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Sudhir CHANDRA

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Sudhir CHANDRA

Contemporary History, Mizoram University, Aizawl, India - Associate Fellow

Fellowship : October to December 2015 and April to June 2016 (4 previous fellowships between 2010 and 2013 and April to June 2015)

Discipline(s) : History

Area(s) of expertise : Contemporary history

Pays : Inde

Research Project: "Beyond modernity : religion, culture, nation and the dream of non violence"

Professor Sudhir CHANDRA studies the interpenetration of religion, culture and nationalism by focusing on the conversion to Christianity of a number of gifted upper caste/class men and women in colonial India. Belying the long-prevailing stereotype that Indian Christians were ipso facto denationalized, these converts played a pioneering role in the multi-faceted nationalist awakening that led to the making of modern India. In that this stereotype pervades the Hindu psyche, which believes that Hindu means Indian, this study also brings to the fore the question of cognition per se.

The study has larger epistemic dimensions as well. As a linguistic phenomenon, the analytically necessary use of three separate terms – religion, culture and nationalism – generates a reflex-expectation of a corresponding separation in real life. Even when it is realized that the separately designated phenomena are in reality inextricably intermixed, it is assumed that they can be analytically aggregated. But that rarely remains an innocuous analytic operation. It is willy-nilly swayed by the hegemonic modernist belief that secularization is essential to modernization. Consequently, pre-colonial India is inferiorized for being suffused with religion, and the making of modern India is measured – and valorized – in terms of its release from that suffusion. Anything presumed to impede that modernizing process is considered ipso facto reactionary and communal. As against that, ‘mainstream’ nationalism is presented as progressive, secular and modern. In his study Sudhir CHANDRA seeks to counter such epistemic assumptions to be able to tell a more complex tale.

Biography

Sudhir CHANDRA, historian, has been primarily engaged in understanding the nature of modern Indian social consciousness as it began to shape as a consequence of colonial intervention.

Currently Sudhir CHANDRA is working on the interplay of religion, culture, and nationalism by focusing on upper caste converts to Christianity, and on the last days of Gandhi.

Besides teaching at the Melbourne University, the Aligarh Muslim University (Centre for Advanced Study in History), and the Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, Sudhir CHANDRA has been associated as visiting professor/fellow with major Indian and international institutions like the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (Shimla), Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (New Delhi), Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (New Delhi), Centre for Social Studies (Surat), Heidelberg University (South Asia Institute), Cornell University, Chicago University, Bellagio Study and Conference Center, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

He is an Associate Fellow at IAS-Nantes since 2013.

Major Publications

CHANDRA, Sudhir. Dependence and Disillusionment: Emergence of National Consciousness in Later Nineteenth Century India. New Delhi ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2011, 2e éd. rev. 195 p.

 

CHANDRA, Sudhir. The Oppressive Present: Literature and Social Consciousness in Colonial India. Delhi ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1992. 192 p.

 

CHANDRA, Sudhir. Enslaved Daughters: Colonialism, Law and Women’s Rights. New Delhi ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2008, 2e éd. rev. 265 p.

 

CHANDRA, Sudhir. Continuing Dilemmas: Understanding Social Consciousness. New Delhi : Tulika Books, 2002. 321 p.

 

CHANDRA, Sudhir. Gandhi: Ek Asambhav Sambhavana. New Delhi : Rajkamal Prakashan, 2011. 184 p.

Former projects

During previous fellowships at IAS-Nantes, Sudhir Chandra worked on the research project "Gandhi: An Inquiry into a Recessive Discourse" (October 2010 to June 2011).