Between Anthropology and History: The Entangled Lives of Jangarh Singh Shyam and Jagdish Swaminathan

  • Sandip K. Luis


The focus of this chapter is the relationship between Jagdish Swaminathan (1928–1994), a Tamil Brahmin artist-critic and institution builder, and Jangarh Singh Shyam (early 1960s to 2001), a Gond Adivasi artist often said to have been ‘discovered’ by the former. To make this relation thinkable, the chapter introduces a historiographical distinction between primitivism and indigenism, referring to different ways by which the subaltern is addressed in history (as extension of primordial population and contemporary individual respectively). Taking the collapse of the Nehruvian system in general (mid-1960s to mid-1970s) and the Emergency in India (1975–1977) in particular, as the historical threshold between these two regimes of governmentality, the chapter also tries to expose the larger nihilistic and even self-destructive schemata within which Shyam and Swaminathan operated (of which the most extreme manifestation could be seen in Shyam’s alleged suicide in Japan).


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandip K. Luis
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.DelhiIndia
  2. 2.KochiIndia

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