The Pull Towards the Coast and Other Essays: The Indian Ocean History and the Subcontinent Before 1500 CE (Hardback)
The pull towards the Coast and other essays: the Indian Ocean history and the subcontinent before 1500 CE presents nine essays and two appendices on both, the ‘history of ’ and the ‘history in’ the Indian Ocean prior to C.1500 CE by identifying the factors of change and continuity with reference to particular cases and overviews alike. The third largest maritime space, with the subcontinent and Sri Lanka at its centre, the Indian Ocean has been regularly traversed at least since the third millennium BCE, thanks to the near predictable alterations of the monsoon wind system and the ubiquitous vessels made of wooden planks, stitched with coconut coir. The book discards at once the notion of the perceived efficacy of brahmanical taboos against Indic seafaring and the Eurocentric perspective of ‘the age of discoveries’, in the history of the Indian Ocean. South Asian ports, oriented to the Indian Ocean, were ‘maritime cities’, sites of thriving exchanges of commodities as well as the meeting grounds of numerous ethnic communities and socio-religious groups with rich legacies from disparate zones, and this had far-reaching consequences. The essays in this volume discuss, inter alia, the possibilities of the interlocking of the coasts with—and their distinctiveness from—the mainland of South Asia; The attitudes of powers to the coasts and maritime trade without becoming maritime polities or thalassocracies; and the significance of Blue commodities in the sea-borne networks. In doing so, this volume seeks to rescue the subcontinent pre-modern pasts from the stranglehold of nationalism and the nation state.