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The Past As Present: Forging Contemporary Identities Through History

 
Romila Thapar (Author)
Synopsis

Many popularly held views about the past need to be critically inquired into before they can be taken as historical. For instance, what was the aftermath of the raid on the Somanatha temple? Which of us is Aryan or Dravidian? Why is it important for Indian society to be secular? When did communalism as an ideology gain a foothold in the country? How and when did our patriarchal mindset begin to support a culture of violence against women? Why are the fundamentalists so keen to rewrite history textbooks?

The answers to these and similar questions have been disputed and argued about ever since they were first posed. Distinguished historian Romila Thapar has investigated, analyzed and interpreted the history that underlies such questions throughout her career now, in this book, through a series of incisive essays she argues that it is of critical importance for the past to be carefully and rigorously explained, if the legitimacy of our present, wherever it derives from the past, is to be portrayed as accurately as possible. This is especially pertinent given the attempts by unscrupulous politicians, religious fundamentalists and their ilk to try and misrepresent and wilfully manipulate the past in order to serve their present-day agendas. An essential and necessary book at a time when sectarianism, bogus 'nationalism' and the muddying of historical facts are increasingly becoming a feature of our public, private and intellectual lives.

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About the author
In the spotlight

Romila Thapar

Romila Thapar was born in India in 1931 and comes from a Punjabi family, spending her early years in various parts of India. She took her first degree from Punjab University and her doctorate from London University. She was appointed to a Readership at Delhi University and subsequently to the Chair in Ancient Indian History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she is now Emeritus Professor in History. Romila Thapar is also an Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and has been Visiting Professor at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania as well as the College de France in Paris. In 1983 she was elected General President of the Indian History Congress and in 1999 a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. Among her publications are Ashoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations, From Lineage to State, History and Beyond, Sakuntala: Texts, Readings, Histories and Cultural Pasts: Essays on Indian History as well the children's book Indian Tales.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Past As Present: Forging Contemporary Identities Through History
Author Romila Thapar
Format Hardcover
Date published: 09.04.2014
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Aleph Book Company
Language: English
isbn 9383064013, 9789383064014
length 344p.,
Subjects History