Bonded Histories: Genealogies of Labor Servitude in Colonial by Gyan Prakash

By Gyan Prakash

To the fashionable global, the notions that freedom is an innate situation of humans and that cash possesses the ability to bind humans look as typical proof. Bonded Histories lines the old procedures through which those notions turned verified as dominant discourses in India in the course of colonial rule and persevered into post-colonial India. Gyan Prakash locates the formula of those discourses within the historical past of bonded labour in southern Bihar. He specializes in the emergence and next transformation of the connection of reciprocal strength and dependence among landlords and labourers. the writer explores the way those modifications have been hooked up with broader shifts within the political economic system of this a part of the subcontinent; with the altering constructions of agricultural construction, land tenure and profit call for; with neighborhood social hierarchies and the ideology of castes; and with Hindu cosmologies, spirit cults and their articulation in ritual practices.

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J. 23 The singing of epics is the climactic act of the ritual performance by which two Bhuinya families that have come together affirm their common descent from Tulsi Bir. Since it is the concluding act of the marriage ritual, sung to the throbbing beat of the mandar drum, the function of oral traditions appears to be one of reinforcing Bhuinya identity and solidarity. This is evident not only from the ritual context in which these traditions are performed, but also from the fact that the oral narratives historicize the Bhuinya identity; telling stories establishes the historical facticity of Bhuinyas as a distinct group.

The rugged terrain gives over northward to relatively flat lands but is broken in many places by ranges of hills. These rise up in the middle of the plain, sometimes to 1,800 feet, and extend for miles, with towns like Gaya and Bodh Gaya nestled between them. Denuded of all vegetation, the bare appearance of those rocky hills presents a striking contrast to the paddyfieldson the plain. When the hot summer months are interrupted by the southwest monsoon in the middle of June, natural storm drains, dry during the summer, become torrents that flow down the slope from south to north.

Romila Thapar points out that names like Savara were used as generic terms for non-Hindu tribes residing in the Vindhyas. See her "The Image of the Barbarian in Early India," CSSH, 13 (1971), 408-36. Cf. ASI, Reports, xi, 132-33. 38 Bonded histories over south Bihar, highland Bihar and Orissa. By then, not only did all of these separate groups having the same name live under different conditions, but each group also conceived of itself as a distinct entity. Thus, there is no mention of any connection among the different groups of the Bhuinyas in any of the legends and oral traditions.

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