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Hybridity: Fluid Bridge of History

Naved Farooqui

By Ranjit Hoskote and Ilija Trojanow
Yoda Press, Delhi, 2012, pp. 215, Rs. 295.00


In Season 6 of the Game of Thrones, an American epic fantasy television drama series, an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, one of the characters Lord Baelish poignantly remarks, The realm You know what the realm is? Its a thousand blades of Aegons enemies, A story we agreed to tell each other over and over till we forget it was a lie   Replace the word Realm with Civilization and we are closer to the view that is espoused by Ranjit Hoskote and Ilija Trojanow in a remarkable book titled, Confluences: Forgotten Histories From East and West.   Perfectly poised under hybridity, the book locates the formation of culture at the brink of civilizations and resurrects histories that have been forgotten. The authors locate culture formation in the tributaries that lead up to the ocean that have been forgotten in the annals of a particular kind of history or as they call it, the great river.   But do not be mistaken.The book is not merely about highlighting the formation of culture via hybridity. It uses hybridity to ward off the evil arguments of identity politics and gears the intellect with the armour to be free. To be free of identity as promoted by the neo-culture we are presently located in. It gives us the perspective to fight off the naturalization that our education system or the lack of it, the polity, the society, promotes. Urging us at every step to fight the thought and the passions whipped ‘in the name of difference’.   To quote from Ranjit and Ilija, ‘by the time cultural achievements become sufficiently established in public consciousness as to be taught in school, the turmoil of their evolution has been forgotten. The confluences of every culture are concealed, and homogenizing foundational myths are installed in its place.’   One of the things which the book succinctly is able to do is to arm intellectuals against the fight against homogenization, particular strands of globalization and especially identity politics.   It is a delight to be reading the book and searing with anger and pleasure at the same time. Pleasure to have your perspective shifted and armed, anger for it having been naturalized to have fallen into the trappings of a euro-centric history and worldview, amongst other things. At multiple levels the authors have been able to debunk several myths and narratives ...

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