Nomadic Narratives: A History of Mobility and Identity in the Great Indian Desert

The Thar, which is today divided by an international boundary, has historically been a frontier region connecting Punjab, Multan, Sindh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. This book looks at the desert as a historical region shaped through the mobility of its inhabitants; warriors, pastoralists, traders, ascetics and bards, often in overlapping capacities. It challenges the frames of Mughal-Rajput relationships generally employed to explore the histories of the Thar, arguing that Rajputana remains an inadequate category to explore polities located in this frontier region, where along with Rajputs, a range of groups like Charans, Bhils, Meenas, Soomras and Pathans controlled circulation, and with whom the Rajput states had to constantly negotiate. Sifting through a wide range of Rajasthani written and oral narratives, travelogues of British administrators, and vernacular as well as English records, the book explores long term relationships between mobility, martiality, memory and identity in the desert expanses of the Thar.

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