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

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The Icon of Mother in Late Colonial North India

In the metaphor of nationalism, it is the female body and the many faces of 'mother' - motherland, mother tongue, motherhood - have served as the most universal and potent symbols of imagining the nation. The symbol of mother was especially effective because it could take on different meanings in different contexts. This paper examines how and why the metaphor of mother was used in multiple fields in late colonial north India, with a special focus on the UP. Hindu publicists of UP particularly worked the icon of the mother into narratives of nation, language and cow, thereby sharpening the contours of community identity.

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