Liberalism at Large: Mazzini and Nineteenth-century Indian Thought

C. A. Bayly

in Giuseppe Mazzini and the Globalization of Democratic Nationalism, 1830-1920

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780197264317
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734472 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Liberalism at Large: Mazzini and Nineteenth-century Indian Thought

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This chapter considers the appropriation and deployment of the writings and image of Giuseppe Mazzini by the first generation of Indian liberal nationalists, notably the Bengali political leader Surendranath Banerjea. Mazzini's emphasis on the sympathetic union of the Italian people, manifested in popular festivals, proved attractive to Indian leaders struggling with issues of cultural and religious difference. His modernist appeal to the ‘religion of mankind’ resonated with writers and publicists committed to lauding the great Indian civilization of the past, yet arguing, publicly at least, for a break with ritual and caste hierarchy. Mazzini's emphasis on education, particularly women's education, and his suspicion of monarchy also spoke to Indian social and political reformers of this era. The chapter concludes by contrasting the affective, democratic nationalism espoused by Mazzini and Banerjea with ‘statistical liberalism’. The latter comprised the emerging critique of colonial rule, by writers such as Dadabhai Naoroji who reformulated contemporary political economy, to argue for protectionism and industrial development in India.

Keywords: Indian liberal nationalists; Surendranath Banerjea; religion of mankind; education; monarchy; democratic nationalism

Chapter.  8781 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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