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Mysore Modern

Rethinking the Region under Princely Rule

2011
Author:

Janaki Nair

Mysore Modern

Rethinking modernity in colonial and postcolonial Indian history

Mysore Modern reconceptualizes modernity in India using the history of the Princely State of Mysore. In this forcefully argued work, Janaki Nair critiques earlier notions of the native states of India as spaces that were either defined entirely by the dominant narratives of colonial/national modernity or were relatively untouched by them.

Mysore Modern presents a wide-ranging, forcefully argued, and impressively researched series of essays on the colonial and immediate post-colonial history of India’s ‘model’ princely state, Mysore. It is a significant and valuable contribution to our understanding of the role princely states played in the history of modern India.

William Glover, University of Michigan

Mysore Modern reconceptualizes modernity in India using the history of the Princely State of Mysore. In this forcefully argued work, Janaki Nair critiques earlier notions of the native states of India as spaces that were either defined entirely by the dominant narratives of colonial/national modernity or were relatively untouched by them.

Grounded in political history, and deriving insights from a wide range of visual, social, and legal texts and issues, Mysore Modern reperiodizes the modern by connecting these apparently discrepant registers to build up a case for a specifically regional, “monarchical modern” moment in Indian history. Nair examines mural and portraiture traditions, as well as forms of memorialization and nationalization of art and architectural practices. The volume also considers bureaucratic efforts centered on the use of law and development as instruments of modernity.

As Nair demonstrates, the resolution of struggles about the significance of the past in the present, the control of women’s sexuality and labor, and the role of the bureaucracy in Mysore reveal the imperatives of taking the region as the inaugural site for writing a history of Indian modernity.

Mysore Modern

Janaki Nair is professor at the Center for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her previous books include The Promise of the Metropolis: Bangalore’s Twentieth Century, Women and the Law in Colonial India, and Miners and Millhands: Work, Culture, and Politics in Princely Mysore.

Mysore Modern

Mysore Modern presents a wide-ranging, forcefully argued, and impressively researched series of essays on the colonial and immediate post-colonial history of India’s ‘model’ princely state, Mysore. It is a significant and valuable contribution to our understanding of the role princely states played in the history of modern India.

William Glover, University of Michigan

Rich in details, thematically interesting and lucidly written.

The Hindu

Mysore Modern

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Reconceptualizing the Modern, the Region, and Princely Rule

1. Tipu Sultan’s War Colors and the Battle for Perspective
2. An Illusion of Permanence: Visualizing Legitimacy in Mysore
3. Srirangapatna: Capital City to Topography of Conquest
4. The Museumized Cityscape of Mysore
5. K. Venkatappa and the Fashioning of a Mysore Modern in Art
6. The Illicit in the Modern: Banning the Devadasi
7. The Licit in the Modern: Protecting the Child Wife
8. Giving the State a Nation: Revisiting Karnataka’s Reunification


Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index