This study concentrates on the politics of history writing, offering a nuanced account of how historical thinking and the discipline of history began to assume importance in colonial and independent India.
Along with discussions of the role of historians in the dispute over the now-destroyed Babri Masjid and the so-called 'saffronization' of history textbooks, the book also engages with Subaltern Studies, and provides insight into iconic debates over Shivaji, Aurangzeb, beef-eating, and the relationship between history and the nation state.
With a new Postscript that take into account recent developments, this highly readable account of the rise of history will appeal to students and scholars of postcolonial and culture studies, historians, social scientists, and informed general readers interests in the role of history in the public domain.
About the Author:
Vinay Lal is Associated Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Excerpts From Review:
'Lal reveals history to be another disabling profession, waiting to be freed from its defensive certitudes and, then, goes on to force it to do the unthinkable - to self-reflect.'
- Ashis Nandy
'A scholarly and often hilarious debunking of the apotheosis of "History" that's taken place in India since the Babri Masjid episode and a passionate plea to realize the advantages of being a culture capable of experiencing time in mythic terms.'
- Girish Karnad
'Vinay Lal raises fundamental questions about the epistemic status and political role of modern historical knowledge.'
- Mangesh Kulkarni
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