ASIA 262: Nation, Film and Novel in Modern India
This course starts from the premise that popular conceptions of the Indian nation are not so much essential truths, but relatively recent ideas which grew out of specific historical circumstances. Although imported and adapted from western Europe during the colonial period, nationalism has had its own character and unique development in the Indian subcontinent. Beginning in the colonial period, some have envisioned and glorified the Indian nation as a great mother, if not a goddess—an idea anathema to many non-Hindus. How did the phenomenon of “Mother India” come about? In what other competing ways has the Indian nation been conceptualized? How have representations of India’s past (via myth and history) been manipulated for ideological or political purposes? In examining these questions, we will have recourse to representations of the Indian nation in fiction and film, produced both during the colonial period and after independence. Theoretical readings on nationalism will also be consulted. Some of the themes under discussion will be the Rebellion of 1857, the independence movement, the Hindi language movement, Partition, and communal violence. LA, GL.