Representing the Other, originally published almost two decades ago, makes an attempt to construct perceptions of new ethnic groups in India in an important phase of its history, from the eighth to the fourteenth century. The evidence though insufficient, reveals not homogenous religious communities, but ethnic groups of diverse origins, located in different socio-political contexts as traders, raiders and plunderers, as well as rulers and administrators. The contexts define the characterization of these different categories by either invoking terminologies from the past for others or by coining ethnic terms. Based mainly on contemporary Sanskrit epigraphic and textual sources, this book is expected to be a major corrective to the way students are generally taught to read the history of our country of this period and of what followed.
Brajadulal Chattopadhyay is former Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.