South Asia from the margins

Echoes of Orissa, 1800–2000

Author: Biswamoy Pati

This book aims to sketch the diversities of south Asian social History, focusing on Orissa. It highlights the problems of colonialism and the way it impacted the lives of the colonised, even as it weaves in the manner in which the internal order of exploitation worked. Based on archival and rare, hitherto untapped sources, including oral evidence, it brings to life diverse aspects of Orissa's social history. These include areas like the environment; health and medicine; conversion (in Hinduism); popular movements; social history of some princely states; and the intricate connections between the marginal social groups and Indian nationalism. It also focuses on decolonisation and its meanings. Alongside, it explores the face of patriarchy and gender-related violence in post-colonial Orissa. While achieving this task, this book follows the track of an inter-disciplinary tradition and draws upon social anthropology and political sociology. The manner in which it engages with and questions the received wisdom of imperialist, nationalist and subaltern historiography would make it attractive to both the specialist and the non-specialist reader. Besides focusing on the history of colonialism and its ruthless progress over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, its concerns include the manner in which the post-colonial ruling classes in decolonised south Asia negotiated a host of problems that were allowed to remain and left unresolved. This book would be of interest to students of history, social anthropology, political sociology and cultural studies. It would also attract those associated with non-governmental organisations and planners of public policy.

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