Popular Theatres and Knowledge Production in Colonial India

Solomon, Rakesh H.
April 2006
International Journal of the Humanities;Apr2006, Vol. 3 Issue 8, p147
Academic Journal
This essay examines why producers of colonial knowledge offered radically different versions of what constitutes Indian theatre and published fundamentally skewed and incomplete theatre scholarship. Focusing on the treatment of popular vernacular theatres, especially the representative case of the Ram Lila performed throughout most of north and central India, the article analyzes the most influential books on Indian theatre published between 1827and 1947. It points to the historic but deleterious role of European Indologists, brahman informants, and nationalist scholars in producing this knowledge, which regrettably is still cited both in the West and in India. It suggests that the distortions in colonial knowledge about Indian theatre reflect the impact of changing ideologies during different phases of this long period.


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