Community, Empire and Migration: South Asians in Diaspora

Community, Empire and Migration: South Asians in Diaspora

Community, Empire and Migration: South Asians in Diaspora

Community, Empire and Migration: South Asians in Diaspora

Excerpt

But are we not all refugees from something? ... I was learning that human history is always a story of someone's diaspora: a struggle between those who repel, expel or curtail - possess, divide and rule - and those who keep the flame alive from night to night, mouth to mouth, enlarging the world with each flick of a tongue.

(Romesh Gunesekera, Reef )

'Communalism' is a term used in India, but invented by colonial rulers in the nineteenth century, to refer to the use and manipulation of religious and/or ethnic differences for 'political' ends antithetical to the national (or colonial) interest. It is related to, but very different from, the idea of 'community'. The solidarity of communities, at a local level, has been an important feature of Indian society since ancient times (Stein 1998). 'Communalism' however is predicated upon a non‐ local concept of community which developed, largely through political processes, in the late colonial period. Arguably, the rise of 'communalism' was partly a reaction to the undermining of older, more local communities by rapid economic and social change. During the period of colonial occupation alternative outlets for popular unease and discontent included the Indian nationalist movement, but the division of this movement into Muslim, Hindu, Brahmin, non-Brahmin and other fractions, encouraged by the colonial power for strategic reasons, became a hallmark of Indian politics and social life in the late colonial period, leading ultimately to Partition in 1947.

The secularist consensus established in the early years after independence for a while promised a new future for India, which became known . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.