Princely India Re-Imagined: A Historical Anthropology of Mysore

Ikegame, Aya (2012). Princely India Re-Imagined: A Historical Anthropology of Mysore. Routledge Edinburgh South Asia Studies. London: Routledge.



This book explores a forgotten history of another India: Indian princely states. Indian princely states, of varied sizes and influences, ruled nearly 40% of the Indian subcontinent during the colonial time. Despite of this, histories of Indian rulers and their families have not been paid enough scholarly attention. Princely India Re-imagined offers new theoretical insights to one of the largest and most influential princely states: Mysore. How the Mysore royal family adopted new colonial modernity and re-establish themselves as a legitimate king during the rapidly changing social and political context of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book traces how Mysore royal elites imagined what modern Indian monarchy should look like, and how they lived through British colonial rule and people’s democratic movements by re-interpreting traditional ideas and practices of Indian kingship. People ignored in both colonial and nationalist historiography appear here as an active agent of history. Their innovations in marriage alliances, education, city, kingly ritual show resilience of Indian kingship. Their cultural and political re-interpretation of kingship was also followed by many other political actors in twentieth and twenty-first century south India. Kinship without king lives on.

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