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Dr Shaibal Gupta Delivers 29th GB Pant Memorial Lecture


Dr Shaibal Gupta delivered 29th GB Pant Memorial Lecture at GB Pant Social Science Institute on September 10, 2014 on the topic Idea of the Hindi Heartland. In his lecture, Dr Gupta deliberated on various themes and issues of the Hindi Heartland. His main arguments included the thought that in the recent period the identity of the Hindi Heartland has come to the centre stage. This lecture explores the essential construct of the identity of the Hindi Heartland in social, cultural and economic context in the historical frame-work. Why the Hindi Heartland remained insular and archaic in spite of a robust libertarian history? While other presidency towns surged towards modernization and western education, the Hindi Heartland developed resistance to it. Over the years, Banaras became the cultural capital of the Hindi Heartland. How Benaras acquired the preeminent position in this region? The triad of Brahmin, Bania and the Maharaja unfolded the cultural, linguistic and religious construction of Banaras. This powerful combination established the hegemony in the Hindi Heartland. This social trajectory was completely different from the social movement of south and western India. Even Bengal unfolded a different script. A talk about the Hindi Heartland cannot be complete without looking into the linguistic dimension of this identity. Over and above, the Hindi Heartland not only had a retarded track-record of development, the authority of the state was also limited. In contrast, plethora of Princely Estates had a better record in terms of governance. The tenurial system and the character of the peasant movement also contributed to the Idea of the Hindi Heartland.    

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