' India are based on a wide variety of sources. They question several of the assumptions of historians and historiography centered around subversive cults and nomadic peoples, and examine crucial aspects related to the monetary system and the dynamics of early trading contacts with the English.

The essays dealing with 'modern' India discuss the complex interactions associated with the 'colonial encounter' and the negotiations they entailed.

This book is in memory of Professor Partha Sarathi Gupta, who taught at the Department of History, Delhi University, from 1962 till 1999. He passed away suddenly on 10 August 1999, just a few days after his retirement. A dedicated historian with a zeal for exactitude, an erudite scholar and a committed teacher, Professor Gupta was in many ways an institution within an institution and a source of inspiration for generations of students, including many of the contributors to this volume.



Partha Sarathi Gupta (1934-1999)


The Discovery of the Indus Civilization: Early Intuitions and Unknown Reports, 1826-1920

The Early State in Orissa: From the Perspective of Changing Forms of Patronage and Legitimation

The Making of a Mandala: Fuzzy Frontiers of Kalhana’s Kashmir

The Legitimacy of Order: Music as Ideology in Ancient and Medieval Tamilakam

Pindaris, Soldiers and State Formation in Malwa, c.1800-18


Water Resources and Forests in Southern Rajasthan:
Glimpses from Inscriptions
(Seventh-Seventeenth Centuries)

Mughals and Mahmudis: The Incorporation of Gujarat into the Imperial Monetary System

Nomadic or Semi-Nomadic: Banjaras and the Indian Economy, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries

English Trading Methods in the Seventeenth Century and the Rajapur Experiment


The Household, the Community and Women:
Perspectives from the Early Grhyasutras, c.800-500 BC

Symbols of Resistance: Non-Brahmanical Sants as Religious Heroes in Late Medieval India

The Bhils in Colonial Mewar

Negotiating with Dharma Pinnu: Towards a Social History of Smallpox in Colonial Orissa

A Note on Jobbers and Jobbery

World War II and the Politics of Loyalty and Defiance in Bengal, 1939-42.