Anindita Mukhopadhyay

in Behind The Mask

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780195680836
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080700 | DOI:

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The previous chapters examined the space between the political narrative of the nationalist movement centring on the drama of challenging the courts and jails, and the bhadralok understanding of the necessity of order within the society. The ideal form of the rule of law, as interpreted by the bhadralok, maintained cultural and social order within the society, and ensured the supremacy of the bhadralok as the class imbued with moral authority within it. The lower classes, the chhotolok, were seen as a potential threat to the maintenance of this order, steeped as they were in immorality and vice. They were to be legitimately held down by the rule of law, and thus kept in their ordained place in the social and moral hierarchy where the position of the bhadralok was supreme. As the ruling power did not distinguish between different social divisions, the bhadralok, as ‘subaltern’ elite, had to reinvent their ritually superior status through a more secular language.

Keywords: bhadralok; nationalist movement; rule of law; chhotolok; moral authority; social order

Chapter.  1988 words. 

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