Gujarat
The Winding Road From Somanatha To Ayodhya Or How Colonial Historiographies Continue To Bewitch, Bewilder and Bedevil
The Winding Road From Somanatha To Ayodhya Or How Colonial Historiographies Continue To Bewitch, Bewilder and Bedevil

Because of the dominance of … ‘fundamentalist’ knowledge at the level of the establishment and those in power …[they] find themselves – in spite of all the changes of the past centuries – moving on a stage where history is repeating itself with just one objective; the continual actualization of the past. Adonis, Arabic Poetics […]

Wrapping Up The Gujarat Phase Of The Work
Wrapping Up The Gujarat Phase Of The Work

Its been a long, tiring two months in Gujarat’s heat, dust and paranoia. Behind the triumphant rhetoric of a fast industrializing Gujarat lie the quiet whispers of a fear and psychosis that colors most everything that happens here.

The Eunuch Goddess
The Eunuch Goddess

Note: This essay was originally published on March 21st. This is an update based on a recent meeting with historian Samira Sheikh who has generously provided me with her research into the legend and contested history of Bahuchara Mata. All updates reflect insights gained from her work. Ω A continuity of history has been erased […]

The Idea Of India Project Update: The Eunuch Goddess

Note: This essay was originally published on March 21st. This is an update based on a recent meeting with historian Samira Sheikh who has generously provided me with her research into the legend and contested history of Bahuchara Mata. All updates reflect insights gained from her work. Ω A continuity of history has been erased […]

The Laughter Of The Interrogator

He is waiting for me in the hotel lobby, but barely lifts his head to acknowledge me when I come down from my room to meet him. His face, decorated with a pair of plastic sunglasses, is perfectly round. An equally perfectly round chin, nose, pair of cheeks and eyes but an incongruously square mouth […]

Dawn At The Dargah of Dadu Pir
Dawn At The Dargah of Dadu Pir

It stands there with its veneer of rude decay and abusive repair. Peeling paint, carelessly applied white wash, cracked and broken jalis (screens), gently leaning wooden doors held in place by rusting hinges, and large areas of carelessly applied cement to repair gaps in its walls. Sitting low to the ground, the mausoleum appears to […]

The Idea Of India Project Update: Personal Diary Entry: Dawn At The Dargah of Dadu Pir, Bhuj Gujarat

It stands there with its veneer of rude decay and abusive repair. Peeling paint, carelessly applied white wash, cracked and broken jalis (screens), gently leaning wooden doors held in place by rusting hinges, and large areas of carelessly applied cement to repair gaps in its walls. Sitting low to the ground, the mausoleum appears to […]

Project Reading List: J.J. Roy Burman Gujarat Unknown
Project Reading List: J.J. Roy Burman Gujarat Unknown

Professor J.J. Roy Burman, who currently teaches at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai/Bombay, India has been a crucial guide and advisor on the current phase of The Idea Of India project.  

All Faiths Bring You To The Feet Of Haji Pir
All Faiths Bring You To The Feet Of Haji Pir

You can already see them on the roads leading up to this small town in remote Western Kutch. Pilgrims from as far away as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are slowly, determinedly making their way to the town of Naragram in the Banni region of Kutch, Gujarat. Many are on foot and carrying the green […]

Achyut Yagnik The Shaping Of Modern Gujarat & Ahmedbabad: Royal City To MegaCity

Towards the end of this work, Yagnik’s words seem to be weighed down by a terrible despair. Though the work is a broad social science study of Gujarat’s political, economic and cultural history, one can’t help but feel that it is more an attempt to understand and explain the state’s descent into cultural xenophobia and […]

The Idea Of India Project Update: 2 March 2011: The Fulbright Phase Begins
The Idea Of India Project Update: 2 March 2011: The Fulbright Phase Begins

After a near nine month break I am once again turning my attention to the The Idea Of India project. This phase of the project is expected to last about nine months and will concentrate on the regions of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala and, time permitting, West Bengal. I arrived in India on February 5th, but […]

Gujarat’s Faded Testaments: The Parables Of Bet Dwarka
Gujarat’s Faded Testaments: The Parables Of Bet Dwarka

On any given day hundreds of Hindu pilgrims can be seen standing in the courtyard of Bet Dwarka’s famous Krishna temple. On the day of the annual festival, tens of thousands will congregate here. And on that special day, as on any ordinary day, the pilgrims would have been helped to cross the three kilometer […]

Gujarat’s Faded Testaments: The Sant Devidas Temple, Parab, Gujarat
Gujarat’s Faded Testaments: The Sant Devidas Temple, Parab, Gujarat

We hacked, we burnt, did a lot of that. We believe in setting them [Muslims] on fire because these bastards say they don’t want to be cremated, they’re afraid of it, they say this and that will happen to them. Babu Bajrangi, VHP and Bajrang Dal leader, speaks about events in Naroda, Gujarat in 2002, Tehelka […]

Gujarat’s Faded Testaments: The Shrine Of Data Pir, Junagadh, Gujarat
Gujarat’s Faded Testaments: The Shrine Of Data Pir, Junagadh, Gujarat

I don’t remember the names of those Muslims… but the ones who were there… they were handpicked and killed one by one. There was one Katki in Madhopura… whenever a riot took place, he was the first to come out… That day we targeted him and killed him. There were two advantages to that… it […]

Gujarat’s Faded Testaments: The Ideological Shadows Of Somnath
Gujarat’s Faded Testaments: The Ideological Shadows Of Somnath

Mahmud of Ghazni, a legendary looter, descended on Somnath from his Afghan kingdom and, after a two-day battle, took the town and the temple. Having stripped its fabulous wealth, he destroyed it. So began a pattern of Muslim desecration and Hindu rebuilding that continued for centuries. The temple was again razed in 1297, 1394, and […]