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

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A Mysorean Perspective

Princely Modernity

Mysore Modern: Rethinking the Region under Princely Rule by Janaki Nair (Orient Blackswan), 2012; pp 357, Rs 695 (hardback).

Indian princely states have long been at the margins of historical research. It is interesting that much of the history of the impact of British colonialism and the struggle against it has been written with the locus being provinces ruled directly by the British and not princely states, which were theoretically autonomous, under indirect rule. Even when the history of colonial India has been refined by studying the varying mechanisms of colonial power and rule, with increasing attention to formation of identities and communities, language and gender and, not least, to the politics of freedom, the princes remain at the margins of history.

Much of the work that exists on the princely states is either of a general n­ature covering the role of princes in n­ational politics and the “end game of empire”, or specific studies on one or two individual states taken together on similar or different themes but hardly on their social and cultural aspects. By far, researchers have focused on major princely states like Hyderabad, Kashmir, Baroda and Mysore, with Mysore arguably being one of the most widely researched princely states in India.

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