“Postal” Discontents

A Ground Report on the Anthropology of Knowledge in India


  • Makarand Paranjape JNU




How to produce meaningful knowledge about ourselves in India? I got interested in this problem over twenty years back. This paper is an account of that experience. The issue of what constitutes valid knowledge about India, The problem is that an official critique of the dominant, such as post-modernism embodies, carries with it many of the oppressive vestiges of what it seeks to overturn. A genuine alternative might emerge for us in India only by fracturing the authority of this overriding Euro-American discourse itself. But if one departs from the dominant discourse, one’s position is generally not accepted as acceptable knowledge. This, then, remains our conundrum: if you say it their way you are co-opted; if you say it differently, it is not considered knowledge. A situated re-examination of this discursive tangle exposes the continuing challenges inherent in producing meaningful knowledge even in our present context. This is as it should be because the central crisis at the heart of modernity itself is, arguably, the crisis of knowledge. Therefore, we must re-articulate our personal and civilisational aspirations in alternate languages, even if these are not at once accorded recognition or legitimacy.




How to Cite

Paranjape, M. (2018). “Postal” Discontents: A Ground Report on the Anthropology of Knowledge in India. American Journal of Indic Studies, 1(1), 39–55. https://doi.org/10.12794/journals.ind.vol1iss1pp39-55