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

Colonial history and historiographySubscribe to Colonial history and historiography

Past Continuous

In the early 20th century, when K M Munshi was making a name for himself in the literary and cultural sphere of Gujarat, he was both intervening in and departing from the past. Curating elements of the past that suited his equally curated modernity, Munshi exemplifies many connections that become evident of Gujarat in the subsequent years. In this paper, we ask: “What was Munshi’s past?” In other words, whom was he responding to from the 19th century? The period of our inquiry in Munshi’s life is the one that witnessed the famous Patan trilogy. The questions are situated in both cultural history and literature.

The 1872 Census

Often cited as an exemplary form of the epistemological violence wrought by the British colonial rule in much postcolonial inquiry, the 1872 Census merits closer analysis in the context of wider 19th-century conversations about the so-called science of statistics. An in-depth study of the processes and reports reveals that the village munduls were in fact indispensable to the actual work of enumeration and the singular figure of “indigenous agency.” The role they played constituted an important condition of the possibility of implementing the census in late 19th-century Bengal.
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