In his unprecedented study of history as consciousness and discipline in modern India, The Calling of History, Dipesh Chakrabarty argues that this history has never been properly institutionalized. He explores the tense relations between academic and popular histories in the career of Jadunath Sarkar and shows how Mughal history in his wake has had to abjure ideas and subjectivity as a result of this constitutive tension. Devji's comments follow up this point by looking at the way in which Sarkar's apparently biased and old-fashioned focus on character, and so religion and ideas in general, allowed him a kind of intimacy with his sources and society that his successors lack. How, in other words, might the Indian historian's concern with secular writing end up in a parochial dead end?

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