November 1, 2010

Reissued: Cultural History of Modern India

Edited by Dilip M. Menon


197 pages 215x140 mm 13 b/w photographs
First Edition Paperback 2006
Second impression 2011 Rs 195
ISBN 978-81-87358-25-1
Pub date 2011


THE HISTORY of modern India has been narrated largely in terms of the nationalist movement, personalities and what has been seen as the ‘high’ politics of the state. Recent shifts in history writing have tried to bring in subordinated histories of regions and of groups. We are moving towards a wider understanding of politics, history and of the ordinary people who make history. This collection tries to push the emerging paradigm further by moving away from conventional notions of the history of the nation and indeed of the political.

The six essays in this collection present original and pioneering forays in the study of cricket, oral history, gender studies, film, popular culture and Indian classical music. Whether looking at issues of caste on the seemingly level playing field of cricket in early twentieth century India; or how a nineteenth century housewife comes to pen the first autobiography by an Indian woman; calendar art reflecting deeper notions of religion and community; or how an idea of ‘pure’ classical music faces the challenge of technology, these essays show how ideas of self, community and art are formed within a larger politics. Moreover, culture far from being a refuge from the political is also the space within which politics comes to be worked out.

Cricket and Caste: The Heroic Struggles of the Palwankar Brothers – Ramachandra Guha
A Book of Her Own, A Life of Her Own: The Autobiography of a Nineteenth-century Woman – Tanika Sarkar
The Past in the Present – Rustom Bharucha
National Identity and the Realist Aesthetic – Sumita S. Chakravarty
‘Unity in Diversity’? Dilemmas of Nationhood in Indian Calendar Art – Patricia Uberoi
Guru and Gramophone: Fantasies of Fidelity and Modern Technologies of the Real – Amanda Weidman

Dilip M. Menon is Mellon Chair in Indian Studies and Professor of History at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.