History

History

Issue Articles

A History of Ordinary People in France

‘How a family lived in their ordinariness for three centuries, and the mode of telling this story throws light on the "big events" in France from the pre-revolutionary era to the French Revolution and its aftermath.’

The Making of India’s Linguistic Landscape

India's linguistic landscape is much too vast and diverse to neatly contain within one clean narrative. Various forces — not just linguistic — have shaped individual languages, leading up to the modern forms we use today.

The Deadly Fever

A people’s history of the influenza epidemic in India
"The history of influenza serves as a reminder of how Indians & individuals across the Global South have long experienced the ravages of epidemics, and how marginalised peoples across the globe made meaning from the devastation as they struggled for survival."

India: From the World’s Largest Democracy to an Ethnocracy

The principle that Hindus can rule and marginalise others has firmly established itself beyond the BJP and the RSS. This emerging ethnocracy in India draws on electoral victories and legislative majorities, making formal suspension of democracy unnecessary.

Planning Bangalore

The colonial legacy of discriminatory housing
'Improvement' measures in Bangalore pushed the poor, the subordinated castes, and the working classes to the edges of planned development. The city's layout continues to reflect these inequalities.

The Nation State and Modern Sport

'National feeling is not something that has been injected into sport by swaggering players, corrupt politicians, and a scheming media looking to boost ratings; it is native to modern sport, something that is built into its historical evolution.'

The Strange ‘Hindu Murders’ of the US West Coast in the Early 20th Century

In the 1930s, a spate of murders claimed the lives of several Punjabi men in California’s Central Valley region. US police and press were quick to ascribe these killings to mysterious old ‘Oriental’ cults and factional rivalries.

The Politics of Language in Assam

Language has been at the heart of political debate in Assam since the formation of the British colonial province of Assam in 1874, then through the turbulent decades leading to Independence, the separation of Sylhet during Partition, and into our times.

‘Conquering Delhi’

The popular culture of the farmers’ protests
Cultural motifs of the Sikhs' ‘conquest’ of Delhi animate the art and music of the farmers’ movement. Memories of defiance and triumph, juxtaposed with images of the protests, inspire the farmers to go on despite hardships.

Himalayan Histories

The Himalayas have been a zone of global interactions and exchanges over the centuries, quite unlike the stereotype of remoteness and isolation.

Rammohun Roy's ‘Gift'

His first published piece
On the eve of the 250th birth anniversary of Rammohun Roy, a discussion of his 'Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhiddin', a tract written in Persian on the One Universal Truth.

Misreading the Past

The UGC’s New Framework for Indian History
A new undergraduate history curriculum reduces the complexity of the past to simplistic ideas of religious difference. The official promotion of such ahistorical thinking adds weight to the project of misreading the past to fuel divisive passions.

Historical Roots of the Rise of Hindutva in West Bengal

For a century, Hindu organisations have worked amongst Dalits in Bengal to incorporate them into the religious community, while the Left excised the question of caste from its discourse. These legacies have come to the fore as the BJP rises in the state.

The Cultural Unity of the Deccan Plateau, 1347–1687

Between the 14th and 17th centuries, the states of the Deccan drew on the same resources to base their authority -- the memory of the prestigious Chalukyas maharajas of Kalyana, and the prestige associated with Persian language and culture.

The Other Indians of the First World War

The Allied victory in the First World War was won on the back of the labour of non-combatant ‘coolies’, whose deployment allowed for swift mobilisation across fronts. A new book narrates the story of their struggles on the battlefields and of their neglect.

Dharma and Caste in the Mahabharata

Some episodic suggestions
The Mahabharata is peopled by the ‘higher’ castes but there are important personages from the ‘lower’ castes whose presence gives a radical salience to ‘dharma’ as set out in the epic, to the point of even suggesting a subversion of the dominant ideology.

The Promise of India: Recalling Dadabhai Naoroji

A new biography brings to the fore Dadabhai Naoroji’s activities in India and England for self-rule and his early socialist and anti-racist thought. It places the ‘Father of Indian Nationalism’ among the leading non-European thinkers and reformers of the time.

In the Name of the Nation

Nietzsche’s Abyss Staring Back?
Sanjib Baruah's new book is 'a prescient ledger' of what Northeast India has become and at the same time 'a cautionary tale' of where muscular policy may take us in the rest of India.

The Crisis of Citizenship in Assam

Autonomy and social justice are often in a tense relationship in Assam. While the demands for autonomy reflect the desire for territorial control over land, demands for social justice reflect an insistence on citizenship and equality under constitutional law.

India's Gift to the Struggle against Apartheid

ES Reddy – whose ideals were forged in India’s fight for freedom – went beyond the confines of nationalism to embrace the anti-apartheid struggle. His commitment to solidarity & justice across borders is a lesson at a time when societies are turning insular.

A Prehistory of Religious Modernity

A comparative study of the Brahmo Samaj and the Swaminarayanis, two sects seen as polar opposites, raises questions on both the superiority of the Hindu reform project during the colonial period and on claims that traditionalist faiths are intolerant.

Remembering The Second World War in North East India

The Second World War is memorialised in the North East through narratives of Allied and Japanese veterans, nationalism, and war tourism. Lost in the process is how the war and issues of post-war compensation shaped the integration of the region into India.

Subverting the System

Reflections on the Fate of Democracies in the 21st Century
The emergence of political leaders the world over with a contempt for the democratic systems they preside over, requires a re-examination of the ideas of democracy & representation. This is a necessary preliminary towards salvaging ‘government by discussion’.
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