2. Historiography : Indian Tradition Explain the following concepts. (3) Subaltern history.

2. Historiography : Indian Tradition
Explain the following concepts.

(3) Subaltern history.

Answer: 

i. The seeds of subaltern history are found in the Marxist historiography.

ii. The role of the Italian historian Antonio Gramsci is very important in developing the idea that history should be written starting from the bottommost ranks of people in the society. In fact, subaltern means the ‘bottommost ranks’.

iii. Folklore has been considered as a very important source of writing subaltern histories.

iv. Ranjit Guha, an Indian historian played a major role in establishing subaltern history as an important academic school of historiography.

v. However, we may point out that much before the onset of subaltern ideology similar thoughts were expressed by Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.

vi. Mahatma Phule unfolded the history of the ‘shudratishudra’ communities in his book, ‘Gulamgiri’. He drew attention to the exploitation of women, shudras and atishudras done under the name of religion. The terms ‘shudra’ and ‘atishudra’ indicates the bottommost ranks in the caste system.

vii. The role of the people belonging to Dalit castes is very significant in the shaping of various cultural and political aspects of India. However, their role was not duly acknowledged in the colonial and nationalistic historiography.

viii. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar focusing on this fact, consistently wrote about it. Two of his books, ‘Who Were the Shudras’ and ‘The Untouchables’ may be cited as examples of history of subaltern type.

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