“Revisiting ‘Bakhar’: Power, Knowledge and Communities” Essay example

“Revisiting ‘Bakhar’: Power, Knowledge and Communities” Essay example

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This paper concentrates on the study of the selected ‘bakhars’. The ‘bakhar’, means a Marathi prose historical narrative. Except Mahikavati bakhar, most of the ‘bakhars’ were written from the 17th century to early 19th century. These bakhars were written by Maratha officials on the directions from their masters or senior officials. Those officials were considered as ‘Mahitigar’ i.e. well-informed and knowledgeable persons. The word ‘bakhar’ derived from Arabic word ‘khabar’, which means news or information. The bakhars were about biographies of great personalities, descriptions of great battles or genealogies of prominent families.
The origin of ‘bakhar’ literature, from Persian ‘tawarikhs’ and ‘akhabarats’ or from Sanskrit ‘akhyans’ and ‘puranas’, is a matter of debate among the scholars of Maratha history and Marathi linguistics. The most of the historians raised serious questions about the authenticity of ‘bakhar’ as a reliable source for history writing. However, historians had always used and still using ‘bakhar’ as source. The Marathi literary critics, considering ‘bakhars’ as an important Marathi prose genre of the pre-colonial period, focused on various aspects in their studies of bakhars such as writing styles, sketches of characters and events, uses of ‘puranic’ and mythical legends, ideal and moral values, uses of divine interventions, descriptions of society and places, vocabulary and uses of phrases, changing meanings of words, constructions of sentences etc in ‘bakhar’ literature.
Unlike the literary critics who mainly studied the origin of bakhar through literary studies as mention above mainly focused on one question i.e. from where bakhar is derived. Making departure from this point, Sumit Guha locates the s...


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Sumit Guha, ‘Speaking Historically: The Changing Voices of Historical Narration in Western India.’ American Historical Review 109, no.4(October 2004):1084-2004.
Prachi Deshpande, ‘Creative Past: Historical Memory and Identity in Western India 1700-1960’ Permanent Black, Ranikhet, 2007, p.39.
Ibid.
See, Anirudh Deshpande, ‘Marathas,Rajputs and Afghans in Mid-Eighteenth-Century India: Bhausahebanchi Bakhar and the Articulation of Cultural difference in Pre-Colonial India’ , Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Occasional Paper: History and Society, New Series-10, 2013
Sabhasad Bakhar, Introduction, p.15
Ibid, pp.1&2.
Ibid pp. 29-38, 116-127.
Ibid, p.131
Ibid, p.132
Chitnis Bakhar, Introduction, p. 17&18, for more details see G S Sardesai, ‘Marathi Riyasat Khand 2’, Popular Prakashan, Mumabai, 2011.
Chitnis Bakhar, Introduction, p. 17
Ibid, p.1&2

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