The Calling of History
Sir Jadunath Sarkar and His Empire of Truth
Through close readings of more than twelve hundred letters to and from Sarkar along with other archival documents, Dipesh Chakrabarty demonstrates that historians in colonial India formulated the basic concepts and practices of the field via vigorous—and at times bitter and hurtful—debates in the public sphere. He furthermore shows that because of its non-technical nature, the discipline as a whole remains susceptible to pressure from both the public and the academy even today. Methodological debates and the changing reputations of scholars like Sarkar, he argues, must therefore be understood within the specific contexts in which particular histories are written.
Insightful and with far-reaching implications for all historians, The Calling of History offers a valuable look at the double life of history and how tensions between its public and private sides played out in a major scholar’s career.