The volume under review is the seventh in a series on modern Indian history, edited by well known historian Professor Bipan Chandra and two of his illustrious former students, Mridula and Aditya Mukherjee. Between them they represent what was once the unchallenged school of nationalist historiography and have acquired the formidable reputation of crusaders on behalf of that particular way of understanding modern Indian history. The present volume too is a part of that crusade, marked by the shrillness of its missionary ardour. There is nothing really to quarrel about with the author so far as his discussion of ‘mobilizational politics’ is concerned. The book, apparently about “political mobilization” and “identity” in western India, is less about exploring the relationship between such mobilizations (nationalist, by definition, in that period) and the quest for identity; it is, rather, about knocking down perceived enemies of the kind of history that the author wishes to uphold.
March 2006, volume 30, No 3