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The hegemony of India’s states on the way the country is imagined is such that it is often forgotten that Gujarat only emerged as both a political unit and as a form of cultural identity over the course of the last century.
The Idea of Gujarat: History, Ethnography and Text critically examines the processes that went into the formation of the region and in the process unsettles a series of conventional wisdoms about the land and its inhabitants. Individual chapters examine the work of courts, colonial officers, politicians, scholars and gods and goddesses in the making of the state. As a whole, the book provides a broad introduction to the idea of Gujarat, the scope of its history, the nature of its politics, and the dynamics of its society.
It will be of use to students and scholars interested in the study of Gujarat, and to those concerned with wider questions of identity formation, colonial and post-colonial knowledge practices, and contemporary politics.
Edward Simpson is a senior lecturer in social anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.
Notes on the Contributors ix
A Note on the Language and Text xi
List of Maps and Figures xiii
The Parable of the Jakhs
Gujarat in Maps
Aparna Kapadia and Edward Simpson
1. Caste in the Judicial Courts of Gujarat, 1800–60
2. Alexander Forbes and the Making of a Regional History
3. Making Sense of the History of Kutch
4. The Lives of Bahuchara Mata
5. Reflections on Caste in Gujarat
6. The Politics of Land in Post-colonial Gujarat
7. From Gandhi to Modi: Ahmedabad, 1915–2007
8. A Potted History of Neighbours and Neighbourliness in Ahmedabad
9. Voices from Sindh in Gujarat
10. Textiles and Dress among the Rabari of Kutch
11. The Swaminarayan Movement and Religious Subjectivity
Hanna H. Kim