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

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First Lesson of Scholarship

First Lesson of Scholarship?
READING R S Mishra and J K Nayak's comment ('Misunderstanding Fakirmohan', EPW, November 16, 1991), I was struck a methodological dictum in their first paragraph, where they accuse B Pati of a failure to comprehend "the first lesson of scholarship: that the language, the method of a discourse, literary or historical, must inevitably control and produce the 'truth' of a discourse" (p 2652). Alarmed at having been engaged in historical research for some 15 years while ignorant of this First Lesson, I immediately settled down to learn it, only to find it dissolving into paradox and contradiction as soon as one attempted to grasp it; and this has led me to share my perplexities with the readers of EPW, at least some of whom must have progressed to higher lessons.

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