This book looks at movements of communities which formed the lower and middle rungs of society in medieval and early colonial India. It presents migration, mobility and memories from a specifically Indian perspective, breaking away from previous Eurocentric studies. The essays in the volume focus on labour, peasant and craft migrations, and in fleshing out the causes and trajectories taken by these communities, they speak to each other by addressing similar issues as well as documenting varying responses to analogous situations.
A fascinating history of migrations of `people from below', the volume adopts a trans-disciplinary approach and uses inscriptions, official records, and literary texts along with community narratives and folk tradition. This will be of great interest to scholars and students of migration and diaspora studies, medieval and modern South Asian history, social anthropology and subaltern studies.
Vijaya Ramaswamy is Professor of Ancient Indian History and Chairperson, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She teaches Indian economic history, religion and society, and is also interested in Tamil folklore and women's studies. She is the author of Textiles and Weavers in Medieval South India (1985); Divinity and Deviance: Women in Virasaivism (1996); Walking Naked: Women, Society, Spirituality in South India (1997); The Historical Dictionary of the Tamils (2007); Textiles and Weavers in South India (2007); The A to Z of the Tamils (2010); and The Song of the Loom (2013). Her edited books include Re-searching Indian Women (2003) and Devotion and Dissent in Indian History (2014). She has also co-edited (with Yogesh Sharma) Biography as History: Indian Perspectives (2009).