Rita Kothari’s book focuses on Banni, a small region in northern Kutch that ‘interrupts the idea of Gujarat as a linguistically, culturally and politically cohesive territory with bounded citizenship’ (p. 3). Kutch, which became a district in the linguistic state of Gujarat in 1960 is marked by a long history of mobility and migration that questions the idea of the homogeneity of Gujarat that is an essential and recurring feature of the government’s discourse today.
This is a somewhat motley, though interesting, collection of articles. There is little to string them together, in terms of a theme. Yet this is precisely what constitutes a smorgasbord of historical work and musings, from which almost everyone would find an interesting tid-bit or two to sample.
I begin with a quote from B.D.Chattopadhyaya, ‘The volume makes a point that the pan-Indian patterns of civilization and historical processes may be best understood from their intersections with how these patterns shape and get reshaped in the context of regions’.