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Showing posts from August, 2012


Meera Kosambi, editor and translator Women Writing Gender Marathi Fiction Before Independence Most modern literatures were initially dominated by men who claimed, at times, to speak for women. But when given an opportunity, women spoke differently. This book tells the several stories of how Maharashtrian women found a ‘voice’ in the late nineteenth century. It shows how they created a literary space for themselves, deploying fiction to depict worlds other than those available in male writing, as well as dreams and aspirations unseen in society before they were articulated by their fiction. Having been excluded from mainstream prose, women also created a parallel reform discourse which displayed various shades of feminism. After an introductory overview of men and women writers of Marathi fiction before Independence, this book presents in translation the work of six iconic women writers: Kashibai Kanitkar, Indirabai Sahasrabuddhe, Vibhavari Shirurkar, Geeta


Ramnarayan S. Rawat Reconsidering Untouchability Chamars and Dalit History in North India EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS 'Awarded the Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences, Ramnarayan Rawat’s Reconsidering Untouchability charts a new trajectory for scholarship on Dalits in North India. Rawat engages two scholarly tasks. The first task is to interrogate how the Chamar caste came to be associated almost exclusively with leatherwork. The second task is to reclaim Dalit agency in historical narratives of “untouched” ( acchut ) identity movements. Ramnarayan Rawat succeeds admirably on both counts.   Rawat provocatively opens the discussion with reference to the murder of five members of the Chamars caste who were stoned to death for purportedly poisoning cattle so that they could profit from tanning the hides. This association between Chamars, leatherwork, and criminality has a long history that Rawat dissects in order to challenge the dominant framework equatin


Xinru Liu, editor India and Central Asia A Reader Mouth of a water fountain at Ai Khanoum Central Asia has been a strategic region in world history because of its central location in the Afro-Eurasian land mass, and because it was the hinge between several different ecological zones. From the border of the Iranian plateau to the edge of the Takla Makan desert, and from the foothills of the Kunlun Mountains to the Taiga zone of Siberia, Central Asia encompasses peoples who spoke many languages and practised various forms of livelihood.   For historians who have been focused on individual civilizations, or the societies which have left written records, Central Asia has seemed an ocean full of dark energy.   From time to time, ‘barbaric’ nomads flew out from Central Asia to loot villages and destroy cities in East and South Asia, and even Europe.   In recent decades, research on the lives of nomadic people on the steppe, archaeological excavations of urban set


In the Permanent Black pipeline for next year (2013) are two wonderfully interesting books by two great historians of ancient India, D.D. Kosambi and Romila Thapar. Romila Thapar toasting Eric Hobsbawm at his 95th birthday celebration in London, July 2012 The book by Kosambi (actually, two parts of it are by him and one part is on him) is called UNSETTLING THE PAST.   The book by Thapar is called THE PAST BEFORE US. UNSETTLING THE PAST Unknown Aspects and Scholarly Assessments of D.D. Kosambi The Kosambi book is a collection of obscure and pretty unknown writings by D.D. Kosambi alongside assessments of his contribution to various areas of scholarship -- ancient history, mathematics, Sanskrit literature, numismatics, and marxism as a method for understanding the past. An array of the great man's unpublished letters, unearthed from the Harvard and TIFR archives by his daughter Meera Kosambi, will comprise one section of the book. Kosambi's corresponden