The Genealogical Tradition

Kumkum Chatterjee

in The Cultures of History in Early Modern India

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780195698800
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080243 | DOI:
The Genealogical Tradition

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Genealogies are used to record the pasts of families, clans, and dynasties. This chapter discusses one of the most common and enduring forms in which the pasts of families and lineages were commemorated in Bengal, the kulagranthas, kulapanjikas, or kulajis. These genealogical materials possess a remarkable history, given that they were composed and used uninterruptedly for hundreds of years — stretching probably from the ninth and tenth centuries ad until about the mid-to late nineteenth century. The chapter discusses the origin and development of kulagrantha literature, the challenge of assigning precise dates to them, and their substance. It explores the cultural and ideological functions of the kulagranthas as well as their adjustments to contingent social and political realities. Finally, it discusses whether kulagranthas constituted a form of collective historical awareness regarding developments in the past which had shaped the social lives of jati and kula-based communities in Bengal.

Keywords: genealogies; Bengal; kulagranthas; history; families; lineage; kulapanjikas; kulajis; jati; communities

Chapter.  10852 words. 

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