ABSTRACT

India's independence movement was the inspiration for anti-colonial movements around the world, and its victory changed the shape of world politics. Post-independence generations have faced a hard reckoning with the legacy of colonialism, with new forms of dependence, and with new patterns of division, power and conflict. This reckoning occurs across the social sciences—which themselves have complex relations with India's long intellectual traditions and with metropolitan hegemony. This chapter considers this field of forces at work in texts of historiography, gender analysis, anthropology and cultural psychology. In one of the early critiques of Subaltern Studies, Rosalind O'Hanlon argues that the dichotomy of 'subaltern' and 'elite', for which Ranajit Guha and his colleagues were heavily criticised, was not so much intended to name social categories as to dramatise the pervasiveness of power and domination. Among the criticisms of Subaltern Studies was that it had little to say about caste, and little to say about gender relations.