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With increasing demand for large numbers of testing during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, alternative protocols were developed with shortened turn-around time. We evaluated the performance of such a protocol wherein 1138 consecutive clinic attendees were enrolled; 584 and 554 respectively from two independent study sites in the cities of Pune and Kolkata. Paired nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs were tested by using both reference and index methods in a blinded fashion. Prior to conducting real-time polymerase chain reaction, swabs collected in viral transport medium (VTM) were processed for RNA extraction (reference method) and swabs collected in a dry tube without VTM were incubated in Tris–EDTA–proteinase K buffer for 30 min and heat-inactivated at 98 °C for 6 min (index method). Overall sensitivity and specificity of the index method were 78.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) 71–86) and 99% (95% CI 98–99.6), respectively. Agreement between the index and reference method was 96.8% (k = 0.83, s.e. = 0.03). The reference method exhibited an enhanced detection of viral genes (E, N and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase) with lower Ct values compared to the index method. The index method can be used for detecting severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus-2 infection with an appropriately chosen primer–probe set and heat treatment approach in pressing time; low sensitivity constrains its potential wider use.
Historians have long struggled with the task of interpreting narratives that although written in the past tense are yet hard, if not impossible to reconcile with each other or indeed, the modern historical sense of there having been a singular past. The usual response has been to ‘mine’ them for historical knowledge as ‘such consciousness is not always visible and has to be prised from sources which tend to conceal it’. Alternatively, we can treat historical texts as literary ones and allow them all to benefit from the suspension of disbelief available to the literary understanding. Thus, Hayden White proposed in 1966 to treat historical explanation as something that ‘can be judged solely in terms of the richness of the metaphors which govern its sequence of articulation’ because, after all, ‘there is no such thing as a single correct view of any object’.
Gabrielle Spiegel, an important scholar of pre-modern narrative has sought a middle ground between these opposed positions arguing that the ‘alternative between seeing language as either perfectly transparent or completely opaque is simply too rigidly framed’. She then pointed out a vital difference between the way that historians and literary scholars needed to approach texts.
But historical contexts do not exist in themselves; they must be defined, and in that sense constructed, by the historian before the interpretive work of producing meaning, of interpreting the past, can begin..…
The past two decades have seen a dramatic renewal of interest in the subject of historical memory, its reproduction and transmission. But most studies have focused on the selection and construction of extant memories. This essay looks at missing memory as well. It seeks to broaden our understanding of memory by investigating the way in which historical memory significant to one historical tradition was slighted by another, even though the two overlapped both spatially and chronologically. It does this by an examination of how the memory of the Marathi-speaking peoples first neglected and then adopted the story of the Vijayanagara empire that once dominated southern India.
An important part of the by now enormous literature on nationalism has focused on its conditions of possibility, on what we may call the processes of pre-formation that underlay the explosive rise of those “imagined communities” in the modern era. How indeed has modernity (however defined) impacted on the mechanisms by which identities—including national ones—are formed, felt and enacted? This question has frequently been addressed in recent decades, especially as studies of nationalism have broadened their ambit to take in the non-Western world. This expansion has certainly generated major works—most famously, of course, the first edition (1983) of Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities which made the stimulating suggestion that print capitalism was a central pre-formative institution for incipient nations.
There is little doubt that forests occupy a smaller fraction of the world today than they have done for some millennia, and people living in them form an even smaller, and ever-falling, proportion of the global population. However, as a consequence of the new environmental consciousness, academic inquiry into, and media coverage of these shrunken areas and shrinking populations has, in recent years, vastly increased in every part of the world. The historical dimensions of the issues involved are also increasingly coming to be recognised, as are its regional and local variations. These are the problems that the present book addresses. The book is not about the environment per se, but about the human use of the environment, and about the diverse communities that utilised it in distinct, but complementary, ways. It is also about how these communities sought to define themselves and organise their relations with others, and how they modified natural conditions in that process. The book thus deals both with the formation of ethnic hierarchies and the anthropogenesis of landscapes; hence it is also a contribution to the study of what Schendel has termed ‘ethnic innovation’ or ethnogenesis.
While these processes may be found throughout the world, my inquiry is focused on the margins of agriculture in Central and Western India, or a region slightly larger than the contemporary Indian state of Maharashtra. Those margins were, until the present century, determined largely by physiographic boundary between the plains and the mountains.
Introduction: strategic location and regional power
The previous chapter looked at peripatetic ethnicities that moved across considerable distances; we now turn to a much more localised exemplar of the same processes. Immediately east of the coastal plain that stretches south from the gulf of Cambay is a triangular knot of difficult mountains through which the Narmada and Tapti cut their way to the sea at the important harbours of Bharuch and Surat respectively. East of the mountains lies more open country, long the seat of established agrarian regimes which needed access to the seaports and trade of the Indian Ocean and which also needed, therefore, to maintain transit through the forests and mountains. But if these forested hills were an obstacle from one point of view, they were a resource from another: they could be strongholds, bases and customs posts, and in their recesses grew the great timbers needed for mansions and ships. Not surprisingly, therefore, the expansion of trade in the Indian Ocean region in the early centuries of the current era was accompanied by settlement and stateformation. Cave-shrines began to be excavated at suitable locations for holy men to take their cut from the tolls and booty, and villages granted to Brahmans – for example, Pimpalner in western Khandesh granted by a Chalukya king in 377–8 CE.