The Nation as Mother: and Other Visions of Nationhood

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Penguin Random House India Private Limited, Aug 23, 2017 - Political Science - 272 pages
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History matters in contemporary debates on nationalism,' Sugata Bose contends in The Nation as Mother. In this interconnected set of deeply researched and powerfully argued essays and speeches Bose explores the relationship between nation, reason and religion in Indian political thought and practice. Offering a subtle interpretation of the ways of imagining the nation as mother, the book illuminates different visions of India as a free and flexible federal union that have acquired renewed salience today. Breaking out of the false dichotomy between secular nationalism and religious communalism, the author provides incisive analyses of the political legacies of Tagore and Gandhi, Nehru and Bose, Aurobindo and Jinnah, and a range of other thinkers and leaders of the anti-colonial movement. The essays question assumptions about any necessary contradiction between cosmopolitanism and patriotism and the tendency among religious majoritarians and secularists alike to confuse uniformity with unity. The speeches in Parliament draw on a rich historical repertoire to offer valuable lessons in political ethics. In arguing against the dangers of an intolerant religious majoritarianism, this book makes a case for concepts of layered and shared sovereignty that might enable an overarching sense of Indian nationhood to coexist with multiple identities of the country's diverse populace. The Nation as Mother delves into history on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of freedom to evoke an alternative future of a new India based on cultural intimacy among its different communities.

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About the author (2017)

Sugata Bose is the Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University. He has served as director of graduate studies in history at Harvard and as the founding director of Harvard’s South Asia Institute. Prior to taking up the Gardiner Chair at Harvard in 2001, Bose was a fellow of St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge, and professor of history and diplomacy at Tufts University. Bose was educated at Presidency College, Calcutta, and the University of Cambridge where he obtained his PhD. His scholarship has contributed to a deeper understanding of colonial and postcolonial political economy, the relation between rural and urban domains, interregional arenas of travel, trade and imagination across the Indian Ocean, and Indian ethical discourses, political philosophy and economic thought. His many books include the much-acclaimed A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire and His Majesty’s Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle against Empire.

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