Hindu Kingship and Polity in Precolonial India
Through the analysis of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century texts on the Hindu Kingdom of Kota in Rajasthan, Norbert Peabody explores the ways in which historical consciousness, or memory, is culturally constructed and how this consciousness informs social experience. By building on the premise that no society receives the past in a transparent, universal and objective way, he unravels how the past in Kota has been fashioned. His analysis demonstrates how different styles of historical interpretation sustain different regimes, and how specific varieties of social and political activity are founded upon these different perceptions of the past. In this way, he suggests that different societies not only establish different co-ordinates of value in their constructions of the past, but also that the very processes of social and political transformation differ from society to society. This is a fascinating and challenging book which promises to become a classic in the field.