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Gosh Julia Headgear Evelyn Hush Karl-Heinz Kramer Burma Kinds Peter Leer Kenneth McPherson Marie-TheReese tooled Christian Wagner Wolfgang-Peter Zinged An Interpretations Michael Collins INTRODUCTION What is needed is eagerness of heart for a fruitful communication between different cultures. Anything that prevents this is barbarism. Arbitrating Étagère, Rabin Archibald. 3 Arbitrating Étagère is often referred to as a nationalist poet] or a nationalist leaders]. This presents problems both historical and historiography, since by the 1 This paper was originally given at the South Asia Institute colloquium, university of Heidelberg on 6th November 2007. Indebted to all the responses and constructive criticisms offered that day, and in particular to Substrata K. Miter and Bernice Beaching. I would also like to thank David Westbrook of Trinity College, university of Cambridge, for his critical reading of this paper. Needless to say its remaining deficiencies are my responsibility alone. Michael Collins is Lecturer in 20th Century British History at CUL (opens weapon with contact details). 3 Arbitrating Étagère, Rabin Archibaldњ: Klan Seen Guppy, The Philosophy of Arbitrating Étagère (Alders: Seagate, 2005). P. 13. 4 The instances of this are numerous and widespread. In a 1990 essay on W. B. Yeats, Edward Said referred to Étagère as one of the great nationalist artists f disconsolation and revolutionary nationalismњ: a passing comment indicative of just how poorly represented Étagère has sometimes been in mainstream postcolonial writing.
See Edward Said, Yeats and Disconsolation’, in Frederic Jameson & Edward Said Terry Galleon (De. ), Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature (Minneapolis: university of Minnesota Press, 1990). P. 73. In Culture and Imperialism (1993), Said shifted his stance a little and acknowledged that many nationalists are sometimes more coercive or more intellectually self-critical than others, and argued that his own thesis as that, at its best, nationalist resistance to imperialism was always critical to itself[l.
Moreover, he wrote, an attentive reading of towering figures within the nationalist ranks – writers like C. L. R. James, HEIDELBERG PAPERS IN SOUTH ASIAN AND COMPARATIVE POLITICS http://www. SAA. Nun -Heidelberg. De/SAP LO/HAPPY. HTML Working Paper No. 42, October 2008 end of the first decade of the twentieth century Étagère had explicitly rejected nationalism. Even his prior ambivalence towards nationalism is disputed by some of those who knew him most intimately.
In a letter sent by Protestant Inhalations to Edward J. Thompson in 1 921 , Inhalations claims that Étagère never supported nationalism, not in any form or guise. Even at the height Of the Swedish movement he was protesting against some particular aspects. 5 The views of some of Étagèreњs contemporaries presented a different picture still, but one that lends support to Inhalations; interpretation.
Commenting on Étagère]s very public opposition of the philosophy and practice of incorporationњ, an editorial in the pages of the Calcutta newspaper Amanda Bazaar Patria on 19 August 1925 captures some of the flavor of the vehement criticism Étagère was subjected to. ЂћThe ludicrous opinions of the poet may appeal to those who live in a dream- worlds], the paper wrote, n but those who are grounded in the soil of this country and know of the realities will no doubt feel that the Poets useless labors are sad and pitiful. An article published in 1 928 by a Bengali Gandhi went further still: it will not be unjust to say that he (Étagère] is unfit to be a priest at the sacred sacrificial rites for freedom. 7 These discomforting judgments indicate why Étagère the anti-nationalist, anti-non- co-operator and critic of Gandhi is often ignored in favor of the more anodyne image of Étagère as Bengali cultural icon, patriotic author of Mar Shown Bangle and a representative of Indian cultural genius; universally recognized via his poetry and his Nobel Prize.
At the same time, Etageres legacy is further complicated by certain trends in Indian postcolonial historiography. Work emerging from the Subaltern Studies Collective has often put forward a more complex historical analysis, moving beyond a straightforward dichotomy between nationalism and anti-nationalism. In this version of Étagèreњs place in Indians past, he is simultaneously both inside ND outside: a Bengali intellectual deeply marked by his cosmopolitanism;, modernisms and other derivative tropes of western bourgeois intellectual and cultural life.
But in this mode of analysis, Étagère too often suffers from simplistic application of various Western classifications, for example as a romantic modernists]. 8 Neared, Étagère Fanons, Cabal, and others – discriminates among the various forces vying for ascendancy within the anti-imperialist, nationalist camps. See Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (London: Chatty & Windups, 1993). P. 264. But even this revised analysis is confusing. In terms of understanding more is lost than gained by Said lumping these thinkers together in the nationalist ranks, and suggest that this is especially so with regard to Étagère.
Such approaches – in which the author attempts to argue that Étagère was a subtle nationalist, or a liberal; nationalists are in some ways more damaging – precisely because they are more insidious – than the more crude assertions. Consider the following quote, which -? even when attempting to praise Étagère – misrepresents his position. In an article on Hans Seconds liberal nationalism, Ken Wolf claims that Cohn praised Étagère;s nationalism as one “of freedom and not of domination”, built on service to justice and truths.
This displays all the typical characteristics of an inattentive reading Of Etageres work which must be recognized as either patently incorrect or meme;inning the term nationalism] of any of its analytical value. Ken Wolf, ‘Hans John’s Liberal Nationalism: The Historian as Prophet’, journal of the History of Ideas, 37/4 (1976), p. 662. 5 Protestant Inhalations to E. J. Thompson, December, 1921: E. P. Thompson, illuminationњ: Arbitrating Étagère, Nationalism (London: Paperback, 1991). P. 12. 6 Sabbaticals Apothecary (De. , The Mahatma and the Poet: Letters and Debates between Gandhi and Étagère, 1915-1941 (New Delhi: National Book Trust India, 1997). P. 23. 7 Ibid. P. 22. 8 Part Chatterer, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World (London: Zed Books, 1993). Up. 99-100. Although not part of the Subaltern Studies collective, Harris Trending HEIDELBERG PAPERS IN SOUTH ASIAN AND One of the reasons that commentators on Étagère have felt it necessary to stress Étagèreњs intellectual debts to the West is the simple fact of his interactions with Western intellectuals.
His travels to the West and his numerous high profile Western friends appear to be evidence for some of an indelible mark upon the Etageres mind. Indeed, one biographer has gone so far as to assert that Étagère loved his country and his people, but made no secret of the fact that he admired the British character more than the Indian. This his compatriots never forgave him. For this history will honor him. Coming from a very different angle, Naira Chuddar has suggested that Étagère sought from the West the kind of recognition he was missing at home. 10 1 have argued in some detail elsewhere that such interpretations sis the seriousness of Étagère]s intentions. For example, Etageres voyage to London in 1 912 was neither casual nor accidental, nor did it derive from a desire for recognition as such. 11 The search for recognition may have been an incidental consideration in Etageres mind (which human being is immune from such emotions? , but there is an overwhelming body of evidence found in essays and letters published or sent prior to Testators departure that point towards a far grander, more theoretically interesting project of cultural communication that seeks to move beyond an imperial-national dichotomy. Subsequent work published by Étagère in English -? mostly published in The Modern Review and in book form by Macmillan – further develops a coherent Etageres position linking Indian history to a critique Of the modern ideology of nationalism.
This placed Étagère in an ambivalent, controversial position the British Empire: but one that is more nuanced than his many critics and interpreters have acknowledged. Significantly, and in contradistinction to those who have accentuated a derivative element of Étagèreњs thinking, Étagèreњs philosophical critique of nationalism was firmly rounded, above all else, in a critical reading of Indian traditions, particularly in evidence in Etageres deployment of his Brahms inheritance and the ideas of the Pinheads. What is perhaps most interesting is that, like Hegel, Étagère saw World History as the steady unfolding of an idea.
The marked distinction was that, unlike Hegel, he placed India at the centre of that process. In this regard, Étagère developed an alternative conception of modernity which saw the ideas, politics and technology of the West as only one aspect of a developing historical process, rather than its core movement. This not only challenges the spatial dimensions of modernity but also challenges us to think more critically about modernists[l and the kinds of categories we deploy to make sense of the modern and countermand]. Article Naturalism, Internationalism and Imperialism: Étagère On England and the West] displays similar tendencies, portraying Étagère (misleadingly) as a liberal humanist, and implying throughout forms of intellectual collaboration and derivation from Western influences. Harris Derived, ‘Nationalism, Internationalism and Imperialism: Étagère on England and the West’, in G. R. Tanana and Viand Seen (des. ), Literature East and west: Essays presented to R. K. Disgusts (New Delhi: Allied, 1995), Up. 163-1 76. 9 Krishna Ukrainian, Arbitrating Étagère: A Biography (Calcutta: Visa Bahrain, 1980). . 260. 10 CB. Naira C. Chuddar, ‘Étagère and the Nobel prize’, Illustrated Weekly, 11 March (1973). P. 1029, and Krishna Data and Andrew Robinson, Arbitrating Étagère: The Myriad-Minded Man (London: Bloomberg’, 1995). P. 161. 11 Michael Collins, ‘History and the Postcolonial: Arbitrating Étagèreњs Reception in London, 1912-1913’, The International Journal of the Humanities, Volvo. , No. 9 (2007), Up. 71-84. HEIDELBERG PAPERS IN SOUTH ASIAN AND COMPARATIVE POLITICS The Étagère-Gandhi debates become a crucial historical and textual source for an interpretation of Etageres thinking on nationalism.
The debates centered on the freedom struggle and Indians stance towards the West; and towards Britain as the colonial power. They point towards a complicated engagement with the West, its position in the world, its relationship to India and the political and intellectual influences that it had in India. These debates took place within a wider setting of Indian arguments about modernity, and in Étagèreњs case represent the fruition of years of intellectual struggle from Ram Noun through Defenestrate Étagère and Kebabs Chancre Seen. 2 But a particular focus on the Étagère-Gandhi debates is one that is not only historically but also historiography’s significant. This is so because there has been a tendency amongst some subalterns and factionalism’s to dismiss Étagère and to place him within categories which are both inappropriate and, ironically, derivative of Western terms of reference. This way of representing Étagère, deploying him as a heuristic device revealing the deed to provincialism Western influence, is indicative of a flawed postcolonial methodology that essentialist the West as a hypermedia category.
Étagère, in both theory and practice, stands as a counterweight to this trend. In order to recover the complexity of Etageres thought, and hence move beyond a binary taxonomy of n nationalists or liberal modernists, we need to return to Etageres own writings and the intellectual history of his debates with Gandhi. Hence this paper adopts a theoretical framework that allows the agency and intellectual contribution – derived from both textual ND biographical sources – of a figure such as Étagère to unsettle some of the predetermined and unhistorical categories deployed within the field of postcolonial studies.
WHAT IS ETAGERES ‘NATION’? Étagère was, it should never be forgotten, a poet first. Hence he followed the maxim: never opt for a straightforward definition when a simile will suffices. E. P. Thompson noted this tendency in his introduction to the 1991 edition Of Nationalism, and quoted his father, E. J. Thompson, as having rebuked Étagère over this point (no man should let himself be at the mercy of his similes). 13 But in fact, on the question of the nation, Étagère gives one of his clearer statements.
A nation, he says, is understood in the sense of the political and economic union of a peopleњ and is that aspect which a whole population assumes when organized for a mechanical purposes]. 14 Immediately we get a sense of Etageres strategic use of the term. For Étagère, a nation cannot be equated with ethnic[l, nor straightforwardly with a cultural or linguistic group. It may have been born out of – and still comprise – such phenomena, but for Étagère the nation is distinctively modern and exclusively Western. Its mechanical purpose; implicates an instrumental rationality in its political organizational form.
The nation is a force that is greater than the sum of its parts: it has a purpose, and this purposeful element is reified in the form of the state. Therefore, in Étagèreњs critique, the nation is always the nation- states]. 12 My Oxford D. Phil. Thesis – entitled Arbitrating Étagère and the West, 1912-1941 -? has a substantial chapter situating Étagère within Barbarism. Indeed the embeddings of Étagère – as opposed to a free floating cosmopolitanism, which he rejected – is crucial to my overall position. 13 E. P. Thompson, illuminationњ: Étagère, Nationalism. . 7. 14 Ibid. P. 51. Http://womb. SAA. Nun -Heidelberg. De/SAP LO/HAPPY. HTML working paper NO. 42, October 2008 This approach to the idea of the nation cuts across late twentieth century debates about the nature of nations and nationalism. If we think about the exchanges between two of the most significant scholars of nations and nationalism, Ernest Giggler and Anthony D. Smith, and feed inn a Etageres perspective, we would find Étagère (perhaps unexpectedly) agreeing, in some ensues, with Gleaners modernist understanding of the nation.
Smith’s emphasis on the importance of history, myths and memoriesњ15 for nations, thereby stressing their pre-modernity, would concur with what Étagère calls a peopleњ or peoples. Gigglerњs emphasis is on high politics and the ideology Of nationalism which creates nations[l, rather than pre-existing nations giving rise to nationalism. 16 This is precisely what Étagère sees as essential to nations, which are historically possible only within the context of specific aspects of Western modernity.
The characteristics of that particular modernity which gives rise to nations are the regulatory power of the state, combined with science, set within a wider framework of commercial and military competition between individual national units. 17 The value of the comparison with contemporary political theories of nations and nationalism is more than just incidental. It reminds us that Étagère[l’s perspective on the Western nation was that it belonged to a particular period in the West]s history, but it constituted neither a universal model nor a necessary path of convergence. State and society
Étagère;s contrast concepts, which helps us place his definition within the parameters of contemporary debates on nations and nationalism – as well as distinguish a distinctively Etageres position – is society. The nation is equated with the state as the organized self-interest of a whole people, where it is least human and least spirituals]. 18 The nation-state is a machinery of commerce and politics turn[inning] out neatly compressed bales of humanity which have their use and high market values]. 19 Society, by contrast, has no ulterior purposed, but is rather an end in itself.
In short, it is a spontaneous self expression of man as a social being. It is a natural regulation of human relationships, so that men can develop ideals of life in cooperation with one another. 20 Étagère replaces the ideology of nation with the idea of Swedish Assam, of social relations that are not mechanical and impersonal but based on love and cooperationњ. 21 The key characteristic of the modern Western nation is that it seeks to exercise power by regulating its populace (what Étagère would simply call the people;) and directing their collective energies towards externally oriented goals.
The nation-state, for Étagère, is an organizing system and a structure of power. This hardening method of national efficiency gains in strength, and at least for some limited period of time it proudly proves itself to be the fittest to survive but it is the survival Of that part of man which is the least living[1. 22 It produces efficiency but also monotony and sameness, such that Western modernity – for example as manifested in modern towns, which presents to us the physiognomy of this dominance of the nation -? 15 Anthony D.
Smith, ‘Nations and Their Pasts’, Nations and Nationalism, 2/3 (1996), p. 359. 6 Ernest Giggler, Thought and Change (London: Widened and Nicholson, 1964). P. 174. 17 Étagère, Nationalism. P. 51. 18 Ibid. P. 55. 19 Ibid. P. 49. 20 21 Seen Guppy, The Philosophy of Arbitrating Étagère. P. 50. 22 Arbitrating Étagère, ‘The Nation’, The Modern Review, 22/1 (1 917), p. 1. CB. Arbitrating Étagère, ‘Creative Unity’, in Sir Kumar Dash (De. ), The English Writings of Arbitrating Étagère: Volume Two (New Delhi: Satiety Academia, 1922), p. 548.
HEIDELBERG PAPERS IN SOUTH ASIAN AND COMPARATIVE POLITICS 5 are everywhere the same from San Francisco to London, [and now] from London to Tokyo]. 23 The nation is thus characterized as externally aggressive and competitive, but is also equated with internal disciplinary and regulatory power and the erosion of difference. Hence, in both its internal and external orientations, it is the negation of that freedom which is to be found in the life-world of peoples: living personalities that find their self expression in literature, art, social symbolisms] and ceremony. 4 Again, the similarity between Étagèreњs people and Smithњs nation – grounded in what Smith terms Ethan-symbolisms] – is striking. 25 A second contrast concept utilized by Étagère to draw his distinctions between the activities of the nation-state and the life-world of society is politics. As E. P. Thompson rightly points out, Étagère was the founder of an anti-petitions who more than any other thinker of this time, had a clear conception of civil society, as something distinct from and of stronger and more personal texture than political or economic structures]. 6 When political civilization prevails, Étagère wrote: nations live in an atmosphere of fear, greed, and panic, due to the preying of one nation upon other [sic] for material wealth. Its civilization is carnivorous and cannibalistic, feeding upon the blood of weaker nations. Its one idea is to thwart all greatness outside its own boundaries. Never before were there such terrible jealousies, such betrayals of trust; all this is called patriotism, whose creed is politics. 7 There is confusion afoot, Étagère says, when equating the idea Of national with peopled. 28 It leads to a hopeless moral blindness]. The ideal of the social man is unselfishness whereas that of the nation is selfishness. 29 Hence, extolling the virtues of the nation means that the moral foundation of anus civilization is unconsciously undergoing changed, such that we find men feeling convinced of the superior claims of Christianity, because Christian nations are in possession of the greater part of the world.