Social Scientist. v 16, no. 178 (March 1988) p. 1.


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Editorial Note

There has been in recent years a veritable explosion of research in the sphere of modern Indian history. Opinions may differ among historians about the significance of much of this research. Non-historians may well ask with old-fashioned naivete what all this research adds up to, or whether the very notion of a body of research 'adding up to something' has itself become out of fashion. Some others may see in this or that trend of research a belated capturing of some European intellectual fashion of yesteryears. Nonetheless, no matter what attitude one takes to this vast body of emerging research, there is no denying the sheer energy, the sheer creative effort that is going into the production of this output. Social Scientist has always considered it its duty to bring to its readers from time to time a whiff of this effort. Accordingly, we devote the current number to a discussion of certain themes in modern Indian history and historiography.

Much of this number is taken up by reviews of articles appearing in Volumes III and IV of Subaltern Studies, by a group of young scholars belonging to Delhi University and to Jawaharlal Nehru University. This is not the first time that we are carrying such a critical evaluation of the efforts of the 'subaltern school'; once, on an earlier occasion too we had devoted a whole issue to a review of articles appearing in the earlier volumes of Subaltern Studies. Some may indeed feel that, unlike on that occasion, by now so much has been written on the 'subaltern school* that the topic itself has become somewhat stale. But the fact remains that this school, no matter what attitude one may have towards it, did draw into its fold a number of distinguished young historians whose contributions had, and continue to have till today, a perceptible impact on modem Indian historiography. It is only proper that a journal like ours should take note of their effort, whether or not they continue to occupy the centre-stage in the rapidly changing fashions in historiography.

We should, however, make one point clear. The group of reviewers who have come together to discuss the 'subaltern school' do not necessarily constitute an alternative 'school*, on a par with and in contradistinction to the 'subaltern school'. And most certainly, they do not constitute a 'School' enjoying the official imprimatur of Social Scientist backing. The fact that we have devoted this number to a discussion of 'subaltern studies' should not give rise to the belief that in the pages that follow there is a confrontation between the 'Social Scientist school' and the 'subaltern school'. To be sure, the editorial team



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