|India: State, history and self Endnotes|
An expanded version of this essay can be found in Vinay Lal (ed.), Dissenting Knowledges, Open Futures: The Multiple Selves and Strange Destinations of Ashis Nandy (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), to be published this autumn.
1. Ashis Nandy, ‘Sati: A Nineteenth Century Tale of Women, Violence and Protest’, At the Edge of Psychology: Essays on Politics and Culture (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1980), pp. 1-31; and ‘Satyajit Ray’s Secret Guide to Exquisite Murders’, in The Savage Freud and Other Essays in Possible and Retrievable Selves (New Delhi: Oxford University Press and Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), pp. 237-66.
2. So that even today, remembering the Mogul culture remains a way of going ethnic that the heritage of the Raj defines as elegant, authentic and safe. This is another way of reading Mukul Kesavan’s work on the ‘Islamicate’ frame of Indian popular cinema. Mukul Kesavan, ‘Urdu, Awadh and the Tawaif: The Islamicate Roots of the Hindi Cinema’, Zoa Hasan (Ed.), Forging Identities: Gender, Communities and the State (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1994), pp. 244-58.
3. Bernard S. Cohn, ‘Representing Authority in Victorian India’, in An Anthropologist Among Historians and Other Essays (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 632-82.
4. The best known effort along these lines is Deviprasad Chattopadhyay, Lokayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism (New Delhi: People’s Publishing House, 1959).
5. Shan Mohammad (Ed.), Writings and Speeches of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (Bombay: Nachiketa, 1972). I have in mind particularly those comments of Sir Syed which reek of contempt for ‘people of low rank’ and ‘humble origin’ (see, e.g, ibid., p. 208).
6. Ashis Nandy, ‘History’s Forgotten Doubles’, History and Theory, 1995, Theme Issue 34: World Historians and their Critics, pp. 44-66.
7. See Vinay Lal, ‘The Discourse of History and the Crisis at Ayodhya: Reflections on the Production of Knowledge, Freedom and the Future of India’, Emergence, 1993-94, (5/6), pp. 4-44.
8. Ayesha Jalal, ‘Conjuring Pakistan: History as Official Imagining’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 1995, 27, pp. 73-89.
9. Some of these links have been acknowledged by historian Dipesh Chakravarty, though he may not be that uncomfortable with history’s love affair with secularism, development and modern science. Dipesh Chakravarty, ‘History as Critique and Critique of History’, Economic and Political Weekly, September 14, 1991, pp. 2262-8.
10. For instance, Rabindranath Tagore, Nationalism (1917; reprint, Madras: Macmillan, 1985).
11. This is not merely a South Asian disease. Any Afro-Asian scholar who has read the ethnophobic, crypto-racist histories produced in Europe and North America by some of the most respected figures in contemporary radical thought — from H. G. Wells to E. Hobsbawm — will immediately know what I am saying. In all these works, ‘agency’, social creativity and transformative politics are monopolised by the north. H. G. Wells, A Short History of the World (1922; London: Pelican, 1965); E. Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991 (New Delhi: Viking, 1995).
12. Post-modernism, whatever its other merits or demerits, can be read as the formalisation of this awareness and, thus, as a successful attempt to locate the world capital of dissent in the West by appropriating available non-western critiques of the West.
13. Ashis Nandy, ‘A Report on the Present State of Health of the Gods and Goddesses in South Asia’, Manushi, 1997.
Ashis Nandy, political psychologist and social theorist, is a Fellow of the
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi