By exploring the mutual entanglement of the scientifically mapped image of India and a (Hindu) mother/goddess, Sumathi Ramaswamy reveals Mother India as a figure who relies on the British colonial mapped image of her dominion to distinguish her from the other goddesses of India, and to guarantee her novel status as embodiment, sign, and symbol of national territory. Providing an exemplary critique of ideologies of gender and the science of cartography, Ramaswamy demonstrates that images do not merely reflect history; they actively make it. In The Goddess and the Nation, she teaches us about pictorial ways of learning the form of the nation, of how to live with it—and ultimately to die for it.
Sumathi Ramaswamy is Professor of History at Duke University. She is the author of Lost Land of Lemuria: Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories and Passions of the Tongue: Language Devotion in Tamil India and the editor of Beyond Appearances? Visual Practices and Ideologies in Modern India.
Through the lens of modern practices, the essays in this volume engage with diverse issues, including state-making practices, knowledge production and its politics, history writing, colonialism, role of capital, institutions, changing locations of orality and modernity, production and reception of texts, performances and literatures, social change and memory, violence and gender relations, along with their wider historical, geographical and ideational mappings. In the process, they illustrate how the specificities of the region can become useful sites to interrogate global phenomena and processes — for instance, in what ways ideas and practices of modernity played an important role in framing the region and its people. Further, the volume underlines the complex ways in which the past came to be imagined, produced and contested in the region.
With its blend of inter-disciplinary approach, analytical models and perspectives, this book will be useful to scholars, researchers and general readers interested in North East India and those working on history, frontiers and borderlands, gender, cultural studies and literature.
Using idolatry as a concept-metaphor, the book traverses an ambitious path through the works of William Jones, James Mill, Friedrich Max Müller, John Ruskin, Alice Perrin, E. M. Forster, Rammohan Roy and Bankimchandra Chatterjee. It reveals how religion and paganism, history and literature, Oriental thought and Western metaphysics, and social reform and education were unfolded and debated by them. The author underlines how idolatry, irrationality and social disorder came to be linked by discourses informed by Enlightenment, missionary rhetoric and colonial reason.
This book will appeal to scholars and researchers in history, anthropology, literature, culture studies, philosophy, religion, sociology and South Asian studies as well as anyone interested in colonial studies and histories of the Enlightenment.
Drawing on a range of historical sources – from recorded oral traditions and village histories to contemporary Adivasi self-narratives – the volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of modern Indian history, sociology and social anthropology, tribal and indigenous studies and politics.
Using the example of postcolonial societies and their political evolution, particularly communities within India, Chatterjee undermines the certainty of liberal democratic theory in favor of a realist view of its achievements and limitations. Rather than push an alternative theory, Chatterjee works solely within the realm of critique, proving political difference is not always evidence of philosophical and cultural backwardness outside of the West. Resisting all prejudices and preformed judgments, he deploys his trademark, genre-bending, provocative analysis to upend the assumptions of postcolonial studies, comparative history, and the common claims of contemporary politics.