A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF PROVINCIAL AND GRASS ROOT PERSPECTIVES IN COLONIAL PUNJAB (1849-1947)
Scholarship on the history of colonial Punjab may be categorized into provincial and grass root perspectives. The scholars such as Ian Talbot, David Gilmartin, Imran Ali, Murid Ullah Mukherjee and Tan Tai Yong primarily focused on archival data to study colonial Punjab history. While the grassroots perspective is elaborated by scholar Tahir Mahmood who uses district level records to engage historical debates about colonial Punjab. These scholars and their perspectives are although different in their approach and methodology however they have provided additional insights about the history of colonial Punjab without challenging each other altogether. The stream of scholarship in provincial perspectives is further divided into ameliorative and critical approaches, the former present the benefits of British Raj to the Punjabis and the latter describe the negative aspects of British Raj in India. This paper focuses on how these provincial perspectives on socio-economic transformation, political control, army recruitment compares with the grassroots level work of Tahir Mahmood on colonial Punjab which in fact enrich the provincial level perspective after engaging complex historical process and structural dynamics working at the local level. Both the macro–level view provided by of provincial perspective and the micro-level studies of grassroots perspective are indispensable to comprehend the different dynamics of colonial Punjab.
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