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Reappropriating colonial documents in Kolhapur (Maharashtra): variations on a nationalist theme

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The district histories should not become [. . .] a series of unrelated facts without any narrative which can be linked with national history, [. . .] the facts that raised problems should invariably come in the gazetteers if they are to be taken as faithful registers of the country. (Chaudhuri, History of the Gazetteers of India, 1964: 163) After India became free, it was felt that a new edition of the Gazetteers should be brought out. The life of a people never stands still. Any account of a country—and a gazetteer is no exception—must therefore be revised from time to time (Gazetteer of India: Indian Union, 1965: ii). How does a nation ‘imagine itself into existence’ (Anderson 1983), particularly after it has been subjected to colonial rule? How does it (re-)appropriate its history, and what are the means at its disposal for creating and asserting an identity or specificity of its own? India has since independence achieved some political and ideological unity: from north to south and from east to west of the peninsula, although they have contested it in a number of cases, people have developed some consciousness of being Indians, ‘sons of Mother India’.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22010/

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