SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Regionalism and Narrative Choice in South Asian Historiography: the view from the Himalayas, c. 1800-1900

Dr Arik Moran (Haifa)

Date: 4 February 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 4 February 2014Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B104

Type of Event: Seminar

The transition to British rule in the Himalayas has traditionally focused on the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814-16) as the watershed moment that defined the boundaries of modern Nepal and lay the foundations for the creation of the renowned Gorkha Regiments. In the case of West Himalayan polities, writings on the war proved crucial for the creation of a novel regional identity that was articulated through the juxtaposition of 'soil-born' warrior-kings with the 'alien' Gorkha conquerers. In fostering this identity, regional historiography deftly circumvented the continued subservience of local elites to Gorkha troops, who remained in the hills as the executive arm of British rule up to India's independence. By examining contemporaneous and posterior writings on the war, this talk argues that the novel identity of West Himalayan rulers obscured an anterior category of pan-(West) Himalayan identity that was essentially defined by its relation to the South Asian plains.

Organiser: Dr Roy Fischel and Dr Shabnum Tejani