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The Insurrection of Little SelvesThe Crisis of Secular Nationalism in India$
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Aditya Nigam

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195676068

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195676068.001.0001

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The Impossible Nation

The Impossible Nation

The Modern ‘Indian’ Self in Search of History

(p.176) 4 The Impossible Nation
The Insurrection of Little Selves

Aditya Nigam

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores different historical imaginations that arose in the wake of the discovery of the self in India during the late colonial period. It looks specifically at certain imaginations of community and history among the Dalits and the Muslims, and argues that the project of Indian nationhood and nationalism was an impossible one because it was impossible to have one common history. The point the chapter is trying to make is not that there was no shared cultural ground between Hindus and Muslims, but that it did not comprise the entire arena of intercommunity relations. Finally, through a reading of the Gandhi-Ambedkar-Savarkar relationship, the book focuses on the experience of the previously enslaved populations who found a liberator in colonialism.

Keywords:   India, self, Dalits, Muslims, Hindus, history, nationhood, nationalism, Ambedkar, Gandhi

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