A new book series aims to capture the tectonic transformations of the subcontinent.
It is often said that South Asia is the graveyard of all universal theory. Everything that seems true in one part of South Asia is not true in another region of this densely populated part of the world. At one level this has to do with an extraordinarily old and complex fabric of overlapping cultures, languages, economies and religious imaginations. At another level, South Asia’s proverbial diversity is also a product of many generations of relative political and cultural freedoms. First emerging in the interstices of many fragmented and overlapping kingdoms and dominions and later entrenched by a relatively liberal British empire that encouraged formation of a vast range of cultural associations, and many vernacular public cultures—newspapers, educational institutions, standardization of scripts and expression, and much more.
While these liberal institutions and freedoms initially aimed at incorporating elite groups within the wider orbit of empire, they were gradually embraced and claimed by larger groups and communities in the postcolonial states across South Asia.
Ideals of dignity and equality, along with strong cultural nationalism and majoritarian chauvinism, have slowly spread and taken root throughout South Asia.