Thursday, 8 May 2014

Integration of the Indian States & Colonialism

Integration of the Indian States by V. P. Menon from Orient Blackswan.

  • Merging the 554 princely states with the Indian state was one of the most structurally monumental tasks that the Indian administration faced after Independence.
  • V.P. Menon worked closely with Sardar Patel to help integrate the princely states with India.
  • The book details the negotiations he carried out with each of these states.
  • He has taken up the case of each state and shown how they were persuaded to sign the Instrument of Accession which made them a part of the Indian union.
  • He also shows how various states were grouped together to form new administrative units.
  • This reissue of the volume has a new Introduction that contextualizes it for contemporary readers. It gives us a brief account of the author, the book and the background in which it was written. It tells us how the process of carving out states from the jigsaw puzzle that India was after Independence is something that continues.

In our Politics section, Rs. 995, in paperback, 534 pages, ISBN: 9788125054511

Language Politics, Elites, and the Public Sphere: Western India Under Colonialism by Veena Naregal from Orient Blackswan.

The bilingual relationship between English and the Indian vernaculars has long been crucial to the construction of ideology as well as cultural and political hierarchies. Print was vital for colonial literacy—for initiating a shift in the relation between ‘high’ and ‘low’ languages. This book looks at the relationship between linguistic hierarchies, textual practices and power in colonial Western India. Whereas most studies of colonialism focus on India’s ‘high’ literary culture, this work looks at how local intellectuals explored their ‘middling’ position through initiatives to establish newspapers and influential channels of communication.

How was the ‘native’ intelligentsia able to achieve a position of ideological influence? This book shows that, despite their minority position and the bilingual division, such people negotiated the arenas of education policy, the press, and voluntary associations to advance their interests as a social class. In doing this it illuminates the Indian intelligentsia’s self-definitions before anti-colonial thinking articulated its hegemonic claims as nationalistic discourse. This book will interest readers of Indian history, cultural politics, and colonial thought.

In our Politics section, Rs. 450, in paperback, 312 pages, ISBN: 9788178243832

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