ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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One-Dimensional View of Dalit Movement

voyage of Vasco da Gama who was piloted by Abdul bin Majid, presumably a Gujarati Muslim" (p 8); later that Honavar was the principal port of the Nayaka of Ikkeri (p 22); or again of the Portuguese capture of Diu in 1554 (p45): repeatedly that Nagapattinam was fortified by the early 17th century; on p 249, the incident attributed to I638 look place in 1634; the Mughal ship GanjSawai is throughout called Ganj-i-Sawar and so on. Indian and Arabo-Persian names are spelt throughout with careless abandon'. "Muhamad, 'Taqui", "Meah Mizany". etc. It" there were a strong new argument in the book, or a strong quantitative foundation las we expect from Om Prakash's forthcoming volume in the New Cambridge History of India) such detail could be dismissed as 'mere detail'. But the book is a work of narrative history, and hence has to be reliable as narrative. Here it falls short of expectations. This said, it must he said that the book docs have its merits, most notably its useful bibliographical essay. Certain simple ideas are also set out, although at somewhat tedious length, and (for a book of this size) with a surprising amount of repetition. Still, we have a sense that if only BARRING a few exceptions both in Marathi and English, recent studies on the dalit movement in Maharashtra are either sequential in nature or theoretically insensitive. Jayashree Gokhale's book under review offers a theoretically sensitive approach involving criticism of the cultural- ideological approach adopted by M N Srinivas, Mark Juergensmeyer, Eleanor Zelliot. Owen Lynch and Michael Moffall. According to Gokhale, the cultural- ideological approach treats the untouchables as a striking case of submissiveness (p 34). On the contrary, the author argues, the untouchables did not always accept their lot with stoic obedience and docility. They, particularly the mahars, protested some times violently against repressive Hindu social order (p 34). The author criticises thec ultural- ideological view of the dalit movement for not taking into consideration the overlap of caste and class dimensions of the mahar movement in Maharashtra. Therefore, the author, basing her theoretical framework on the approach of Kathleen Gough and Emmanuel Terry, believes that the historical development of the mahar community reveals the format had allowed him toArasaratnam might just have engaged his peers and even younger historians in discussion. This is reassuring because members of the Indian Ocean club have not always been so open- minded: another recent book by Arasaratnam and Aniruddha Ray, titled Mosulipainam and Catnhay (Munshiram Manoharlal, 1994), possesses the apparatus of footnotes, but practically refuses to acknowledge the existenceof other historians who have written earlier on these subjects.

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