[By Grace Argo]
2016 began with statements of solidarity with JNU (this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this), and ended with the dawn of the Age of Orange and our renewed commitments to not-survive, to not-surrender, and to always throw shad at power. In 2016, we bid farewell to beloved colleagues, mentors, writers, scholars.
2016 was a fairly busy year at CM. The highlight surely was the publication of Sepoy’s A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia. Here are some reviews: link, link, link. Sepoy shared his thoughts on the writing process, here. Lapata graced CM with her art and essay on Aleppo, poetic translation, and thoughts on the art of translation. We continued our XQ series with an interview with Eric Beverly and Nayanika Mathur; featured an interview with Sheldon Pollock (see also, Sepoy’s Why Sheldon Pollock); organized a roundtable on Kamran Asdar Ali’s Communism in Pakistan: Politics and Class Activism 1947 – 1972 (IB Tauris) / Surkh Salam: Communist Politics and Class Activism in Pakistan 1947–1972 (OUP – Karachi), featuring reviews by Ahmed Kanna, Sarah Besky, Junaid Rana, Arvind Elangovan, and Atiya Singh; and maintained a focus on city-writing: Lahore: Marks It Bears II, Rickshaw diary, The City and the City*: Space and Semiotics of Muslim Bombay**, Musings on Absence: Planning, Policies, and Conflict in the Indian Administered Kashmir. Other notable guest pieces are Zirwat Chowdhury’s The Conditional World of the Refugee, Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah’s Nanu’s Poetry, and Taimoor Shahid’s Meditation on Borders. Yours truly also said some things, about Zindagi Gulzar Hai.
If I were to pick, my favourite chapatis were Lapata’s Lessons Learned: Susanne and Lloyd Rudolph, in memoriam, and Sepoy’s The Work of Humanities.
PS. A rogue splinter group of “artists of all stripes: painters, dancers, musicians, poets, etc., to share their art of protest and come for inspiration. Scholars and other savvy individuals are also welcome[…]”
Gentle Readers: A small discussion of Professor Cynthia Talbot’s book The Last Hindu Emperor (2015) that I gave on March 5, 2016
Thank you to Professors Akbar Haider Ali for the invitation to come today. To Professor Kamran Asdar Ali and Rita Soheila Omrani at the South Asia Institute for their hospitality. I am very pleased to be here today, and honored to speak about Professor Cynthia Talbot’s book- which is great, and you should purchase it, and read it immediately.
Let me start with a joke and an observation.
The joke was told to me by my advisor sometime ago in his class on Hindu Kingship.
I was in a rickshaw in India and I saw an ancient monument that I did not recognize, so I asked the rickshaw walay “How old is that building?” and he answered it is “five thousand and ten years old” and I said, “wow, that is very specific” and he said, “ji, I was told it was five thousand years old about ten years ago”.
Ronald Inden’s point in that telling was to mark the way in which totemic past (five thousand years) and material past (the monument) intersect with the re-telling of that past.
Continue reading “Thinking about the Last Hindu Emperor”
[The XQs (Ten Questions) series is a conversation with the author of new and exciting works in South Asian Studies, whose aim is not to “review” but to contextualize, historicize and promote new scholarship. We thank Tariq Rahman for conducting this interview. Previously: I, II, III, IV, V.]
Nayanika Mathur is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. She has studied at the Universities of Delhi and Cambridge and has held research fellowships awarded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH), Cambridge. Her book, Paper Tiger: Law, Bureaucracy and the Developmental State in Himalayan India, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016.
Tariq Rahman is a doctoral student in anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. His research interests broadly include real estate, financialization, development, the state, genealogy, and Pakistan.