The Persianate genre of the tazkira, or biographical compendium, typically concerns poets and Sufi saints, but a different approach is taken in Yadgar-e Rozgar, published in 1931 by Sayyid Badr al-Hasan, an aristocrat and honorary magistrate from Patna. Hasan focuses on the ordinary people—landlords and courtesans, doctors and bakers, lawyers and counterfeiters—who made up Patna’s social world as the city transformed from a provincial town into the capital of a new province. While many Patnaites celebrated these changes, Hasan was deeply ambivalent about the dilemmas of colonial modernity. He struggled to reconcile modernist ideals with his sense that older ways were essential to Patna’s cohesion and distinctiveness. As he worriedly put it, ‘Asian breeding’ had been replaced by a fickle disregard for social norms, as ‘nationality’ increasingly gave way to ‘fashionality’.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science