Manan Ahmed Asif
Harvard University Press, November 2020
A field-changing history explains how the subcontinent lost its political identity as the home of all religions and emerged as India, the land of the Hindus.
Did South Asia have a shared regional identity prior to the arrival of Europeans in the late fifteenth century? This is a subject of heated debate in scholarly circles and contemporary political discourse. Manan Ahmed Asif argues that Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Republic of India share a common political ancestry: they are all part of a region whose
people understand themselves as Hindustani. Asif describes the idea of Hindustan, as reflected in the work of native historians from roughly 1000 CE to 1900 CE, and how that idea went missing.
This makes for a radical interpretation of how India came to its contemporary political identity. Asif argues that a European understanding of India as Hindu has replaced an earlier, native understanding of India as Hindustan, a home for all faiths. Turning to the subcontinent’s medieval past, Asif uncovers a rich network of historians of Hindustan who imagined, studied, and shaped their kings, cities, and societies. Asif closely examines the most complete idea of Hindustan, elaborated by the early seventeenth century Deccan historian Firishta. His monumental work, Tarikh-i Firishta, became a major source for European philosophers and historians, such as Voltaire, Kant, Hegel, and Gibbon during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Yet Firishta’s notions of Hindustan were lost and replaced by a different idea of India that we inhabit today.
The Loss of Hindustan reveals the intellectual pathways that dispensed with multicultural Hindustan and created a religiously partitioned world of today.
IN THE MEDIA
- Author Panel Discussion [Video]: “The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India“, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University, January 29, 2021
- Author Interview [Podcast]: “Decolonization And the Loss of Hindustan-Manan Ahmed Asif”, The Pakistan Experience, January 29, 2021
- Author Interview [Video]: “Manan Ahmed Asif on the Loss of Hindustan-The Invention of India“, Live History India, January 16, 2021
- Author Interview [Video]: “The Loss of Hindustan, The Invention of India: Rana Safvi in Conversation with Prof. Manan Ahmed Asif”, Karwaan: The Heritage Exploration Initiative, January 10, 2021
- Author Interview [Podcast]: “Mana Ahmed Asif ‘The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India'”, Radio.com, January 6, 2021
- Author Q&A: “Manan Ahmed Asif On ‘The Loss of Hindustan’ And How Colonialism Altered Our Past”, Scroll.in, December 12, 2020
- Author Lecture [Video]: “Manan Ahmed: The Loss of Hindustan”, Center for South Asian Studies, November 12, 2020
- Book Review: “The Erosion and Erasure of the Idea of Hindustan”, The Wire, April 2, 2021
- Book Review: “How The Invention of ‘India’ Eroded The Idea of Hindustan”, Live Mint, January 10, 2021
- Book Review: “‘The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India’ Review: Land of Many Histories” The Hindu, December 20, 2020
- Book Review: “HT Reviewer Maaz Bin Bilal Picks His Best Reads of 2020”, Hindustan Times, December 19, 2020
- Book Review: “The Loss of Hindustan-Manan Ahmed Asif”, VUKASIN, December 1, 2020