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Modern Asian Studies 2010 - 44

Modern Asian Studies
Modern Asian Studies / editor: Joya Chatterji [u.a]. - Cambridge [u.a.] : Cambridge Univ. Press.
Erscheinungsverlauf: 1.1967 -
ISSN 0026-749x (Printausgabe)
ISSN 1469-8099 (Online-Ausgabe)
URL: Cambridge University Press

Inhalt: 44,1 (Januar 2010)
Darin u.a. enthalten:
- Sen, Samita: „Commercial recruiting and Informal Intermediation: debate over the sardari system in Assam tea plantations, 1860–1900“. - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 1, S. 3-28
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X09990047
Abstract: This paper engages with Rajnarayan Chandavarkar's argument that the importance accorded to the intermediation of sardars/jobbers in colonial labour arrangements followed from the perception of the Indian peasant as static and immobile, requiring especial effort at recruitment, but that, over time, employers grew resentful of the power and control acquired by these intermediaries. Drawing on this insight, the paper examines the role of sardars in the recruitment system of the Assam tea plantations and the ways in which they were promoted by the planters and the state in an attempt to loosen the stranglehold of professional contractors. The sardars were presented as the solution to abuses of Assam recruitment and portrayed as non-market agents recruiting within the closed world of kin, caste and village relationships. Towards the late-nineteenth century, however, a nexus developed between the contractors and sardars, which successive legislative interventions failed to break. Moreover, the notion that the sardar would be a more benign agent of recruitment was repeatedly proved false.

- Behal, Rana P.: „Coolie Drivers Or Benevolent Paternalists? British Tea Planters in Assam and the Indenture Labour System“. - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 1, S. 29-51
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X09990059
Abstract: This paper traces the evolution of the indenture labour system in the tea plantations of Assam and, simultaneously, the shaping of the attitudes of British planters towards the labour force. Also explored are: the significant fact that only a small number of British managerial personnel were in charge of a huge migrant labour force; how the need to step up tea production for the competitive world market while keeping down costs—i.e. labour costs, being the main production cost—fostered an exploitative labour system, with planters taking frequent recourse to physical and economic coercion; and the ensuing extra-legal measures needed to keep the labour force under control. The paper also demonstrates that the colonial state was in full cognizance of the injustices of the labour system. Legislation by the government had laid the foundations of the indenture system and, while there were provisions for protecting the interests of labour force, these were on the whole ignored, with the state turning a blind eye to the planters’ use of physical and other extra-legal measures. One instance involved Chief Commissioner Henry Cotton, who attacked the injustices of the system. This attack was silenced swiftly, and the stance taken by Viceroy Curzon as the incident played out is a clear pointer to the government's willingness, to side with tea-industry interests at all costs.

- Basu, Subho: „The Dialectics of Resistance: Colonial Geography, Bengali Literati and the Racial Mapping of Indian Identity“. - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 1, S. 53-79
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X09990060
Abstract: Through a study of hitherto unexplored geography textbooks written in Bengali between 1845 and 1880, this paper traces the evolution of a geographic information system related to ethnicity, race, and space. This geographic information system impacted the mentality of emerging educated elites in colonial India who studied in the newly established colonial schools and played a critical role in developing and articulating ideas of the territorial nation-state and the rights of citizenship in India. The Bengali Hindu literati believed that the higher location of India in such a constructed hierarchy of civilizations could strengthen their claims to rights of citizenship and self-government. These nineteenth century geography textbooks asserted clearly that high caste Hindus constituted the core ethnicity of colonial Indian society and all others were resident outsiders. This knowledge system, rooted in geography/ethnicity/race/space, and related to the hierarchy of civilizations, informed the Bengali intelligentsia's notion of core ethnicity in the future nation-state in India with Hindu elites at its ethnic core.

- Sengupta, Jayanta: „Nation on a Platter: the Culture and Politics of Food and Cuisine in Colonial Bengal“. - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 1, S. 81-98
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X09990072
Abstract: This paper examines themes related to cooking, food, nutrition, and the relationship between dietary practice and health in late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century Bengal, and argues that food and cuisine represented a vibrant site on which a complex rhetorical struggle between colonialism and nationalism was played out. Insofar as they carried symbolic meanings and ‘civilisational attributes’, cooking and eating transcended their functionality and became cultural practices, with a strong ideological-pedagogical content. The Bengali/Indian kitchen, so strongly reviled in European colonialist discourses as a veritable purgatory, became a critically important symbolic space in the emerging ideology of domesticity during the colonial period. The gastronomic excesses of gluttonous British officials—crucial in asserting the physical superiority of a ‘masculine’ Raj—became an object of ridicule in Bengali culinary texts, signifying the grossness of a materialistic. The cooking and eating of food thus became deeply implicated in the cultural politics of bhadralok nationalism.

- Kamat, Manjiri: „Disciplining Sholapur: the industrial city and its workers in the period of the Congress ministry, 1937–1939“. - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 1, S. 99-119
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X09990084
Abstract: The Congress, which had launched a satyagraha in 1930 to defy the Martial Law at Sholapur, had swept to power in the Bombay Presidency after the 1937 elections. However, once in power it started using a vocabulary of discipline in the industrial city. Its acceptance of power was greeted with a surge in labour activism led by the communists. The Congress initially relaxed many of the restrictions imposed by the earlier British administration and followed a strategy of accommodation. In a city like Sholapur, where government surveillance had increased following the violent popular unrest of 1930 in response to Mahatma Gandhi's call for Civil Disobedience, such temperate policies encouraged the articulation of submerged tensions, especially as the formation of a Congress government had raised expectations. Yet a combination of factors forced the ministry to adopt an uncompromising stance towards the labour activism of this period. Sholapur's turbulent record of unrest, the constraints imposed by class alliances, the trappings of labour recruitment from the criminal tribes settlement, the increasing influence of the communists, coupled with the bureaucracy and millowners' shared aversion to unbridled trade union activity, forced the ministry to adopt tougher disciplinary measures in the city. Therefore, when the labour agitation in Sholapur threatened to disrupt law and order, it brought about a shift in the government's response and the bureaucracy reasserted its power by reverting to repressive measures in the new Congress Raj.

- Newbigin, Eleanor: „A post-colonial patriarchy? Representing family in the Indian nation-state“. - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 1, S. 121-144
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X09990096
Abstract: That the transition to self-governance under a nation-state has not been accompanied by the greater focus on Indian citizens’ welfare which many expected, has been the source of much confusion and disappointment. Looking at late-colonial debates about property rights under Hindu personal law, this paper seeks to explain why people assumed that independence could change the relationship between the state and Indian society, and also why this has not come about. It argues that, from the latter half of the nineteenth century, economic, social, and political changes placed pressure on the very hierarchical structures of joint-family patriarchy that colonial rule had hitherto depended on. Calls for family reform seemed, at certain moments, to critique patriarchal control and social order more generally, creating the intellectual space to rethink the place of women within the family, and the state more widely. Yet, while couched in the language of women's rights, underpinning these reform debates was an interest to change men's property rights and enhance their individual control over the family. Thus, the interwar years witnessed not just a breaking down of an old colonial patriarchal order, but also the establishment of a new, post-colonial patriarchy based around the authority of the propertied husband.

- Shani, Ornit: „Conceptions of Citizenship in India and the ‘Muslim Question’“. - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 1, S. 145-173
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X09990102
Abstract: This paper explores the development of multiple conceptions of citizenship in India in an attempt to understand how, despite profound social divisions, India's nationhood holds together. The paper advances the proposition that the Indian polity incorporated a deeply divided and conflict-ridden population by offering multiple notions of citizenship upon which a sense of membership in the nation, and a share in the enterprise of the state, could be sought. By negotiating and balancing distinct overlapping conceptions for competing membership claims in the nation, diverse social groups could find a viable place in the nation, without entirely resigning their various group identities. The analysis focuses as a lens on the Muslim citizens who are amongst the most excluded members in the whole body of Indian citizenry. It provides perspectives into how even some of the most marginalised members in Indian society found sufficient prospects for a meaningful participation within the nation. Multiple conceptions of citizenship enabled the state to manage its diverse social groups and contain many of their underlying conflicts.

- Jones, Justin: „‘Signs of churning’: Muslim Personal Law and public contestation in twenty-first century India“. - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 1, S. 175-200
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X09990114
Abstract: For many Muslims, the preservation of Muslim Personal Law has become the touchstone of their capacity to defend their religious identity in modern India. This paper examines public debate over Muslim Personal Law, not as a site of consensus within the community, but rather as an arena in which a varied array of Muslim individuals, schools and organisations have sought to assert their own distinctiveness. This is done by discussing the evolution of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the most influential organisation to speak on such matters since the 1970s, with particular focus on its recent disintegration at the hands of a number of alternative legal councils formed by feminist, clerical and other groups. These organisations have justified their existence through criticism of the organisation's alleged attempts to standardise Islamic law, and its perceived dominance by the Deobandi school of thought. In truth, however, this process of fragmentation results from a complex array of embryonic and interlinked personal, political and ideological competitions, indicative of the increasingly fraught process of consensus-building in contemporary Indian Muslim society.

Inhalt: 44,2 (März 2010)
Darin u.a. enthalten:
- O'Hanlon, Rosalind: „Letters Home: Banaras pandits and the Maratha regions in early modern India". - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 2, S. 201-240
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X09990229
Abstract: Maratha Brahman families migrated to Banaras in increasing numbers from the early sixteenth century. They dominated the intellectual life of the city and established an important presence at the Mughal and other north Indian courts. They retained close links with Brahmans back in the Maratha regions, where pressures of social change and competition for rural resources led to acrimonious disputes concerning ritual entitlement and precedence in the rural social order. Parties on either side appealed to Banaras for resolution of the disputes, raising serious questions about the nature of Brahman community and identity. Banaras pandit communities struggled to contain these disputes, even as the symbols of their own authority came under attack from the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. By the early eighteenth century, the emergence of the Maratha state created new models of Brahman authority and community, and new patterns for the resolution of such disputes.

- Green, Nile: „The Uses of Books in a Late Mughal Takiyya: Persianate Knowledge Between Person and Paper". - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 2, S. 241-265
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X0999014X
Abstract: This paper addresses several questions that appear preliminary to understanding the circulation of knowledge in early modern India (circa 1500 to 1800): What work did writing do? What was the relationship between writing and speaking? And what can our answers to these questions tell us about cultural formulations of ‘knowledge’ in this period? After addressing these questions on ‘modes’ of circulation, this paper turns to the more practical issue of ‘means’ of circulation, looking at the intersection between religious and bureaucratic patterns of the production and consumption of books in the absence of printing in Indian languages. Overall, the paper argues for early modernity as a period of tension and transition between ‘anthropocentric’ and ‘bibliocentric’ attitudes towards the location and thence circulation of knowledge in a Persianate context. The issues are exemplified by reference to the various and, at times, perplexing uses of books in an imperial dervish lodge or takiyya.

- Busch, Allison: „Hidden in Plain View: Brajbhasha Poets at the Mughal Court“. - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 2, S. 267-309
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X09990205
Abstract: Brajbhasha literature is a domain of Mughal culture seldom investigated by scholars, to the detriment of our understanding of both. While the Mughal court is famed for its lavish support of Persian writers, a surprising number of Brajbhasha poets also attracted the notice of Mughal patrons. In this paper I look at the lives and texts of important Braj writers who worked in Mughal settings, with a view to uncovering the nature of the social, political and cultural interactions that this kind of patronage represents. Why these poets have been largely lost to social and literary history is another concern, along with the challenges of trying to recover their stories.

- Bhagavan, Manu: „ New Hope: India, the United Nations and the Making of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 2, S. 311-347
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X08003600
Abstract: This paper explores India's role in the development and design of the United Nations (UN), refracted through the Commission that drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Through an analysis of sovereignty, citizenship, nationality and human rights from the 1940s to 1956, the paper discusses what India hoped the UN to be, and more generally what they intended for the new world order and for themselves. The paper challenges existing interpretations of international affairs in this period. It seeks to reform our understanding of Jawaharlal Nehru's intellectual vision, and in the process attempts to recast the very concept of post-coloniality.

- Spodek, Howard: „In the Hindutva Laboratory: Pogroms and Politics in Gujarat, 2002“. - In: Modern Asian Studies. - 44 (2010), 2, S. 349-399
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X08003612
Abstract: Communal violence wracked the state of Gujarat and the city of Ahmedabad once again in 2002, leaving some 2,000 people dead. Because the ruling BJP party had proclaimed Gujarat the ‘Laboratory of Hindutva’, analysts throughout India saw the violence as BJP policy and debated its possible spillover effects elsewhere. This paper finds that in a period already marked by stressful economic and cultural change and attended by political uncertainty, some BJP leaders gambled that an attack on Gujarat's Muslims, and on the rule of law in general, would attract followers and voters. Their gamble proved correct at least in the short run. This paper examines the cultural, social, geographical and educational restructuring that is occurring, through legal and illegal struggles, and the impact of the violence upon these processes. It examines the declining status of Muslims as a result of continuous propaganda against them. It analyzes the degree to which the state was damaged as a result of the decision for violence and asks about the degree to which leaders do, or do not, wish to ‘put it behind them’, and suggests that Ahmedabad's problems are widely shared in both the developing and developed worlds.