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Last edited by bgimpertBot
April 16, 2010 | History
Cover of: The illegitimacy of nationalism by Ashis Nandy

The illegitimacy of nationalism
Ashis Nandy.

Published by Oxford University Press in Delhi, New York .
Written in English.

About the Book

Nandy, Ashis. The Illegitimacy of Nationalism: Rabindranath Tagore and the Politics of Self. Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1994.
Summary: In this book, one of India’s (some might say, of the world’s) most eminent intellectuals sets out to examine the anti-nationalist thinking of a "dissenter among dissenters," the Nobel Prize-winning Bengali poet, novelist, and moral figure, whom Gandhi called gurudev, "great teacher": Rabindranath Tagore (b. 1861—d. 1941).

This double dissidence calls for elucidation. According to Nandy, in the golden age of the Indian freedom movement, many of the leading actors in that movement had become ambivalent about nationalism, associating it with the rapine and violence of colonialism. Most of these antinationalist freedom-activists believed that nationalism was a premodern artifact that would melt into air as soon as the principles of the Enlightenment were embraced. But a small band, Nandy contends, saw nationalism as being rather the inevitable by-product of modernity, and wanted nothing to do with the homogeneous universalism that was proffered as a solution to the problem. "Their alternative," he says, "was a distinctive civilizational concept of universalism embedded in the tolerance encoded in various traditional ways of life in a highly diverse, plural society" (xi). Nandy sees Rabindranath Tagore as being one of the proponents of this heterogeneous approach to modernity and the pathologies of nationalism.

The essay "explores, mainly through an analysis of the three explicitly political novels Tagore wrote, the political passions and philosophical awareness which pushed him towards a dissident concept of national ideology" (3). In Chapter One, "The Ideology," Nandy positions Tagore as the high-culture modernist (who was nonetheless a sharp critic of modernity) to Gandhi’s low-culture antimodernist (who nonetheless found much between the cracks of the modernity monolith that was worth celebrating). He then discusses the main thrust of Tagore’s 1917 book, Nationalism. In Chapter Two, "The Novels," Nandy reads Char Adhyay (Four Chapters), Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World), and the celebrated Gora, moving from the political-sociological concerns of the first, to the political-ethical concerns of the second, to the political-psychological concerns of the third. In Chapter Three, "The Lives," Nandy examines Tagore’s complex relationship with the Bengali revolutionary nationalist Brahmabandhab Upadhyay. The conclusion considers how Tagore could celebrate the mother-nation in his imaginative literature, and at the same time be a committed opponent of nationalism. [Tom Donahue]Nandy, Ashis. The Illegitimacy of Nationalism: Rabindranath Tagore and the Politics of Self. Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1994.
Summary: In this book, one of India’s (some might say, of the world’s) most eminent intellectuals sets out to examine the anti-nationalist thinking of a "dissenter among dissenters," the Nobel Prize-winning Bengali poet, novelist, and moral figure, whom Gandhi called gurudev, "great teacher": Rabindranath Tagore (b. 1861—d. 1941).

This double dissidence calls for elucidation. According to Nandy, in the golden age of the Indian freedom movement, many of the leading actors in that movement had become ambivalent about nationalism, associating it with the rapine and violence of colonialism. Most of these antinationalist freedom-activists believed that nationalism was a premodern artifact that would melt into air as soon as the principles of the Enlightenment were embraced. But a small band, Nandy contends, saw nationalism as being rather the inevitable by-product of modernity, and wanted nothing to do with the homogeneous universalism that was proffered as a solution to the problem. "Their alternative," he says, "was a distinctive civilizational concept of universalism embedded in the tolerance encoded in various traditional ways of life in a highly diverse, plural society" (xi). Nandy sees Rabindranath Tagore as being one of the proponents of this heterogeneous approach to modernity and the pathologies of nationalism.

The essay "explores, mainly through an analysis of the three explicitly political novels Tagore wrote, the political passions and philosophical awareness which pushed him towards a dissident concept of national ideology" (3). In Chapter One, "The Ideology," Nandy positions Tagore as the high-culture modernist (who was nonetheless a sharp critic of modernity) to Gandhi’s low-culture antimodernist (who nonetheless found much between the cracks of the modernity monolith that was worth celebrating). He then discusses the main thrust of Tagore’s 1917 book, Nationalism. In Chapter Two, "The Novels," Nandy reads Char Adhyay (Four Chapters), Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World), and the celebrated Gora, moving from the political-sociological concerns of the first, to the political-ethical concerns of the second, to the political-psychological concerns of the third. In Chapter Three, "The Lives," Nandy examines Tagore’s complex relationship with the Bengali revolutionary nationalist Brahmabandhab Upadhyay. The conclusion considers how Tagore could celebrate the mother-nation in his imaginative literature, and at the same time be a committed opponent of nationalism. [Tom Donahue]

Edition Notes

Includes index.

Classifications

Library of Congress PK1727.P66 N36 1994

The Physical Object

Pagination xii, 94 p. ;
Number of pages 94

ID Numbers

Open Library OL1254693M
ISBN 10 0195632982
LC Control Number 94904677
Goodreads 506755

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History Created April 1, 2008 · 5 revisions
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April 16, 2010 Edited by bgimpertBot Added goodreads ID.
April 13, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Linked existing covers to the edition.
December 11, 2009 Edited by WorkBot link works
August 1, 2009 Edited by Ashoka Edited without comment.
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Initial record created, from Scriblio MARC record.