Foreword by James Scott
This classic work in subaltern studies explores the common elements present in rebel consciousness during the Indian colonial period. Ranajit Guha—intellectual founder of the groundbreaking and influential Subaltern Studies Group—describes from the peasants’ viewpoint the relations of dominance and subordination in rural India from 1783 to 1900.
Challenging the idea that peasants were powerless agents who rebelled blindly against British imperialist oppression and local landlord exploitation, Guha emphasizes their awareness and will to effect political change. He suggests that the rebellions represented the birth of a theoretical consciousness and asserts that India’s long subaltern tradition lent power to the landmark insurgence led by Mahatma Gandhi. Yet as long as landlord authority remains dominant in a ruling culture, Guha claims, all mass struggles will tend to model themselves after the unfinished projects documented in this book.
Students and scholars will welcome this paperback edition of Guha’s 1983 original, which was distributed on a limited scale in the United States. It will influence new generations studying colonialism, postcolonialism, subaltern studies, historiography, anthropology, and Indian, Asian, and Latin American history.