The Santals, a major tribal group of India, are known for their Hul, an important rebellion led by charismatic heroes in 1855-7, and analysed by subaltern historians as conveying political and intellectual concerns, such as peasant consciousness, ...
pertinent to post-colonial India. After the rebellion, Christian missions were established in the Santal Parganas, among them, the Scandinavian Lutheran missionaries considered the Santals as a nation and wanted to create a Santal National Church, and their presence contributed to reinforce Santal identity. This volume presents selections from Rev. P.O. Boddings collection of Santal folklorethree thousand pages now found in the Oslo University Librarywhich he collected from 1892 to around 1927. The editors have selected narrativesmythological and historicalwhich Bodding left unpublished. The introduction of writing allowed another texture of knowledge to emerge from the colonial encounter, expressing itself through these narratives. Boddings collections were done by Santals whom he trained, but at least one of them, Sagram Murmu merits consideration as an author in his own right. The choice of texts presented here shows us how the Santals recast their traditions as knowledge, as a body of institutions and laws, and as a way of life. These texts contribute to inform how marginalized people, such as the Santals, experienced colonial modernity but succeeded in negotiating for themselves the potential of national de-colonisation. The book aims at documenting subaltern pasts, allowing their re-appropriation by the Santal themselves.
Number of pages: 400
Date of publication: 01/01/2011
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