A book titled “Seeking History through her Source: South of the Vindhyas” by Prof. Aloka Parasher Sen has been published by the Orient Blackswan.
Dedicated to the University of Hyderabad, Aloka Parasher Sen’s Seeking History through her Source: South of the Vindhyas, (Orient Blackswan Paperback, 2022. ISBN 9789354422928) is tribute to the many years she spent at the University and the academic work she shared with many of her students. All academic engagements are dialogical and so is this one. Over the past decades students (now prominent alumni of the University are located at eminent institutions all over India) working in my research group have engaged with historical research on regions south of the Vindhyas in seeking to highlight the centrality and particularity of their chosen sources of study to re-think how the past can be recuperated. This book emerges from these efforts.
The present volume has brought to the forefront the issue of treating the footnote, where the Source is meant to be placed, with as much care as one does the dominant narrative based on it. Indeed, we have emphasized that ‘History’ is actually a seeker of knowledge from her ‘Source’ and thus, the latter’s particularity must necessarily be focused upon.
History writing on ancient India continues to be burdened by an Indological discourse, which takes ‘India’ as a monolithic whole and interprets sources in ways that contribute to a pan-Indian meta-narrative. Sources which are fragmentary in nature, or located far from the so-called centres of civilisation, are relegated to the footnotes and margins, merely as tools of corroboration. Seeking History through her Source thus attempts to correct this imbalance by interrogating ‘sources’ in innovative ways. The authors seek historical realities south of the Vindhyas, and contextualise oft-neglected sources in their respective local niches. They highlight literary, art-historical and archaeological sources—such as the Jātakas, Cankam literature, Kāvya narratives, coins of local rulers—while also highlighting fragmentary sources, such as pillar inscriptions and statuettes. Thus, literature and myths, and even non-textual traditions are centred as valid ways to address new areas of historical research, and complicate dominant narratives for a more nuanced and inclusive understanding of the past.
For more details: https://orientblackswan.com/details?id=9789354422928