This book consists of incisive and imaginative readings of culture, politics, and history – and their intersections – in eastern India from the 16th to the 20th century. Focusing especially on Assam, Odisha, Bengal, and their margins, the volume explores Indo-Islamic cultures of rule as located on the cusp of Mughal-cosmopolitan and regional–local formations.
Tracking sensibilities of time and history, senses of events and persons, and productions of the past and the present, the volume unravels intimate expressions of aesthetics and scandals, heroism and martyrdom, and voice and gender. It examines key questions of the interchanges between literary cultures and contending nationalisms, culture and cosmopolitanism, temporality and mythology, literature and literacy, history and modernity, and print culture and popular media.
The book offers grounded and connected accounts of a large, important region, usually studied in isolation. It will be of interest to scholars and students of history, literature, politics, sociology, cultural studies, and South Asian studies.
List of Contributors. Preface. Introduction: Histories and Sensibilities I History and Historians 1. Gautam, Ever My Friend 2. Learning History, Teaching History II Objects, Metaphors, Temporalities 3. Cards and Culture: Cultural Cosmopolitanism in Mughal India 4. Myths, Metaphors, Meanings: Kalapahar in Bengal and Orissa 5. The Surrender of Jagabandhu Bakshi: Kingship, Insubordination, and the Discrepant Histories of the Paik Rebellion in Orissa, 1803–1825 6. Olden Times: Watches, Watchmaking, and Temporal Culture in Calcutta, c. 1757–1857 III Memory, Politics, Culture 7. Martyrdom in Revolutionary Nationalism: Mourning, Memory, and Cultural Politics 8. Premchand and the Climax Manqué of Indian History 9. Making of a Radio Programme: Birendra Krishna Bhadra and Mahila Majlish in the Early Calcutta Radio Station, 1929–1938 IV Literature, Nation, Modern 10. Vernacular for the Nation: Hemchandra Goswami’s Typical Selections from Assamese Literature 11. Japan and Asian Destiny: India’s Intellectual Journey Through Contemporary Periodicals, 1880s–1930s 12. Tracking the Ephemeral: Elokeshi-Nabin-Mohanto Episode and the History of Print in Bengal 13. Literary Traditions in Pre-Print Bengal and their Legacy in an Age of Print. Index