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A Biography of the Indian Nation, 1947-1997

Ranabir Samaddar (Author)
Synopsis What makes a nation a nation? A Biography of the Indian Nation contextualises this question in a uniquely new paradigm by concentrating on the post-colonial phase rather than the colonial period of Indian history in charting the evolution of Indian nationalism. It gives primacy to politics rather than concentrating merely on historicism and cultural analysis. As Professor Samaddar argues, it is only with the assumption of state power that the nationalist journey in India can be said to have begun in earnest. He focuses on encounters between the Indian nation and its myriad ';constituents'—rebels, communities, citizens and aliens—as well as with democracy, both conceptually and practically. Beginning with a retrospective look at a critical event—the partitioning of India—through which an 'inadequate' nation became 'adequate', the first chapter examines the theme which underpins the entire volume : the forms and theatres of adjustment and readjustment central to the evolution of Indian nationhood. Revolutions, passive revolutions, and other defining tools of nationality—including territoriality, citizenship, federality, and war and peace—are thus located logically in the context of 'nationality'. The second and third chapters chronicle the attempts are rebellion, especially peasant and student rebellions, and their subsequent defeat, while the fourth looks at the twin jeopardies of caste and communalism and the nation's attempt to tackle them. The next chapter deals with India's elections as an account of a nation legitimised, while Professor Samaddar argues in the sixth chapter that the recognition of the nation's two subjects—the citizen and the alien—as well as of the notion of borders and of transborder flows is integral to defining a theory of citizenship. In the seventh chapter, the autobiographies of three women are used to demonstrate how domesticity becomes crucial for a nation to become complete by arranging the public space within nationalist politics operates. The last chapter deals with war without which, the author demonstrates, no nation can become a nation. The volume offers elegant and lucid analysis of a complex and dynamic process, delineating a theory of Indian nationalism that is not only unique in its approach but exhaustive in its scope. Essential reading for theorists and scholars in the fields of political science, history, sociology and governance, this book by an erudite and sensitive scholar will also be of considerable interest to the lay reader.
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About the author

Ranabir Samaddar

Ranabir Samaddar, Director of the Peace Studies Programme at the South Asian Forum for Human Rights, Kathmandu, was formerly Professor of South Asian Studies, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata. He is the author of a three volume study of post-colonial nationalism in South Asia, Whose Asia is it Anyway: Nation and the Region in South Asia (1996), The Marginal Nation: Transborder Migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal (1999) and A Biography of the Indian Nation, 1947-97 (2001), and of Memory, Identity, Power: Politics in the Jungle Mahals, 1890-1950 (1997), an account of the politics of community formation in the Jharkhand region.

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Bibliographic information

Title A Biography of the Indian Nation, 1947-1997
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0761995196
length 340p., Bibliography; Index; 21cm.