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

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Beyond the Break with the Past

In the 1940s, Bengali Muslim intellectuals sought to find a new autonomy in a comprehensive break with the texts and language of the Hindu-dominated literature of the “Bengal Renaissance.” But within a few years of Pakistan’s founding, a new generation argued that disavowing the past was not libe

Collision amid Collusion and Cooperation

This paper examines the history of largely understudied women’s rights activists in the early years of East Pakistan. While they collided with West Pakistani activists—and the central state—on matters of culture, identity, and political and economic issues, they actively cooperated with West Pakistani counterparts to fight gender discrimination and to demand reform in women’s rights from the state.

 

Dhaka 1969

A reading of 1969, the momentous year of protests against Ayub Khan’s dictatorship in East Pakistan is offered, going beyond the popular tropes of inevitability and loss. The moments when Bengali nationalism exceeded its own expectations by making michhil or procession its main focus are identified. A rumination on Dhaka, which found its present cultural and political identity through the upheaval of the 1960s is presented.

 

Independence, Freedom, Liberation

The idea of swadhinata (which translates as both freedom and independence), along with a novel conception of liberation (mukti), animated the founding discourse of Bangladesh in 1971. This paper explores how these ideas, and their longer histories, jostled together to shape the promise of Bangladesh’s founding. It also reflects on how the conflictual promise of 1971 underwrote the political history of post-independence Bangladesh.

 

Acquiring Land in India

The Political Economy of Land Acquisition in India: How a Village Stops Being One by Dhanmanjiri Sathe, Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan (Imprint by Springer Nature), 2017; pp xvi + 204, price not indicated.

Shudra Identity and Struggle

The Shudras: Vision for a New Path edited by Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd and Karthik Raja Karuppusamy, New Delhi: Vintage (Penguin Random House), 2021; pp 272, 699.

Insanity and Colonial Knowledge

The social historiography of the Tezpur Lunatic Asylum can bring interesting new dimensions and debates to critically enquire the history of psychiatry and medicine under colonialism. From the colonial medical records, the article refers to the notion of “madness” and its variants. It emphasises on the social history of the TLA, which occupies a space between knowledge and power under colonial domination. It also critiques the power relations, while categorising the “insane” and bureaucratic involvement during such report writing processes.

 

Writing Histories of Regions in Premodern India

The Making of Regions in Indian History: Society, State and Identity in Premodern Odisha by Bhairabi Prasad Sahu, Delhi: Primus Books, 2020; pp xvi + 274, 1,095.

 

The Pandemic and Its Discontents in India

India and the Pandemic: The First Year, Essays from The India Forum by The India Forum, 2021; Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan; pp xvii + 335, `695.

 

History Matters

In enabling us to acknowledge differences, and developing skills of thinking and analysis, history matters.

 

When It Is Time for an Idea

The multicultural enclaves and plurilateral overlaps resulting from constant cultural transactions and change, which defi ne the idea of India today, it is argued, dates back to the early medieval times, spanning the mid-fi rst to the mid-second millennium CE. Flowing from it, the author urges the recognition of “the early medieval origins of India,” replacing earlier constructions, howsoever cherished. The shift in the discursive ground in recent times and emerging consensus needs appreciation.

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