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Situated where the river Narmada meets the Arabian Sea, Bharuch is one of South Asia’s oldest port towns with trade, family, and religious links that stretched across the Indian Ocean and beyond. In the eighteenth century, it was home to a short-lived kingdom that the East India Company’s gunships terminated in 1772. During that time Bharuch was controlled by a loose consortium of courtiers, military men, and tax specialists from near and far whose activities were chronicled in a cacophony of languages and genres. Early colonialism ended this polity of fragile alliances but it was nationalism that obscured the multilingual clamour of the nawabs’ Bharuch behind a curtain of nativist ideology. This talk traces what is at stake when alliance and accommodation are subordinated to monolingual nationalism.
Meeting ID: 965 6961 0242
Samira Sheikh is a historian who teaches at Vanderbilt University. Currently completing a book on Bharuch in the eighteenth century, she next plans a volume on early modern maps of Gujarat. She is the author of Forging a Region: Sultans, Pilgrims, and Traders in Gujarat, 1200-1500 and co-editor of After Timur Left: Culture and Circulation in Fifteenth-Century North India.