22 September 2023

The Political Life of Memory - Birsa Munda in Contemporary India

How do affective sites such as memorials and statues produce political visions, emotions, and opportunities? And how are they used strategically to further particular political projects? In this episode, we discuss these questions with Rahul Ranjan with specific reference to his new book The Political Life of Memory: Birsa Munda in Contemporary India (Cambridge UP, 2023). The book engages these issues by examining representations of Birsa Munda’s political life and the making of anticolonialism in contemporary Jharkhand. By highlighting contrasting features of political imaginations deployed in developing memorial landscapes, Ranjan shows how both the state and Adivasi use memory as a political tool to lay claims to the past of the Birsa Movement.

Rahul Ranjan is an interdisciplinary scholar with a key interest in environmental anthropology and humanities, political ecology and social justice. He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway.

Kenneth Bo Nielsen is an Associate Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and one of the leaders of the Norwegian Network for Asian Studies.

The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, and Asianettverket at the University of Oslo.

We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.