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Creative Pasts: Historical Memory and Identity in Western India, 1700-1960
     

Creative Pasts: Historical Memory and Identity in Western India, 1700-1960

by Prachi Deshpande
 

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The "Maratha period" of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when an independent Maratha state successfully resisted the Mughals, is a defining era in the history of the region of Maharashtra in western India. In this book, Prachi Deshpande considers the importance of this period for a variety of political projects including anticolonial/Hindu nationalism and

Overview

The "Maratha period" of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when an independent Maratha state successfully resisted the Mughals, is a defining era in the history of the region of Maharashtra in western India. In this book, Prachi Deshpande considers the importance of this period for a variety of political projects including anticolonial/Hindu nationalism and the non-Brahman movement, as well as popular debates throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries concerning the meaning of tradition, culture, and the experience of colonialism and modernity.

Sampling from a rich body of literary and cultural sources, Deshpande highlights shifts in history writing in early modern and modern India and the deep connections between historical and literary narratives. She traces the reproduction of the Maratha period in various genres and public arenas, its incorporation into regional political symbolism, and its centrality to the making of a modern Marathi regional consciousness. She also shows how historical memory provided a space for Indians to negotiate among their national, religious, and regional identities, pointing to history's deeper potential in shaping politics within thoroughly diverse societies.

A truly unique study, Creative Pasts examines the practices of historiography and popular memory within a particular colonial context, and illuminates the impact of colonialism on colonized societies and cultures. Furthermore, it shows how modern history and historical memory are jointly created through the interplay of cultural activities, power structures, and political rhetoric.

Editorial Reviews

Journal of Asian Studies - Srikanth Mallavarapu
recommended for readers interested in Indian historiography as well as those who are interested in the negotiation of modernity and the politics of identity in the Indian context.

Journal of Asian Studies
recommended for readers interested in Indian historiography as well as those who are interested in the negotiation of modernity and the politics of identity in the Indian context.

— Srikanth Mallavarapu

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231511438
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
01/01/2007
Series:
Cultures of History
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
2 MB

What People are Saying About This

Shahid Amin
Prachi Deshpande brings a remarkable sensitivity toward forms of historical, literary, aesthetic, and institutional reworkings of the career of Maratha Rule and 'Empire' in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The result is a work that demonstrates the constitutive salience of the 'Maratha historical moment' in the making of Marathi sensibility, such that the 'historical' comes to animate the modern literary. An elegant first book that reminds us that popular memory need not remain marginal and emancipatory, but can become majoritarian, dominant, and divisive.

Sumit Guha
This book is a pathbreaking investigation of the constitution of a South Asian past. It is also a major contribution to the ongoing inquiry into the historical processes that have shaped the modern discipline of history itself.

Dipesh Chakrabarty
Creative Pasts is the first book in South Asian history to unravel, with a meticulous eye to detail, the precolonial and colonial genealogies of a modern regional identity in India. Prachi Deshpande's mastery of a variety of sources—from precolonial writings to modern novels—enables her to tell a story that gives modernity in Maharashtra a deep and autonomous history. This book is a model for scholars of other South Asian regions to follow.

Meet the Author

Prachi Deshpande earned her M.A. from Jawaharlal Nehru University and her Ph.D. from Tufts University and is currently an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, she has taught at Rutgers (Newark) and Colorado State.

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