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

Anirudh DeshpandeSubscribe to Anirudh Deshpande

Firearms in Medieval India

Firearms in Medieval India Gunpowder and Firearms: Warfare in Medieval India by Iqtidar Alam Khan; OUP, New Delhi, 2004; ANIRUDH DESHPANDE There are innumerable ways in which the past connects with the present. Reading military history, like other kinds of histories, illuminates many important aspects of this connection. Pick up any modern handbook or encyclopedia of military hardware

Films as Historical Sources or Alternative History

The time has come to seriously examine the approach of historians to cinema in general and the historical film in particular. Since history itself has proved to be a dynamic discipline, the habit of viewing films with an eye to 'facticity' should give way to a nuanced understanding of the historical potential of cinema. This paper argues for a new relationship between visual and written history in the interest of both public memory and a socially relevant history. If historians want to bridge the widening chasm between public and academic histories they have no choice but to take relatively new forms of knowledge like film seriously. On the other hand, film-makers cannot, and should not, ignore the context of literacy informing their work. Given the will and ample opportunity to collaborate, historians and film-makers, operating in a heterogeneous field of post-literacy, literacy and pre-literacy, can learn a lot from each other.

Modernity, Terrorism and the Masquerade of Conflict

America's wars on Afghanistan and Iraq have raised many questions on terrorism, modern war, the role of Islamic fundamentalism in opposition to the west's appropriation of modernity and the continuing relevance of imperialist military and economic aggression in contemporary north-south debates. Terrorism is a form of identitarian conflict which has a history rooted in the colonial past of many third world countries. Afghanistan is a good example illustrating the consolidation of so-called modern and traditional identities in modern history. Time and again western imperialist powers have portrayed Afghanistan as the battle frontier of western civilisation. This essay offers a deconstruction of this western mythology and points out that a holistic critique of the western appropriation of real and symbolic modernity is necessary to comprehend the problem of religious terrorism and thereby wrest the anti-American initiative from the terrorist.

Interpretative Possibilities of Historical Fiction

This paper, based on a selective reading of a historical novel set in 17th century India, attempts a theoretical reconstruction of Indian military history. Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar is however not merely a narration of events and experiences in the life of Maharaj Kumar, heir to the throne of Mewar. Nagarkar conceives him as a political character to serve as an effective foil to the milieu of feudal India, with all its possibilities and problems; his attitude towards the military and other matters are highlighted to deliberately counter prevailing feudal norms. Nagarkar skilfully reconstructs Maharaj Kumar's military experiments to critically examine the military mentality of feudal Mewar.

Critical Options

 India’s Nuclear Security edited by Raju G C Thomas and Amit Gupta; Vistaar Publications, New Delhi, 2000; pp 323, Rs 595 (hardbound).

Instability and Possibilities in South Asia

The continued dominance of Pakistan-supported Taliban poses threats to stability in northern India, especially Kashmir. Pakistan's attempts to wage a proxy war with India over Kashmir by using Afghan trained militiamen can be effectively countered by India actively wooing and offering assistance to Taliban-opposed nations like Iran, Russia and several central Asian nations.

Hindustani in India

The decline of Hindi in India and abroad is a well established fact. Ironically this downtrend became faster in independent India. The growth of cosmopolitan, westward looking India has worsened the situation. English is pushing out Hindi among the elite. But the knowledge of philosophy of a society cannot be developed in a language which 90 per cent of the masses do not understand.

Caste and Electoral Politics

Caste and Electoral Politics Indian Politics and the 1998 Election: Regionalism, Hindutva and State Politics edited by Ramashray Roy and Paul Wallace; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1999; pp 375, Rs 450 (hardback).

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