ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Satadru SenSubscribe to Satadru Sen

States That Might Have Been

Different Nationalisms: Bengal, 1905–1947 by Semanti Ghosh, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017; pp xiv + 425, ₹995.

Lives of Convicts

Subaltern Lives: Biographies of Colonialism in the Indian Ocean World, 1790-1920 by Clare Anderson; Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2012; pp xii + 210, Rs 995.

Benoy Kumar Sarkar and Japan

This article examines the tension between cosmopolitanism and ressentiment nationalism (i e, the nationalism of existential envy) in the work of Benoy Kumar Sarkar, the pre-eminent Indian social scientist of the decades before Independence. A prolific writer about India's place in the world and the nature of interstate relations, Sarkar was (and is) widely considered an "internationalist" and anti-imperialist. By focusing on Sarkar's fundamentally ambivalent outlook on the rise of a powerful Japan, this article argues that his internationalism and anti-imperialism were both compromised by a particular historical location, which had to do with the gendered concerns of the Indian nationalist elite, and his infatuation with a model of nationhood and power indebted to right-wing European ideologies and political developments.

On the Beach in the Andaman Islands: Post-mortem of a Failed Colony

The short history of the first British-Indian colony in the Andaman Islands, established in 1789 and abandoned in 1796, shows that European settler colonialism at the time had not resolved the contradictions generated by native settlers. The place of aborigines in the political space of the settlement was further unresolved. The newcomers in the Andamans spent six years on a literal and conceptual beach: the limited space between the ship and the jungle. Not knowing how to integrate the Andamanese into the ideology of their intrusion, and unable to sustain the vision of a permanent civilisation in the islands, they fell into a state of panic and dispersed. This paper argues that the failed settlement represented a conceptual and logistical limit of the late 18th century imaginary of the offshore colony.

Border of Insanity

The real reasons why people are being pushed back and forth between India and Bangladesh today, with barely an audible word of protest, have to do with our fundamentally warped conception of Indian citizenship. There is an urgent need to visit the question of just who an `illegal alien' is in India, and whether the concept should be applied in the peculiar context of a south Asian nation-state.

Goodbye to Non-Alignment and All That

The national interest, if defined narrowly, does not make for very good foreign policy. It might make sense, here and now, to try to enlist America on the Indian side of the dispute over Kashmir and to celebrate the turn of events in Afghanistan as a vindication of India's own support for the 'Northern Alliance'. In the long term, however, it demonstrates a shocking combination of strategic myopia and cynicism.

Pleasures of Outrage

The attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon triggered more pleasure than pain in America. At the immediate level the pain belonged to the dead and the injured and their loved ones; the pain was felt also by those who looked on with empathy. There was also the pain, or rather the shock and dismay, of cruelly exposed vulnerabilities in the national manhood. But shock and dismay soon turned into rage and this anger, it is argued here, is intensely enjoyable.
Back to Top