The Impossible Nation

Aditya Nigam

in The Insurrection of Little Selves

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195676068
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081752 | DOI:
The Impossible Nation

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This chapter explores different historical imaginations that arose in the wake of the discovery of the self in India during the late colonial period. It looks specifically at certain imaginations of community and history among the Dalits and the Muslims, and argues that the project of Indian nationhood and nationalism was an impossible one because it was impossible to have one common history. The point the chapter is trying to make is not that there was no shared cultural ground between Hindus and Muslims, but that it did not comprise the entire arena of intercommunity relations. Finally, through a reading of the Gandhi-Ambedkar-Savarkar relationship, the book focuses on the experience of the previously enslaved populations who found a liberator in colonialism.

Keywords: India; self; Dalits; Muslims; Hindus; history; nationhood; nationalism; Ambedkar; Gandhi

Chapter.  19975 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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