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The Felt Community: Commonalty and Mentality Before the Emergence of Indian Nationalism

Rajat Kanta Ray (Author)
Synopsis In this absorbing study of the prehistory of Indian nationalism, well-known historian Rajat Kanta Ray employs an approach that is novel in Indian historiography. Spanning a range of themes across many centuries, the author examines shared emotions and sentiments as bonds in the creation of a ‘felt community’ before the emergence of modern Indian nationalism. The author argues that the concept of nationhood, although defined by modernity, is nevertheless likely to be rooted in older feelings and ideas. Watershed events such as the uprising of 1857 and the wars that replaced the Mughal empire with British rule, along with the general evolution of subcontinental identity over centuries, engendered a common emotional experience that formed the psychic foundation of the later nationalist movement. The study explores the construction of religious and ethnic identities such as ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’, the notion of ‘Hindustan’, and the distinction between patriotism and nationalism—issues of renewed currency in the wake of recent communal tension. Based on a fascinating array of primary sources, Rajat Kanta Ray’s study is a major contribution to ongoing debates on the nature of nationalism. It will be read with great interest by students and scholars of Indian history and sociology, as well as general readers interested in a historical approach to the question of Indian national identity.
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About the author

Rajat Kanta Ray

Rajat Kanta Ray is a historian.  He has taught at the Presidency College of Kolkata for more than three decades.  At present, he is the Vice-Chancellor of Visca-Bharati.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Felt Community: Commonalty and Mentality Before the Emergence of Indian Nationalism
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2003
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195658639
length xiv+580p., Maps; 23cm.