Shifting the Focus
Chandrabhan Pratap Yadav
SETTLEMENT AND LOCAL HISTORIES OF THE EARLY DECCAN by Aloka Parasher Sen Manohar Books, 2021, 322 pp., 1375.00
October 2021, volume 45, No 10

Aloka Parasher Sen, otherwise known amongst students of history for her groundbreaking works on forest spaces and forest dwellers, especially the Mlecchas, has made another crucial intervention via the book under review. This book on the early history of Deccan is her labour of love, a token of gratitude to the city of Hyderabad, where she taught as Professor in the Department of History, Hyderabad Central University. In another piece of writing, a rather interesting bio-note, Sen admits that her stay in Hyderabad made her sensitive to the immediate environs and got her interested, academically, in the region.

Parasher Sen foregrounds the purpose of this book, the project of understanding the history of Deccan as a history from within the region, rooted in the local and sub-regional contexts. She brings into scrutiny perspectives that have relegated historical developments in the Deccan as offshoots of developments in the north. She questions the attitudes (largely noticeable in textbooks) that have tended to subsume ‘Deccan’ within a larger narrative of ‘the South’. Through this work, she has brought into critical focus heterogenous localities, in order to weave narratives of a region. This book is also an innovative and curious blend of different kinds of historical methodologies that Parasher Sen uses through the different chapters.

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