Phule: Where History Meets Its Other
DOI link for Phule: Where History Meets Its Other
Phule: Where History Meets Its Other book
Phule incorporated a historical and rationalist approach without fully rejecting ‘subaltern pasts’. As seen in Chapter 3, Phule historicized and rationalized Hindu legends and myths, but did not rest at that. He was not interested in merely showing the origins of certain customs or trying to analyze them historically. Rather, he was engaged in simultaneously rewriting these legends and providing alternative stories to those at hand. While he used the practice of historicizing as a means to expose relations of power undergirding knowledge, and to locate these stories within ‘real historical time’, which is in a distant past, his history-writing was overtly concerned with telling stories. The boundaries between history and myth begin to blur in his ‘historical’ writings and popular traditions, in particular, play a critical role. This chapter focuses on the limits of history demonstrated in the stories he constructed and the modes in which he chose to express himself, which drew heavily from pre-colonial forms. His non-historical use of Hindu traditions is also apparent in his rewriting and reinventing of Hindu practices through the activities of his organization, the Satyashodhak Samaj.