New book on South Asian history focuses on people’s past

July 29th, 2008 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, July 29 (IANS) Dissatisfied with the available social history of India and Pakistan, two teachers of Panjab University here have come up with a new book that aims to highlight “the untouched, humble and obscure corners of the people’s past”. “Popular literature and pre-modern societies in South Asia” is a collection of 19 papers, edited and compiled by Surinder Singh and Ishwar Dayal Gaur.

“The available history of South Asia speaks volumes about the elite class of society but there is hardly any association with downtrodden segments. Our aim was to reconstruct the past and to erode the boundaries between different states and countries,” Singh told mediapersons Tuesday.

“We have given a fresh turn to Punjab’s history and we even went to Pakistan to gain first-hand knowledge and to meet resource people there. Two historians from Pakistan had also come here to assist us in our work,” he said.

There is a significant emphasis on the history of medieval Punjab and ample usage of poetry, folk tales, folk songs and folklore in the book, pointed out Singh.

The research papers included in the book are by historians from India and Pakistan and deal with six themes of state formation, resistance and protest, traditions, gender relations, cultural fusion and social conventions.

“Our themes are derived from the vernacular history of Sindh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Western Himalayas, Awadh, Assam, Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Our endeavour is to highlight the untouched, humble and obscure corners of the people’s past,” said Ishwar Dyal Gaur.

The editors have worked for three years to accomplish this task and are targeting research scholars and social scientists to refer this book as a reference book.

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