Nomadic Narratives: A History of Mobility and Identity in the Great Indian Desert

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9781107080317: Nomadic Narratives: A History of Mobility and Identity in the Great Indian Desert

The Thar Desert, which is today divided by an international boundary, has historically been a frontier region connecting Punjab, Multan, Sindh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. This book looks at the Desert as an historical region shaped through the mobility of its inhabitants - warriors, pastoralists, traders, ascetics and bards, often in overlapping capacities. It challenges the frames of Mughal-Rajput relationships generally employed to explore the histories of the Thar, arguing that Rajputana remains an inadequate category to explore polities located in this frontier region, where along with Rajputs, a range of groups, such as Charans, Bhils, Meenas, Soomras and Pathans controlled circulation, and with whom the Rajput states had to constantly negotiate. Sifting through a wide range of Rajasthani written and oral narratives, travelogues of British administrators, and vernacular as well as English records, the book explores long-term relationships between mobility, martiality, memory and identity in the desert expanses of the Thar.

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Book Description:

Nomadic Narratives looks at the Thar Desert as an historical region shaped through the mobility of its inhabitants. It challenges the frames of Mughal-Rajput relationships that are generally employed to explore the histories of the Thar, and studies long-term relationships between mobility, martiality, memory and identity in the desert expanses.

About the Author:

Tanuja Kothiyal teaches history at Ambedkar University Delhi, and is also a Fellow at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. She is interested in studying networks of circulation, people, resources and ideas in medieval and early modern western Rajasthan. She is also interested in exploring oral narrative traditions in western India, as ways through which alternate/counter-narratives were produced and circulated.

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