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

Ajay SkariaSubscribe to Ajay Skaria

Remembering Chris Bayly

Chris Bayly--who passed away recently--began as a historian in the classical Cambridge School mould but moved away from the school's understanding of the locality in his second work where he stressed on locality as a place shaped both by social history, and by participation in regional and even continental networks. He saw himself as a robustly empirical historian, suspicious of postmodernism and the linguistic turn.

Remembering Pandian

M S S Pandian, who passed away in New Delhi after a cardiac arrest on 10 November 2014, at the age of 57, was among the younger members who joined the editorial collective of the Subaltern Studies in 1990. A few of us had known him from the time he was a PhD student at the University of Madras,...

Questions of Hurt

While the threat posed by Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code is evident following the pulping of The Hindus, there is a need to understand the relation of these sections with republican democracy. This article explores three themes. First, it argues that these sections are themselves part of the government of free speech put in place so that "ordinary citizens" would not be hurt. Second, focusing on the writings of S N Balagangadhara, it explores how a narrative of Hindu hurt emerges. Third, it explores how Wendy Doniger's understanding of Hinduism is organised quite differently - around disciplinary history's concept of context. But contextualisation too, it suggests, is marked by a constitutive blindness to the thinking of religion as a pure gift.

The Project of Provincialising Europe: Reading Dipesh Chakrabarty

This essay explores the distinctive way in which Dipesh Chakrabarty's writings, especially Provincialising Europe, have engaged in both questioning "European thought" (its Eurocentrism) and seeking to renew it.

Only One Word, Properly Altered

In the first Indian edition of his book, Hind Swaraj, Gandhi confessed that there was only one word that he would wish to alter: "prostitute", an English translation of the word, 'veshya'. In Hind Swaraj, Gandhi etched out his ideas for an India freed of British control and also makes a critique of modern civilisation with his emphasis on the "proper". The book juxtaposes the connotations evoked by the prefix, 'swa', against that evoked by the image of the veshya, who is always at someone's control and whose agency is perforce without. The use of these words served Gandhi well in seeking to enunciate his own beliefs regarding violence and domination. He breaks from the modern tradition that sees domination as the taking away of power and agency, and reconceptualises resistance as the recovery of resistance. It also questions domination by insisting on a subaltern responsibility for subordination; not as a loss of power, but the loss of swa.

Some Aporias of History

Historians and social scientists confronted with pasts imagined differently from history have resorted to one of two strategies: converting oral traditions into the equivalent of archival sources and then writing histories that adhere to the norms of western professional history writing; or by denying any significant traffic between history and other froms of conceiving pasts, subsuming the latter under the rubrics of myth or more recently, memory. This article argues that the Dangi's 'vadilcha goth' or tales about ancestors are an engagement with modernity and its paradigmatic trope, history. The subaltern practice of anomalous and hybrid histories, in the Dangs, produces a multiplicity of pasts quite different from those multiple histories which historians conceive of and increasingly call for.
Back to Top