16 January, 2021

History Of A Plurality

The book attempts to fill in the backstory of Gujarat's history with no glib connections

Atul Loke
History Of A Plurality
History usually begins or restarts at that prosaic, magical or bloody moment when civilisation dawns or is extinguished. If February 2002 was such a moment for Gujarat—when the Narendra Modi government presided over the systematic slaughter of Muslim citizens—then what can we say about the state’s ‘prehistory,’ about the social processes which created the political climate in which such a monstrous crime could be committed?

In a first-rate work of social-historical forensics, Achyut Yagnik and Suchitra Sheth have attempted to fill in the backstory, without making glib connections or forced linkages. Indeed, at no point in the book do the authors even say that their aim is to render intelligible the events of 2002. Rather, their narrative begins with Dholavira, moves quickly on to the state’s "oppressive encounters" with Turkic invaders and British traders, and ends with Naroda-Patiya, and it is for the reader to appreciate the finely-spun continuities between the present moment and the centuries which preceded it. Given the paradoxical nature of Gujarat’s dna,...



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