Guha starts analyzing the discursive methods of the Counter-Insurgency historiography. Since the title we are aware that the author emphasizes not the historical fact but History as speech. For him the Insurgency “was a motivated and conscious undertaking on the part of the rural masses”, but not a product of the casualty or an irrational reaction. The rebellions were motivated for the will of the oppressive classes. Yet this conscious received little attention. The omission of the will and reason on the participation of the rebellions is named as a Counter-Insurgency discourse*. This approach uses metaphors to describe the social movements of the oppressive class as part of the natural phenomena. In other words all these movements are just natural reactions of the circumstances. And even when it is necessary to include the “human factor” it is going to be presented as a manifestation of a “very low state of civilization and exemplified in ‘those periodical outburst of crime and lawlessness to which all wild tribes are subject’”. The rebellions are an instinctive reaction, and almost mechanic to physical conditions or as a passive reaction against an enemy.
“…[I]nsurgency is regarded as external to the peasant’s consciousness and Cause is made to stand in as a phantom surrogate for Reason, the logic of that consciousness”
To explain the reasons of this Counter-Insurgency approach Guha analyzes the material and the form of the speech. The corpus of historical writing of the insurgency in colonial India follows three types of discourses: primary, secondary, and tertiary. “Each of these is differentiated from the other two by the degree of its formal and/or acknowledged […] identification with an OFFICIAL point of view, by the measure of its DISTANCE from the event to which it refers, and by the RADIO OF THE DISTRIBUTIVE AND INTERROGATIVE components in its narrative.
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Guha’s analysis is a very important invitation for the critical reexamination of the History as a discourse from the dominant over the dominated. The author also shows some discursive strategies to create an effect of truth*, neutrality* and objectivity* in the historical material. One of the main elements to put attention is how the focalization of the facts change totally the perspective of the reader, and the most dangerous thing is that it creates a fake idea of the past as a static sphere of time. For example, if we read the Chronics of the Spanish and Portuguese of the century XV and XVI about the process of
the European re-identification of this continent, and the encounter between the European civilization with the civilization of this land we will have noted several discursive strategies that follows not a historical fact, but most of the time personal, institutional, or fictional discourses. And those old institutional, fictional, and euro-hegemonic discourses create by extension part of the disadvantageous idea of identity in several countries.