This book is intended for a general readership and is utterly free of academic jargon. It is meant to be read by anyone wanting to understand what “nationalism” and “democracy” mean in the Indian context. It is essential reading for everyone worried about India’s future.
Partha Chatterjee has translated and edited a manuscript of mysterious origin which presents a completely new way of telling the history of Indian nationalism. Resolutely criticising the doctrines of Hindutva as well as pluralist secularism, the book examines ongoing debates over Indian civilisation. Making new connections, it provides a detailed and original account of how the present borders of India were defined by British colonial policy, the Partition of 1947, and the integration of the princely states as well as the French and Portuguese territories.
What is emphasised is not so much a state machinery inherited from colonial times but the moral foundation of a new republic based on the solidarity of different but equal formations of the people. After a trenchant analysis of current conflicts over religion, caste, class, gender, language, and region in India, the book proposes a new politics of revitalised federalism.
Partha Chatterjee has been internationally recognised as one of India’s foremost political theorists. Rooted in the intellectual milieu of Kolkata, he is also Professor of Anthropology and of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. His many books include A Princely Impostor? (2002), The Politics of the Governed (2004), and The Black Hole of Empire (2012). He has been a founding editor of Subaltern Studies, and is the editor of The Small Voice of History: The Collected Essays of Ranajit Guha (2009).