Chapter

Nationalisms in India

Sumit Sarkar

in India and the British Empire

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199259885
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744587 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199259885.003.0006

Series: Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series

Nationalisms in India

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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This is an exploration of the many meanings and forms of anti-colonial nationalisms in South Asia as well as of several distinctive historiographical approaches to such politics: Cambridge School, Subaltern Studies, post-colonial, left- and right-wing definitions. Within each category of writings, it probes into shifts, phases, and variations. It then looks at the formation of diverse identities among modern Indians and their relationship with nationalisms of different kinds. In particular, the essay explores how cultural production tried to resolve the contradictions among multiple and contentious political identities in search of a broad unity among all Indians, even if in the process, it confirmed more particularistic identities based on caste, religion, and gender. It argues that identities remained complex and unstable, mutually animating even as they were mutually exclusive. Finally, it looks at other genres of history writing that go beyond the colonial/colonized binary and focus on labouring classes, ‘low’ castes, and gender relationships against the broad backdrop of an overarching nationalism. It seeks to understand where nationalism may be relocated among this welter of identities and political action.

Keywords: Indian nationalism; Muslim separatism; Hindu right-wing; left politics; gender; caste; identity formation

Chapter.  12897 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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