Maharashtra in the nineteenth century exhibits all the characteristics of a society standing at the crossroads of civilization. Western education, press, industrialisation and material changes in production and consumption patterns resulted in ...
fundamental changes in the thinking of the people. The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed the beginning of the Postal Service in 1837, rise and spread of the native press and rudimentary education. The second half witnessed more dramatic events such as the coming of the Railways and the establishment of the Indian National Congress that changed the destiny of the subcontinent forever. The book takes a fresh look at the various aspects of nineteenth century Maharashtra. It includes the critiques and reviews of literature, language, history writing and women's reforms in this period. It argues that the elite attempts at social reform had their own inherent limitations. They could not reach the level of radicality reached by the subalterns whose lived experience of discrimination was the biggest stimulus for reform. Mahatma Phule stands out from among a range of thinkers in this period for his innovative understanding of the Indian reality. Phule was one of the rare thinkers who reconciled the Indian reality with its Universal counterpart.