Author: Partha Chatterjee
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195651561
This omnibus comprises three of Partha Chatterjee's finest works and marks a significant phase in the intellectual journey of one of India's foremost political scientists.
The common thread that unites the three books is the principal object of study which is the existing nation-state. The first 'Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World' traces the 'ideological history' of the Indian nation-state from its conception to its fruition. To the author, the 'end of the story', I.e. the birth of the nation-state, was what was known and needed to be problematized. The second work, 'The Nation and Its Fragments, through a series of interventions in different disciplinary fields, converged upon the same object - the Indian nation-state as it had developed after four decades of its post-colonial career. The last, 'A Possible India' is a more strategic and contingent, and hence more actively political, engagement with the object of analysis - namely, the present career and crisis of the Indian nation-state.
'Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World' first published in 1986, has attained the status of a classic. In this significant book, the author criticizes Western theories of Third World nationalism - both liberal and Marxist, demonstrating how Western concepts of nationalism have imposed themselves on non-Western peoples. He shows, in the context of India, how nationalism remained dominated by the very structure of power it sought to repudiate.
Carrying his argument further in 'The Nation and Its Fragments' ,m Chatterjee points out that scholars have been mistaken in looking for nationalism only in the political domain of the state. He shows how the nationalists sought to create a new 'nationalist' modernity around the institution of language, religion, literature, art, education and the family.
In 'A Possible India, using a variety of stylistic genres - essays, commentaries, book reviews, journal entries - a panoptic view of long term changes in the overall system as well as close and detailed observations of fifty years of Indian politics since independence is offered. The book's concern is to develop a perspective on democracy in India, not in the clichT-ridden sense of government of, by and for the people, but as the politics of the governed.
Taken together, all three books investigate the relation between rulers and peoples within the imagined-into-reality framework of the Indian nation. Written in an engaging and original style, this collection is invaluable for all those interested in the ideas and politics of colonialism and postcolonialism.
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS:
'Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World'
Brilliant, globally learned, uncompromising, lucid. Required reading for any one interested in the history, theory, and politics of nationalism. - - Gayatri Spivak
An important book, lucidly written from a critical Marxist perspective. - - Economic and Political Weekly
'The Nation and Its Fragments'
It is a work of magisterial erudition, the product of a mind working at the fullest command of its critical powers . . It is written with deft authority, in a prose that is as elegant as it is passionate. - - Amitav Ghosh in The Telegraph
Lay readers with a taste for relevant, lucidly argued social theory will find it a treat, while academics will surely recognize it as a significant event in contemporary cultural criticism. - - The Hindu
'A Possible India'
A rather unusual collection of very different kinds of writings by Chatterjee written over twenty-one years. - - Biblio
Is informed by a sense of optimism, of not only patriotic faith in the Indian people but also a realistic assessment of the weaknesses and strengths of India as a nation. - - The Pioneer
NATIONALIST THOUGHT AND THE COLONIAL WORLD:
A DERIVATIVE DISCOURSE?
Nationalism as a Problem in the History of Political Ideas
The Thematic and the Problematic
The Moment of Departure: Culture and Power in the thought of Bankimchandra
The Moment of Manoeuvre: Gandhi and the Critique of Civil Society
The Moment of Arrival: Nehru and the Passive Revolution
The Cunning of Reason
THE NATION AND ITS FRAGMENTS: COLONIAL AND POSTCOLONIAL HISTORIES
Preface and Acknowledgments
Whose Imagined Community?
The Colonial State
The Nationalist Elite
The Nation and Its Pasts
Histories and Nations
The Nation and Its Women
Women and the Nation
The Nation and Its Peasants
The Nation and Its Outcasts
The National State
Communities and the Nation
A POSSIBLE INDIA: ESSAYS IN POLITICAL CRITICISM
The Indian Big Bourgeoisie:
Comprador or National?
The Nehru Era
Indian Democracy and Bourgeois Reaction
Nineteen Seventy Seven
Charan Singh’s Politics
Some New elements in India’s Parliamentary Democracy
Indira Gandhi: The Final Year
The Writing on the Wall
Rajiv’s Regime: The Rise
The Politics of Appropriation
Rajiv’s Regime: The Fall
The National Front and After
The Centre Crumbles
Secularism and Toleration
Talking about Our Modernity in Two Languages