"For at a time when ten thousand dissertations and whole shelves of Subaltern Studies have carefully and ingeniously theorized about orientalism and the imagining of the Other (all invariably given titles with a present participle and a fashionable noun of obscure meaning—Gendering the Colonial Paradigm, Constructing the Imagined Other, Othering the Imagined Construction, and so on—not one PhD has ever been written from the Mutiny Papers, no major study has ever systematically explored its contents."
"The British histories, as well as a surprising number of those written in English in post-colonial India, tended to use only English-language sources, padding out the gaps, in the case of more recent work, with a thick cladding of post-Saidian theory and jargon."Those are from the introduction to William Dalrymple's The Last Mughal, about the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the fall of India's Mughal empire, and the touching fate of its last emperor. I had not previously been interested in that part of history, but a colleague recommended the book, and it looks so far like a vindication of how thrilling history can be when buttressed by solid research and free of reductive intellectual bullying.
© Peter Rozovsky 2010