Hindu Wife, Hindu Nation: Community, Religion, and Cultural Nationalism

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What are the major Hindu ideas and traditions of India that have shaped dominant conceptions of womanhood, domesticity, wifeliness, and mothering, and of India as a “Hindu” ... nation? Tanika Sarkar analyzes literary and social traditions, the elite voices and popular culture that helped create the lived reality of north India today. She explores the proto-nationalist novels of Bankimchandra Chattopadhyaya as well as scandal literature, rumors, women’s memoirs, and the popular press of colonial times for the “subaltern” ideas that have shaped contemporary India. Sarkar also examines the way earlier Indian religious traditions of saintliness, sacrifice, heroism, and warfare are being subverted or transformed by militant and fundamentalist forms of Hinduism. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Analyzing literary and social traditions, elite voices, and popular culture, Tanika Sarkar examines Hindu ideas and the creation of dominant conceptions of womanhood and nationhood in northern India. She explores proto-nationalist novels, scandal literature, rumors, women's memoirs, and the popular press of colonial times for what they reveal about the subaltern ideas that have shaped contemporary India. She concludes with a detailed examination of how earlier Indian religious traditions of saintliness, sacrifice, heroism, and warfare have been subverted or transformed by militant and fundamentalist forms of Hinduism.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Asian Studies

"An important book that recasts existing debates on nationalism... will be of interest to a wide range of scholars of colonialism and nationalism." —Journal of Asian Studies

Interventions

"A definitive and incisive piece of research." —Interventions

Asian Affairs

"Tanika Sarkar uses an innovative brush to depict the development of Hindu cultural nationalism in 19-century India.... She brilliantly illuminates three classic incidents... which then become pivot points in her essays, enabling the reader to go beyond an ordinary understanding of social reality, particularly gender identity, in late 19th-century Bengal." —Asian Affairs

Journal of Anthropological Theory

"Brought together, these essays on Hindu cultural nationalism speak to each other... an important contribution." —Journal of Anthropological Theory

H-Net

"Contribute[s] to an important set of scholarly debates over the relationship between imperialism, patriarchy, and nationalism in late 19th-century colonial India." —H-Net

Dipesh Chakrabarty

"First-rate... pathbreaking historical research... [combined with] a vigorous critique of the theoretical turns that South Asian Studies have recently taken under the influence of Subaltern Studies and postcolonial criticism. This is no dry-as-dust history." —Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago

From the Publisher
"Brought together, these essays on Hindu cultural nationalism speak to each other... an important contribution." —Journal of Anthropological Theory

"An important book that recasts existing debates on nationalism... will be of interest to a wide range of scholars of colonialism and nationalism." —Journal of Asian Studies

"Contribute[s] to an important set of scholarly debates over the relationship between imperialism, patriarchy, and nationalism in late 19th-century colonial India." —H-Net

"First-rate... pathbreaking historical research... [combined with] a vigorous critique of the theoretical turns that South Asian Studies have recently taken under the influence of Subaltern Studies and postcolonial criticism. This is no dry-as-dust history." —Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago

"A definitive and incisive piece of research." —Interventions

"Tanika Sarkar uses an innovative brush to depict the development of Hindu cultural nationalism in 19-century India.... She brilliantly illuminates three classic incidents... which then become pivot points in her essays, enabling the reader to go beyond an ordinary understanding of social reality, particularly gender identity, in late 19th-century Bengal." —Asian Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253222091
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 11/8/2010
  • Pages: 298
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Tanika Sarkar is Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is editor (with Sumit Sarkar) of Women and Social Reform in Modern India (IUP, 2008) and editor (with Urvashi Butalia) of Women and Right-Wing Movements.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Hindu Wife, Hindu Nation 23

Domesticity and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Bengal

2 Talking About Scandals 53

Religion, Law and Love in Late Nineteenth-Century Bengal

3 A Book of Her Own, A Life of Her Own 95

The Autobiography of a Nineteenth-Century Woman 95

4 Bankimchandra and the Impossibility of a Political Agenda 135

5 Imagining Hindu Rashtra 163

The Hindu and the Muslim in Bankimchandra's Writings

6 Conjugality and Hindu Nationalism 191

Resisting Colonial Reason and the Death of a Child-Wife

7 A Pre-History of Rights? The Age of Consent Debates in Colonial Bengal 226

8 Nationalist Iconography 250

The Image of Women in Nineteenth-Century Bengali Literature

9 Aspects of Contemporary Hindutva Theology 268

The Voice of Sadhvi Rithambhara

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