chapter  14
17 Pages

Representations of the Intellectual: The Historian as ‘Outsider’


While walking the lanes of College Street on one sweltering afternoon in Kolkata, I chanced on a book heavily jostled amidst indiscriminate selections. As I thumbed through its pages, Keno Mussalman Holam (Why We Embrace Islam?) held me in a bewildered thrall, captive to a collage of anecdotal, documentary and epistolary interventions. By the time I had reached only the second page, I was fi lled with self-doubt: why had my mother, a historian, held back this important ‘historical’ truth from me?