The Discovery of Aryavarta: Hindu nationalism and Early Indian Fiction in English

Tickell, Alex (2005). The Discovery of Aryavarta: Hindu nationalism and Early Indian Fiction in English. In: Tickell, Alex and Morey, Peter eds. Alternative Indias: Writing, Nation and Communalism. Cross Cultures Readings in Post/Colonial Literatures in English (82). Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp. 25–52.



In his magisterial, historically layered vision of Indian identity, The Discovery of India(1946), the third in a "complex triptych" of works which "synthesize personal life-writing, political memoir and public history," Jawaharlal Nehru describes Hindu nationalism as an undeniable but redundant part of the nation's ideological maturing. It was, he state, "a natural growth from the soil of India, but inevitably it comes in the way fo the larger nationalism which rises above differences of religion or creed." As Gyandendra Pandey argues, for nationalists such as Nehru, caught up in the momentous anticolonial struggle of the 1920s and 1930s, "communalism appeared as a great political threat, the most obvious source of danger for the advancing cause of nationalism." The answer, for India's future Prime Minister, was to advocate a progressive "refurbished" nationalism that focused on shared histories and ethnic syncretism, a counter-version of political identity that would become India's grand narrative in the immediate post-Independence period.

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