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Imagining Region in Late Colonial India: Jhaverchand Meghani and the Construction of Saurashtra (1921–47)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 April 2022

Aparna Kapadia*
Affiliation:
Department of History, Williams College, Williamstown, MA, USA

Abstract

The making of regional and national imaginaries in colonial South Asia and indigenous elites’ role in this process are well documented. Less clearly understood are the cultural and social elements that were subordinated to the regional formations that prevailed. By focusing on the travel writings of Jhaverchand Meghani (1896–1947), a prominent intellectual and litterateur from western India, this article illustrates the internal configurations and contestations that underpinned the imaginings of regions in South Asia. Notably, Meghani saw the cultural preservation of Saurashtra as his life's mission. This article is the first to engage in a close reading of his travelogues, situating them in the wider context of emergent ideas of Gujarat in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It argues that by showcasing Saurashtra's particular folk and oral traditions, Meghani distinguished himself from the other regionalists and thus also sought to prevent Saurashtra's complete subsumption within the modern state of Gujarat.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 2022

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