Memory and Narrative As Interpretive Devices
Meena R. Menon
Remembering Revolution by Srila Roy Oxford University Press, 2013, 252 pp., 725
December 2013, volume 37, No 12

Remembering Revolution is a perceptive, sympathetic and yet systematic and rigorous study of gender in the Naxalite movement in the 60s and 70s. There have been many studies of the Naxalite movement of late, but none that has explored the role of women from the point of view of their own experiences and motivations on the one hand, and on the other, examining the attitudes existing then among their male comrades, the party leadership, family and social milieu, which in turn influenced what they did and thought. In the introduction to the book, the author has made an exceptional contribution to the discourse on memory and narratives in history and sociology, on the methodology of using life stories and perceptions for understanding and interpreting social and political processes. This is extremely useful in the background of the growing popularity and validation of oral history. She evaluates the strengths of using ‘stories’ while admitting some of the pitfalls of romanticizing it.

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