ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Beyond Ramanujan and the Ramayana

Delhi University has removed A K Ramanujan's essay, "Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation" from its history syllabus. Ramanujan is an engrossing writer, drawing attention to a range of narratives related to the epic from Sanskrit to Kannada and Thai. Most importantly, he uses the different tellings of the Rama story as cultural artefacts that shape and are in turn shaped by our daily existence. Why then should young adult learners be prevented from learning about them?

Contexts, Content and the Social-Science Classroom

The Central Board for Secondary Education's Teachers' Manual on Formative Assessment which engages with textbooks and the syllabi was designed under the National Curriculum Framework for Class IX a few years ago. Although it facilitates formative assessment of the learner as opposed to the end of the term examination, the significance of this manual has not been acknowledged. This article evaluates the manual in terms of its principles and contents as well as the inclusions and exclusions and also examines it in terms of the guidelines that were laid down in the curriculum framework.

Issues of Faith

For those who have chosen to explore the implications of the Allahabad High Court's verdict on the Ram janmabhoomi-Babri masjid dispute, one of the issues that have been particularly troubling is the question of faith. What is faith? What are the contexts in which it is invoked? And why are some of the implications of such invocations matters of concern? This paper focuses on the narrow perspective from which the richness and diversity of Hindu beliefs and practices have been represented in the verdict. Though many feel that the Ayodhya verdict has been successful in maintaining peace and harmony in turbulent times, what is distressing are the circuitous, even blatantly partisan, ways in which faith has been brought centre stage within legal discourse.

Future of an Ancient Past

Ancient India: New Research edited by Upinder Singh and Nayanjot Lahiri

Kosambi and Questions of Caste

Caste assumed a centrality in D D Kosambi's relentless quest for the origins of Indian society, since for him it was a category to understand socio-economic differences. This essay first investigates how Kosambi conceptualised caste as a structure. It then examines some specific aspects of his study of caste such as how caste identities were constituted, consolidated and even contested. And, third, the essay seeks to contextualise both the issues and methodologies of Kosambi's scholarship within more recent discussions and debates on caste.

Looking Ahead

The National Curriculum Framework 2005 has proposed significant changes to the existing school history syllabus. While the proposed changes have already generated much debate, one of the key modifications envisages a shift away from mere memorisation to building skills and historical sensitivity through the learners' own efforts.

Women in Ancient India

The Problem of Identity: Women in Early Indian Inscriptions by Kirit K Shah; Oxford University Press, New Delhi,
KUMKUM ROY Women have acquired a new visibility as subjects of history in recent decades. Shah

National Textbooks for the Future?

We have been told how the sentiments of self-proclaimed religious leaders have been taken into consideration in rewriting school history textbooks. What is obvious is that the first casualty of this rewriting has been truth. Presumably these so-called religious leaders do not include the quest for truth in their agenda. Neither does the National Council of Educational Research and Training. The case of the Class XI book on ancient India authored by Makkhan Lal.

The King s Household-Structure Space in the Sastric Tradition

Structure/Space in the Sastric Tradition Kumkum Roy An exploration of the definitions of the royal household within the sastric tradition points to a situation where, in spite of attempts to homogenise and iron out differences, patriarchal and non-patriarchal possibilities existed. tn-recognising the strengths of the latter, we can move towards a fuller understanding of sociopolitical processes in general and gendered relations in particular in early India.

In Search of Our Past

Women, like other subordinate groups in society are among the muted or even silent voices of history. They have been excluded both as actors and as authors from featuring in history as they should and remain one of its most neglected subjects. The exercise of rewriting the past has been confined to invisibilising women: their presence has only been negatively registered, mainly through a vast silence.

However, it is necessary to draw attention to the fact that while in general women have been invisible in historical writing this invisibility varies vastly over time and space according to differences in social and cultural practices. The Indian situation represents an example of this relative visibility of women in historical writing particularly with regard to 'ancient' India wherein historians created a certain space for women in the reconstruction of the past, but the space conceded to them existed only within clearly defined parameters as this review will show.

In this paper we undertake, first, a broadly representative rather than comprehensive historiographical survey of studies on women in early India. The survey does not concentrate on factual details, important though these may be, but on the preconceived notions or assumptions which may have determined the kinds of facts considered historically relevant. Second, attention is to paid to the kinds of explanations offered for changes in women's status. And finally we examine possible alternatives. 


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