Rebellion: Act and Event

Prathama Benerjee

in Politics of Time

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780195681567
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081677 | DOI:
Rebellion: Act and Event

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This chapter tries to understand the mechanisms by which the hul becomes constituted as an event of history. It illustrates how from the very moment when the Santals rebelled, their own words were used, against the very intention of their testimonies, as statements of ‘causes’. The central characteristic of the hul was the massive participation of non-Santals in it. Colonial juridical discourse resolved that the cause for the hul was nothing other than the inability of Santals to grasp the idea that their claim to forest land and to ‘primordial’ conditions were annulled long ago by the historical time of progress. Santals assigned their hul to inexorable time, impossible to master and predict like a rational cause. Ancestral truth was proven precisely by its extinction in the contemporary times. Bengali history-writing tried to formulate the past-present relationship as that of pure succession.

Keywords: hul; Santals; colonial juridical discourse; ancestral truth; rebellion; Bengali history-writing

Chapter.  14741 words. 

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