All nationalism involves some historical sleight of hand, in choosing what to include and what to exclude while constructing a narrative of the nation’s past, and a shape of its essential identity.
- Gandhi advocated sincere fellow-feeling, the capacity to suffer for and with someone else, without self-congratulation, as the quality that makes anyone a real Hindu.
- Armed conflicts, civilians debased by both terrorist groups and dictatorial governments, a worrying repression of dissent and waves of populism and racism experiencing a staggering rise
- “Swaraj literally means ‘selfrule’: it joins together the idea of the self and the idea of sovereignty, rule, or mastery. Swaraj was used most in the late nineteenth century and throughout the first half of the twentieth century to indicate the major political project that Indians were engaged in, through a number of anticolonial, nationalist movements and other kinds of political responses to the fact of British rule and British empire. Most histories of Indian nationalism or of India during that period tell the story of how India became politically independent and how it succeeded in ending British rule. But I couldn’t find any good narrative about the search for the ‘Self’, which is the “Swa” in the first half of Swaraj.” That is why Ananya Vajpeyi, Kluge Fellow at the The John W. Kluge Center of The Library of Congress in Washington D.C., has selected five key figures of India’s modern thought, politics and culture – Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru, B.R. Ambedkar and Abanindranath Tagore – to understand how they tried to find values and norms that could be set up as the scaffolding for a future India. We interviewed her during the Venice-Delhi Seminars 2012, held at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice. Ananya Vajpeyi is the author of Righteous Republic. The Political Foundations of Modern India, Harvard University Press, 2012 Interview by Nicola Missaglia Videomaker: Ruben Lagattolla More about Venice-Delhi Seminars here Discover the September 2013 Issue of Seminar magazine, with contributions from the Venice-Delhi Seminars 2012
- How the Jamaat-e-Islami developed and transformed itself within the boundaries of a modern pluralistic democracy, the Indian democracy, is the subject Irfan Ahmed has devoted his research to. To write this book, Irfan Ahmad conducted extensive fieldwork in several small Muslim towns near Delhi, and he describes the gradual process of change and openness, following in particular the development within Jamaat’s universities and their student organisations SIMI and SIO.