BETWEEN THE FLUX AND FACTS OF INDIAN HISTORY: INTRODUCTION TO A TRIBUTE BY JOS GOMMANS* Most of the papers in this issue were originally presented during the farewell seminar for Dirk Kolff, retiring as professor of the History of Modern South Asia at Leiden University, which took place at Kolff’s Alma Mater on 8 October 2003. 1 As convenor I had invited the speakers to write their papers not only about something that would be close to Kolff’s versatile scholarship but also about something that could be connected to what was meant to be a fi tting theme for the occasion: ‘Social Dynamics in Mughal India: Su fi s, Warriors, Merchants and Peasants.’ This, I thought, would perfectly link up with Kolff’s own intimate engagement with the making of social and ethnic categories in medieval and early-modern India as revealed in his beautifully crafted and uni- versally acclaimed Naukar, Rajput and Sepoy: The Ethnohistory of the Military Labour Market in Hindustan, 1450-1850 (Cambridge, 1990). Although keeping to the fi rst part of the invitation, most contributors conveniently reduced the central theme to ‘Dynamics in India’: not all papers addressing the changing meaning of social categories, besides, one paper
Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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