By Susheila Nasta
Relocating clear of orthodox narratives of the Raj and British presence in India, this e-book examines the importance of the networks and connections that South Asians proven on British soil. taking a look at the interval 1858-1950, it provides readings of cultural historical past and issues to the pressing have to open up the parameters of this box of research.
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Extra info for India in Britain: South Asian Networks and Connections, 1858–1950
G. Wells novel was to intimate, ‘the shape of things to come’. John Berger’s prescient observation that the relationship between ‘what we see’ and ‘what we know’ is ‘never settled’ is a useful entry-point to outline some of the wider political and theoretical issues addressed. 6 Yet, there still remains a stubborn refusal to see that the cultural, political and genetic body of the present-day British nation is not only linked to but was forged by the mutuality of this shared past. The refusal to acknowledge this is not only regularly rehearsed in the rhetoric of present-day politicians and pundits, keen to cling on to some exclusionary and mythical fabrication of the ‘island story’, but is also reflected, perhaps not unsurprisingly, as Bill Schwarz has recently shown, in the wilful amnesia and displacements of the relationship between modern Britain and empire in the post-1945 English novel.
I am drawing here on Partha Mitter’s vision of a cosmopolitan modernity in The Triumph of Modernism: India’s Artists and the Avant--garde 1922–1947 7 (London: Reaktion Books, 2007), pp. 12–13 and Amit Chaudhuri’s suggestive argument w 55 ( January–February in ‘The Alien Face of Cosmopolitanism’, New Left Review 2009), 89–93. 11. Tanika Sarkar, Rebels, Wives, Saints: Designing Selves and Nations in Colonial Times (Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2009), p. 5. Sukanya Bannerjee also develops a similar argument in Becoming Imperial Citizens: Indians in the Late-Victorian Empire (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), pp.
As his remarks imply, social configurations existed whereby a South Asian traveller might be made to feel welcome in the capital. Indeed, in certain cases his or her presence could be regarded as an enhancement of the imperial and ‘world’ status of the host-city. As commentators have observed, in imperial London in the late nineteenth century, in sharp contrast with what occurred on the stratified periphery, differences of race and ethnicity were mediated and to an extent suspended within a more dominant hierarchy of class, especially when it came to encounters with Indians perceived to be of high status.
India in Britain: South Asian Networks and Connections, 1858–1950 by Susheila Nasta