Altered Destinations: Self, Society, and Nation in India
addresses the complex interrelations of state, nation and identity in India through the medium of culture, and compellingly reframes the debate in the context of the Gandhian concept of swaraj. Engaging with Gandhi’s classic text 'Hind Swaraj', (written in 1909), which envisioned an entirely new form of identity and governance in India in opposition with the colonial past, Paranjape extends the discussion on swaraj by addressing the field of culture to see how ideas of autonomy, selfhood, and cultural independence have been expressed, depicted and studied.
The idea of an Indian nation has often been unclear or difficult to understand. A nation, Paranjape suggests, is also a destination,
a goal, an objective, with a built in teleology and an ultimate aim. Many forget what the destination of India is. They think it is economic or social advancement, freedom, democracy, justice, and so on. These words, while being indicative of the directive principles set forth in the Preamble of the Constitution still do not express the underlying purpose for which this nation was imagined into being. This is where the indigenous concept of swaraj comes into its own. Simultaneously encapsulating autonomy, empowerment, dignity, selfhood, it focuses on not just rights, but responsibilities and commitments to one another and to our highest selves as well.
The fight for swaraj, no doubt, does not end with political independence, but must go on until every single citizen feels free of oppression and injustice. That is why swaraj is also tied up with ideas of identity and selfhood. Especially in beleaguered or endangered languages, swaraj in literary texts means the preservation or assertion of cultural identities. All told, cultural swaraj can be a fertile field of inquiry and discussion. In Paranjape’s analysis swaraj becomes a struggle for intellectual freedom and autonomy, and an attempt to resist both Western and Indian forms of colonization or domination.
- Table of Contents - full table of contents
1. Self, Society and Nation: Indian Notions of Responsibility
2. 1857: The Religious Roots of Indian Anti-Imperialism
3. Indian Alternations: Aurobindo, Ambedkar and After
4. Interrogating Indian Post-Nationalism: Culture, Citizenship and Global Futures
5. Hindi Hain Hum: An Account of a Vibhashi’s Romance with the National Language
6. The Case for Sanskrit as India’s National Language
7. National Education? Problems and Prospects
8. Regaining the Indian Eye
9. Secularism vs. Hindu Nationalism: Interrogating the Terms of the Debate
10. Plurality, Tolerance and Religious Conflict in India
11. Towards a Common Future? An Indo-Pakistani Story
12. The Availability of Mahatma Gandhi: Towards a Neo-Gandhian Praxis