South Asia is replete with literary traditions and scribes. This legacy stretching back to centuries old processes of literary activities came to be documented more cogently during the course of the twentieth century amidst a sweeping wave of academic professionalization that transformed both the tradition and criticism surrounding the production of South Asian literature.
Seventy years on, various intellectual disciplines have emerged with their own methodologies, tools and concepts to make sense of the region, its past, present and future. Generally, the scholarship on South Asia is dispersed across several fields and disciplines – history, law, political science, international relations, public policy, sociology, anthropology and economics. Though instructive, individually, we are seemingly indisposed when pondering what these particular studies say about the region writ large. It becomes difficult to make judgments on the region from our own intellectual milieus. Moreover, disciplinary preoccupations and constraints often preclude scholars and writers from asking big questions while fostering intellectual insularity.
We can begin to ascertain and survey the state of South Asia through a collective platform that features and critically scrutinises scholarship on the region. A critical eye serves as a boon. Gaps are easier to locate. Connections and patterns can be traced and probed clearing the way to uncover the genealogy of historical legacies, including colonialism, that have brought about political, socio-economic and institutional change in the subcontinent. Sharpening the historical lens to examine this change, in fact, outlines the astonishing interdependence between historical thought and contemporary political and social realities. If anything, South Asian polities are riven by the conflicts and tensions wrought by both colonialism and globalisation.
The goal of Lekh is to become a hub for writers, scholars and practitioners interested in and working on issues relevant to contemporary South Asia. We aim to highlight, spark, and facilitate discussions on key issues confronting the region through books. We hope to make contributions on salient books through scholars and scholarship themselves.
We do not operate from predetermined notions of what South Asia is or has been represented as till now. It is vital to leave that to the books. Instead, the driving purpose of this platform is to unearth new voices and breed perspectives that are and have been constrained by disciplinary, seemingly political, lenses.
What we propose is difficult, but not impossible. Join and engage with us on this journey.