The Social Space of Language: Vernacular Culture in British Colonial Punjab

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University of California Press, 2010 - History - 277 pages
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"This is a pioneering study. Mir draws upon largely unfamiliar material and suggests new approaches to religio-cultural questions of great importance to South Asianists across a wide disciplinary spectrum."--Christopher Shackle, SOAS, University of London

"Mir makes creative use of archival and folkloric material to tell the history of a composite, modern, and gendered Punjabi self in colonial India that was sadly lost in the welter of partition politics and violence. The story of the legendary lovers Heer and Ranjha haunts her narrative like an artistic lament about a lost Punjabi self without in any way compromising the academic quality of her research and the rigor of her exposition. A very significant contribution to South Asian history."--Dipesh Chakrabarty, The University of Chicago

"Farina Mir has given us an outstanding work of literary and cultural history. She skillfully unravels the many versions of the famous folk-tale about Hir and Ranjha to illuminate gender, class and community relations in Punjab. This book will compel historians to rethink the links between language, religion and power and to reconsider the contingencies of union and partition in late colonial India."--Sugata Bose, author of A Hundred Horizons

"Mir's archival work covers and foregrounds the breadth of the story-telling or qissa tradition, great and little, high and low, Sufi, Sikh and Hindu, showing its wide dissemination. Mir's findings are of immense significance, given the turbulent history of the region in post-independence India and the political turmoil today, particularly on the Pakistani side of the border. Panjabi seldom finds this kind of focus in cultural history."--Vasudha Dalmia, University of California, Berkeley
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Forging a Language Policy
27
2 Punjabi Print Culture
62
3 A Punjabi Literary Formation
91
4 Place and Personhood
123
5 Piety and Devotion
150
Conclusion
183
Appendix A ColonialEra HirRanjha Texts Consulted
195
Appendix B Punjabi Newspapers 18801905
203
Appendix C Punjabi Books Published Prior to 1867
206
Notes
209
Bibliography
245
Index
271
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About the author (2010)

Farina Mir is Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

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