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

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Tristão Bragança Cunha and Nationalism in Colonial Goa

Unlike other Indian nationalists, the Goan nationalist Tristão Bragança Cunha did not attempt to create a monolithic nationalist formation, he celebrated hybridisation instead. Bragança was involved in detaching the idea of the Indian nation from Indological traits, but was also caught up in stressing Goa’s cultural affinity with India and went on to impose India on Goa. The strategy may seem contradictory when viewed through the prism of a standard view of nationalism, it does, however, constitute a crucial position through which the Catholic nationalists in Goa were coming to terms with self-representation. Brought up as a Catholic and entangled in an identity crisis, Bragança Cunha was a precursor of the postcolonial theorists who later developed the sophisticated arguments of the “mimic man.” By examining the life and work of Bragança Cunha, this article analyses a type of nationalism that emerged against the background of Portuguese colonialism, a nationalism that challenges the singularity of nationalist imaginations.

I am grateful to Alito Siqueira and Margaret Frenz for incisive readings of earlier drafts. I have also benefi ted from the valuable comments of an anonymous referee. Any remaining errors must, of course, be credited to me.

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