Reading Anandamath, Understanding Hindutva: Postcolonial Literatures and the Politics of Canonization

Chandrima Chakraborty


The privileging of migrant writers in the Western
academy has produced
definitions of postcolonial literatures as almost
cosmopolitan, transplanted and multilingual.
Writings of Bankimchandra
Chattopadhyay, one of India's most politically
influential novelists does
not figure in syllabi of Western academic
institutions. The importance of
Bankim's nationalist imaginings, particularly in his
novel "Anandamath",
in providing the epistemological methodology for the
present Hindu Right's
construction of a sectarian nationalist imaginary
cannot be overstated.
There is an urgent need to revise the postcolonial
literature syllabuses
and bring to critical attention those literary texts
that the Hindu Right
now uses to strengthen its discourses of homogenous
Indian nationalism.
The religio-nationalist assertion of a right-wing
Hindu ideology in India
makes it imperative that we evaluate the origins and
tropes of nationalist
fiction that are being purported today as the
'commonsense' of the nation.


Literary Canon; Hindu Right; Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay

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