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Book chapter

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Interrogating modernity : culture and colonialism in India

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Seagull Books


In the imaginary of the ‘modern’ world, the words ‘culture’ and ‘India’ have somehow always been stitched together. This ligature, it could be argued, underwrites the very project of modernity itself. The mobilization of ‘Indian Culture’ was as crucial to the West’s construction of its identity in contrast to the Oriental Other as it was to the reconstructed Orient’s attempts to define itself. Culture has inevitably meant in our context the monuments of antiquity, the temple sculpture of a glorious past, the texts of ancient scriptures, all ‘the wonder that was’. So when we turn to look at present-day cultural practices, weighed down as we are by the golden past and therefore by a certain notion of culture, we react with incomprehension, dismissal, embarrassment or shame. Is it, perhaps, the very modernity of our culture that prompts this reaction?

Additional Information

ISBN of the source publication: 9788170461098



Recommended Citation

Niranjana, T., Sudhir, P., & Dhareshwar, V. (1993). Introduction. In T. Niranjan, P. Sudhir, & V. Dhareshwar (Eds.), Interrogating modernity: Culture and colonialism in India (pp. 1-18). Calcutta: Seagull Books.

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