Posted on: 28 January 2013

New Book:
Dissenters and Mavericks: Writings about India in English, 1765-2000
By Margery Sabin
Published by Oxford University Press - 2002

- Proposes a controversial challenge to prevailing academic methodology in the field of postcolonial studies

- Presents both colonial English and twentieth-century Indian writers and texts

- Avoids academic jargon to make its historical and literary interpretations accessible to a wide range of readers

Dissenters and Mavericks ambitiously reinstates individual authors at the centre of its inquiry into the complex relationship between literature and history. Offering fresh and provocative interpretations of both well-known and unfamiliar texts, the book joins what is still a tentative movement to open postcolonial studies to the competing values traditionally associated with literary criticism, where the exceptional matters as much as the typical, and analysis seeks to identify the distinctive qualities of thought and language in particular writers. Without proposing an honour roll of heroic dissenters, Margery Sabin discloses the presence of more skeptical questioning and more variety of thought and expression in the record of writing in English about India than the prevailing categories of postcolonial analysis register.

After an introduction that explores the tension in methods and values between so-called "discourse analysis" and literary criticism, Sabin proceeds to eight chapters about writers who achieve a measure of freedom from the orthodoxies and stereotypes of their diverse, historical moments. Sabin chooses materials from a variety of genres, including letters, political oratory, memoirs, novels, journalism, and travel writing. Many English voices circulate in the first half of the book: Horace Walpole and Edmund Burke in the eighteenth century, Wilkie Collins in the nineteenth, along with lesser-known colonial historians and administrators. Part two features the Indian writers Nirad Chaudhuri, V. S. Naipaul, and Pankaj Mishra, along with lesser-known journalists, novelists, and other Indian intellectuals. Dissenters and Mavericks reinvigorates the interdisciplinary study of literature, history, and politics through an approach to reading that allows the voices heard in writing a chance to talk back, to exert pressure on the presuppositions and preferences of a wide range of readers.

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This picture is on the cover of a book called Tipus Tigers by Suzane Stronge

This image was the inspiration for Daljit Nagra's (fascinatingly titled) recent book Tippoo Sultan's Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger Toy‑Machine

The picture on the cover is a mechanical toy and was created for Tipu Sultan with the organ keyboard visible. This was crafted to fire Tipu's hatred for the EIC and the British presence. The tiger here devours an East India Company troop, as the hand of the troop moves with a wailing cry and the tiger grunts.The musical organ is visible from the other side of the tiger. Displayed at the London Museum.

If I'm not mistaken, this Tiger Toy Machine is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

GREAT Tiger Toy!!!

Tipu's Tiger was the first ever Indian object exported to Britain for public display, placed among the "Oriental Repositories" at East India House. The guidebooks of London listed the object among the city's attractions, to which visitors could walk up and crank the mechanism to life. Poet John Keats was one among them. With this object began the British propaganda of India being ruled by the savage and despotic, who thought nothing of feeding their men to beasts. It promoted the need for the company to take up responsibilities of a ruler, a stance that had attracted opposition until Richard Wellesley set in motion his impromptu acts of conquests, the most famous one being the downfall of Tipu. It is now on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum. They even built an iPad app around it. Maya Jasanoff's "Edge of Empire" offers an account of the plunder of prize objects at Seringapatam and their use in furthering imperial propaganda.

...' Tipu's Tiger ' is currently NOT on display at the V & A - the reason being : It is slowly falling to pieces and is proving very difficult to restore ...

yes, Teepu Sultan's Logo