In Chakrabarty’s ‘Provincializing Europe: Postcoloniality and the critique of history’, the author argues about the often unacknowledged and unavoidable referent of an imagined “Europe” in the way we write history and the social scientific theoretical thinking.
The dominance of 'Europe' as the subject of all histories is a part of a much more profound theoretical condition under which historical knowledge is produced in the third world.
…all other histories are matters of empirical research that fleshes out a theoretical skeleton that is substantially 'Europe'.
In this blog, I seek to juxtapose the above mentioned highlights with the scenario of absence of history of northeast in the history textbooks. Recently, there has been an increase in racial attacks on the northeastern people. However, racial discrimination against the people of the northeast in mainland India is not a new phenomenon. Northeastern people, who look different from the other mainland Indians, often find it quite challenging to mix with the rest of the crowd . The ignorance of Northeast India in mainland India is a genuine problem. The elementary textbooks could provide an entry point for co-constructing the history of India by creating spaces of knowledge that exist in resistance to the hegemony of mainland India’s history.
The textbooks in schools and colleges of India is a product of the inclusion of stories from mainland India and exclusion of the stories of northeast and therefore what remains is a skeleton that is substantially mainland India. On one hand, many students from major cities of India like Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Delhi are not aware of the names of ‘seven sisters’; on the other hand, it wont be surprising if the level of awareness of the names of all states of United states of America is high. The lack of knowledge of the people of northeast and their culture poses an urgent need for inclusion of the history of northeast in school curriculum. The emergence of threat against the northeastern people calls for a reflexive journey to coconstruct our history textbooks attempting to build solidarity between the mainland India and the northeast India. Exploring the intersections of historical events in northeast India and mainland India, like the war between the colonialist British Empire and last Indian National Army (INA) at Moirang, Manipur, would open entry points for a dialog with the marginalized north eastern states. The elementary textbooks have the potential to build site for listening to the voices of the subaltern ‘northeastern states’ and the bridge the gap of ignorance.
Chakrabarty, D. (1992). Provincializing Europe: Postcoloniality and the critique of history. Cultural studies, 6(3), 337-357.