chapter  2
16 Pages

Geographical encroachment

The nature and extent of the peasant revolts for the colonial period had not been explored extensively in Indian historiography literature.2 Existing historiographical literatures have mainly focused ‘on national or regional leaders, patriotic ideologies, elite pressures or factional manouveres by patron-client linkages’.3 In recent years (since the 1980s), the historiography shifted to focus on the ‘popular and particularly peasant initiative and “self-mobilisation” ’, in other words, ‘history from below’ or ‘subaltern studies’.4 These studies criticised ‘the key and overriding role of the nationalist ideology and leadership in allegedly giving for a sporadic discontent, the other at times perhaps overstressing or romanticizing peasant spontaneity, initiative and rebelliousness through a theory of a fundamentally distinct “peasant nationalism” ’.5