Historiography of Colonial India (Abstract 2)

176946Ranajit Guha theory focuses on the historiography of India. It is believed that the elitism “share the prejudice that the making of the Indian nation and the development of the consciousness-nationalism-which informed this process, were exclusively or predominantly elite achievements” (403). The history of India is dominated by “colonialist elitism and bourgeoisie-nationalist elitism” (403). Particularly, the British colonial rule dominates the historiography of Indian culture. Because of this, “in the nationalist and neo-nationalist writings- … Indian elite personalities, institutions, activities and ideas” are developed. As a counteract “Indian nationalism … try to negotiate the maze of institutions and corresponding cultural complex introduced by the colonial authorities in order to govern the country” (403).  Although the elitist take away from the aboriginal nature of India, the historiography, “helps us to know more about the structure of the colonial state” (404). The shortcoming of this type of historical writings is that it fails to interpret and acknowledge “the contributions made by the people on their own, that is, independently of the elite to making and development of this nationalism” (404). Guha points out that the colonial rule in India reiterated India’s history but through the lens of the elitist. His theory points out the positive and negative aspects of this type of historiography as well as expose what is missing. One of the main things missing is “the politics of the people” (405). Guha believes that we learn “from the agreement of those who think like us but also from the criticism of those who don’t” (408).


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