- Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 2:30pm to 3:30pm
The talk will focus on Bankim Chattopadhyay’s Anandamath (1882), a Bengali novel that helped establish the now-widespread perception among many Hindus that India is a fundamentally Hindu nation called "Bharat." This cultural imagining of India as Bharat is alive and thriving in India and its diaspora today. In the talk I will discuss how Anandamath’s generic form as a historical novel was indispensable to its success in casting Bengal, and India more broadly, as a fundamentally Hindu homeland. I will also explain the larger stakes and claims of my dissertation, Imagining Bharat: Romance, Heroism, and Hindu Nationalism in the Bengali Novel, 1880-1930, which explores how the emerging idea of India as Bharat gained potency at the turn of the twentieth century, particularly in the hands of Bengali writers located both in India and abroad.