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

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Towards a New Direction of Disciplinary Histories and Practices

Sociology and Social Anthropology in South Asia: Histories and Practices edited by Ravi Kumar, Dev Nath Pathak and Sasanka Perera, New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 2018; pp 336, ` 1,075.

Understanding Sikh Museums in Contemporary India

Sikh museums are unusual as their display consists of modern history paintings depicting scenes from the Sikh past rather than historical artefacts. These paintings are ubiquitous in popular visual culture. The key questions examined in this article are: when, why, and by whom are Sikh museums created; the significance of the museum’s presence in popular culture; the notion of heritage in these museums; and their role in contemporary India. A study of Sikh museums is valuable in understanding the museum as an institution and its influence on the heritage politics of contemporary India.

Managing India’s Pasts

The lack of clarity and transparency in the impending restructuring of organisations like the Films Division of India and the National Film Archive of India, under the umbrella of the National Film Development Corporation of India, disenfranchises the real stakeholders of India’s fi lm heritage—the Indian public.

Thapar and Trouillot: A Decolonial Dialogue in History

As we commemorate the life and work of Romila Thapar, Trouillot’s words exemplify for me the core quest of Thapar’s history writing.

Paw Prints in Antiquity

Mega Mammals in Ancient India: Rhinos, Tigers, and Elephants by Shibani Bose, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2020; pp 360, ₹ 1,495.

Re-Casteing the Narrative of Bharatanatyam

In this article, the author highlights the ways in which her subjectivity and selfhood as a hereditary Bahujan woman practitioner of Bharatanatyam are entangled with the past and with an enduring and dark politics of exclusion in the industry of so-called “classical” music and dance. Bharatanatyam—India’s quintessential “classical” art—has today, understandably become a vehicle for theatrical representations of Hindu mythology, Brahminic ethics and supremacy, and thus for majoritarian cultural politics. The author reflects on the practice and connotations of Bharatanatyam that are accepted today and historically embedded with the ugly truth of caste mimesis, the inheritance of appropriation, the danger of religious majoritarian culture, and the silencing of voices of dissent.

An Engaged Chronicler of His Times

India–Pakistan: Themes Beyond Borders: Selections from Nikhil Chakravartty’s Writings selected and edited by Anil Nauriya, Ravi M Bakaya, Razia Ismail Abbasi and Sumit Chakravartty, New Delhi: Aakar Books, 2019; pp 382, ₹ 895.

Remembering Rajat Datta (1956–2021)

The intellectual excellence of Rajat Datta, enmeshed with his wit and humour, is elaborated. A broad vision and a mature stance defined his approach towards academics and his students who remember him fondly.

End of the Postcolonial State

Much of the scholarship on Bangladesh’s founding places it within a narrative of repetition. It either repeats the partitions of 1905 or 1947 or the creation of India and Pakistan as postcolonial states. This paper argues instead for the novelty of Bangladesh’s creation against the postcolonial state, suggesting that it opened up a new history at the global level in which decolonisation was replaced by civil war as the founding narrative for new states.

Beyond the Break with the Past

In the 1940s, Bengali Muslim intellectuals sought to find a new autonomy in a comprehensive break with the texts and language of the Hindu-dominated literature of the “Bengal Renaissance.” But within a few years of Pakistan’s founding, a new generation argued that disavowing the past was not...

Collision amid Collusion and Cooperation

This paper examines the history of largely understudied women’s rights activists in the early years of East Pakistan. While they collided with West Pakistani activists—and the central state—on matters of culture, identity, and political and economic issues, they actively cooperated with West Pakistani counterparts to fight gender discrimination and to demand reform in women’s rights from the state.

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