The insurrection of little selves : the crisis of secular-nationalism in India /
Aditya Nigam.
New Delhi : Oxford University Press, 2006.
x, 351 p. ; 22 cm.
0195676068, 9780195676068
More Details
New Delhi : Oxford University Press, 2006.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [328]-342) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-10-01:
Nigam (fellow, Center for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi) has produced a highly original and intriguing analysis of the rise and fall of secular-nationalism in India. The book begins with a critical review of the theoretical literature dealing with the concept of nationalism and traces the emergence of secular-nationalism as the dominant ideology in post-independence India. The idea of secular-nationalism, Nigam argues, was helped by a Hindu cultural ethos that enabled the Indian upper castes to dominate the country's polity. The dominance of secular-nationalism, however, began to unravel in the 1980s-90s due to the rise of identity politics, which the author characterizes as "the insurrection of little selves." The book reviews the nature of the Indian debate on the notion of secularism; analyses the different historical imaginations unleashed by colonialism, especially among Muslims and Dalits (depressed castes); and concludes that the homogenizing presumption of Indian nationalism was an impossible undertaking. While many may find Nigam's thesis debatable, the book will be of considerable interest to academics and graduate students interested in the nature of Indian identity. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, and faculty. S. A. Kochanek emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus
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Choice, October 2006
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Long Description
The book explores the crisis that secular-nationalism went through with the emergence of what is loosely called identity politics . With the rise of new political assertions on the one hand and sectarian tendencies on the other, the fundamentally Hindu assumptions of Nehruvian secular-nationalism were revealed. Its search for a homogeneous national culture has led it to produce the dominant culture as the norm and marginalize the minority. It also looks at the opportunism ofminority cultures and suggests this might be the result of nationalism, especially post-colonial. The book suggests that only by looking beyond the nation form in post-national directions can a modern political community be conceived of.
Table of Contents
Nationalism, democracy, and the postcolonial worldp. 36
Nation and infranationalisms secular-nationalism comes apartp. 85
Antinomies of secularism the Indian career of the conceptp. 139
The impossible nation the modern 'Indian' self in search of historyp. 176
Secularism, modernity, nation an epistemology of the Dalit critiquep. 222
Secularism the Marxist way 'high' theory and 'low' practicep. 258
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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