19 September, 2020

Word Power On A Leash

A history trapped in polemic

Word Power On A Leash
Ahouse of subversion often stands on a foundation of words. Words which have been snatched from where they lay - with God - in peace and quiet, in the process disrupting sacred 'peace' and bringing forth a profane turmoil to bear upon the world.

Politics of the word has been significant though subtle in making and mapping history. Tanika Sarkar, in Words To Win, sets out to explore that complex process by studying Amar Jiban (AJ) - the first published Bengali autobiography and the first to be written by a woman (Rashsundari) towards the turn of the 19th century.

For an established historian like Sarkar, who's had to operate within the confines of institutionalised historical scholarship in India, it's been a rather bold step. Considering that Indian history, despite radical academic practices like the Subaltern Studies project, perceives the study of texts and, consequently, little traditions, as something that is not real History.

However, despite being bold, the author's endeavour stops short of being fundamentally transformative....



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