The Imaginary Institution of India

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-04-15
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr

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Sudipta Kaviraj is India's best-kept secret. For decades he has worked to build a portrait of the country's social and political life through its own diverse history and culture, working with and improving upon Marxist and subaltern studies. While widely celebrated in his home country, Kaviraj's essays have remained largely untranslated and scattered in obscure journals. This collection finally makes his work available to English-speaking audiences, and in doing so reasserts the brilliance of his theoretical approach.As evidenced in these essays, Kaviraj's exceptional technique positions Indian politics within the political philosophy of the West and alongside perspectives from Indian history and indigenous political thought. Selections include studies on the peculiar nature of Indian democracy; the specific aspects of Jawaharlal Nehru's and Indira Ghandi's regimes; political culture in independent India; the construction of colonial power; the relationship between state, society, and discourse in India; the structure of nationalist discourse; language and identity formation in Indian contexts; the link between development and democracy or democratic functioning; and the interactions among religion, politics, and modernity in South Asia. Each of these essays explores the place of politics in the social life of modern India and is powered by the idea that Indian politics is plastic, reflecting and shaping the social world in which people live.

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