History

History

Issue Articles

India’s Princes, the Ingenious Rebels against the Crown

India’s maharajahs during colonial rule were much more than the stereotypes we have of profligate spenders and incompetent rulers. They were complicated personalities who could subtly resist imperial pressures and at times supported the nationalist cause.

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.’

‘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.

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.

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.

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.

The American Empire Across the Globe

An impressive comparative study of the British Empire & the United States makes it clear that America should properly be seen as an empire. Its hegemonic ambitions have frustrated the developing world’s aspirations for autonomous political & economic futures.

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’.

Extreme events in nature: An ecological history of the present

The zoonotic disease Covid-19 is yet another warning shot to humanity. The imbalance throughout history between our ecological footprint and the earth’s biocapacity has grown to a point that it now poses a threat to civilisation. How can we deal with this?

When the Past Melts

Bhagat Singh as a Reader
Bhagat Singh always surrounded himself with a library. His eclectic reading tastes ranged from the classical tradition to high modernity. Decoding his reading habits reveals a futuristic paradigm for the Idea of India.

What Made the East India Company So Successful?

Analysis Goes Missing in Dalrymple
William Dalrymple's book on the East India Company is written very well and has a great deal of detail. But the writing of good History needs more. It calls for a consideration of all relevant facts and a comprehensive analysis. This is unfortunately missing.

The Historian and Chauvinism

Historians, when practising their craft, must not be vulnerable to the chauvinism of their discipline, or of method, identity and ideology.
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