History as Memory: Alexander in South Asian Demotic Literature and Popular Media

In: Asian Review of World Histories
Syed Ejaz Hussain Department of History, Visva-Bharati University Santiniketan India

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The diversity and range of existing archives on the history and romance of Alexander have projected on him a multiplicity of images. Alexander’s conquests, military achievements, romance, myths, and legends have fascinated writers, scholars, historians, poets, filmmakers, the media, and designers of websites around the world. His invasion of India in 326 BCE left an indelible influence on Indian art, history, and literature. The present essay takes up a theme on which not much work has been done in modern scholarship. It focuses on the nature and diversity of the historical memory of Alexander in modern South Asia, particularly as reflected in modern Urdu and Hindi, the two major languages of the subcontinent. It also examines how Alexander is portrayed in popular culture and India’s nationalist discourse.

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