V.30: No.9-10 September-October 2002 #352-353

Introduction, p. 1

"Crisis Before the Fall: Some Speculations on the Decline of the Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals," Rohan D'souza , p. 3

"Florence Nightingale and Bombay Presidency," Mridula Ramanna, p. 31

"Locating the Bihar Constabulary, 1920-22: An Exploration into the Margins of Resistance," Lata Singh, p. 47

"The Cinematic 'Discovery of India': Mehboob's Re-invention of the Nation in Mother India," Brigitte Schulze, p. 72

p.88. Meena Bhargava's review titled "Architecture and Study of History" of Monica Juneja (ed.), Architecture in Medieval India: Forms, Contexts, Histories, South Asian History: Readings and Interpretations, Permanent Black, New Delhi, 2001, Rs. 1095, pp. xv + 640

p. 92. Jayati Srivastava's review titled "Labour and Globalisation" of two books
1) Frans J Schuurman, ed. Globalisation and Development Studies: Challenges of the 21s Century, New Delhi Vistaar, 2001, pp212
2) Christopher Candland and Rudra Sil, eds., The Politics of Labour in a Global Age: Continuity and Change in Late-industralising and Post-socialist Economies, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001, pp353.

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This issue of the Social Scientist brings to its readers contributions related to on-going research. Rohan D'Souza's article examines aspects related to the decline of the Ottoman, Safavid and the Mughal empires, through a comparative perspective. Besides noting some commonalties associated with the way they operated with similar property, administrative mechanisms and institutions of rule, he delineates how a crisis haunted them when 'their main instrument of coercion i.e. cavalry warfare' became outmoded. Advocating primacy to this aspect, he acknowledges other features such as demographic pressure, climatic factors and the price revolution of the seventeenth, which hastened the pace of the decline.

Mridula Ramanna examines the history of public health in the Bombay Presidency on the basis of a critical evaluation of the role of Florence Nightingale. Besides, examining sectors like sanitation (that included village sanitation) and nursing schemes taken up by Nightingale, Ramanna highlights her role in voicing diverse health concerns of colonial Bombay Presidency at the International Congress on Hygiene and Demography, 1891. Nevertheless, as pointed out, certain contradictions remained in her method, which accepted colonialism as a 'given' fact. Lata Singh's contribution explores the margins of resistance associated with the Non Co-operation Movement in Bihar. She cautions us about the need to look beyond simplistic categorisations that locate subordinate sections of the constabulary only as an agency of the colonial state. Focusing on their struggles and conflicts with the colonial order, Singh delineates how this was conditioned by the specificities of the problems affecting them and the anti-colonial movement sweeping Bihar during the Non Co-operation Movement.

Brigitte Schulze looks at the problems associated with the establishment of the genre of 'national cinema', with India becoming


free in 1947. She focuses on Mahboob Khan's 'Mother India' and the way it created a major cinematic myth - that of the widespread effectiveness of 'Nehruvian socialism'. She critiques the way the film projects Indian womanhood, that is equated with sacrifice and suffering. In this manner, the author argues that 'Mother India' marks a rather regressive nationalist resolution of the 'woman question', wherein it not only failed to confront patriarchy but also accepted and strengthened many of the negative 'givens' of Indian society.

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