The Nation as Mother and Other Visions of Nationhood

History matters in contemporary debates on nationalism,' Sugata Bosecontends in The Nation as Mother. In this interconnected set of deeplyresearched and powerfully argued essays and speeches Bose explores therelationship between nation, reason and religion in Indian political thought andpractice. Offering a subtle interpretation of the ways of imagining the nation asmother, the book illuminates different visions of India as a free and flexiblefederal union that have acquired renewed salience today.Breaking out of the false dichotomy between secular nationalism and religiouscommunalism, the author provides incisive analyses of the political legacies ofTagore and Gandhi, Nehru and Bose, Aurobindo and Jinnah and a range ofother thinkers and leaders of the anti-colonial movement. The essays questionassumptions about any necessary contradiction between cosmopolitanism andpatriotism and the tendency among religious majoritarians and secularists aliketo confuse uniformity with unity. The speeches in Parliament draw on a richhistorical repertoire to offer valuable lessons in political ethics.In arguing against the dangers of an intolerant religious majoritarianism, thisbook makes a case for concepts of layered and shared sovereignty that mightenable an overarching sense of Indian nationhood to coexist with multipleidentities of the country's diverse populace. The Nation as Mother delves intohistory on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of freedom to evoke analternative future of a new India based on cultural intimacy among its differentcommunities.


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