The “new time” of modernity-as the German term for “modernity,” “Neuzeit,” suggests-represents a new kind of temporality and sense of rupture with the past.1

The essays in this volume address time and the representation of the past, and their transformation in the early modern period, engaging with both pre-colonial and colonial understandings of time and the past in South Asia.2 In this, the essays join a rich literature that has developed in recent years on historical representation in the subcontinent. Such work can explicate the inadequacy, identified by Dipesh Chakrabarty, of European-derived discourses in describing and explaining political modernity in South Asia. This allows a fuller account of the intellectual traditions of South Asia that are often eschewed in favor of European formations of knowledge and understandings of the “modern,” with attention to the institutions and disciplines which shaped their creation, reproduction, and sometimes fractured continuation through the colonial period.3