Marathi voices, Portuguese words, Brahman’s pen (and thoughts). On fragments of peninsular India in a colonial archive
This article seeks to disassemble the colonial archive by exploring the complexity of a particular kind of source material, namely texts which are the tangible and enduring outcome of intense processes of cross-fertilization of European and South Asian authors, writing practices, and cultural codes. We focus on the early modern Portuguese Estado da Índia and invite reflec- tion regarding a paper trail from the mid-eighteenth century related to the Maratha-Portuguese conflict. The essay looks at a small but intriguing corpus of documents largely mediated by a certain Bahuguna Kamath, a Saraswat Brahman who worked for the Portuguese as interpreter and translator in their capital city of Goa. At the core of this set of texts, and of the article itself, we place a complex and multilayered manuscript piece penned in the Portuguese language by Bahuguna in 1739, titled Memória da Campanha da Raya.