In comparison to other well-known linguistic movements in India (like the Andhra or the Tamil movements), Orissa is the single instance of the imagination of a pan-regional linguistic identity that made a successful negotiation with the colonial state by using mainly constitutional means within the framework of colonial power. Subsequently, like many other linguistic movements that culminated in statehood in postcolonial India, its appeal waxed and waned and over the long run gradually declined in the second half of the twentieth century, as language came to be displaced by issues of development and underdevelopment as the prime movers of identity politics under electoral democracy. This book addresses these broader questions of poverty, marginality, ethnicity, and identity in Orissa in the twentieth century.
Since it challenges the idea of 1947 as a watershed and seeks to grapple with the themes of regionalism, language-based ethnicity, centre-state relations, and the interrelationships between development and democracy across this divide, it will be of great interest not only to historians, political scientists, economists, and sociologists of modern South Asia, but also to scholars and students interested in the cultural politics of linguistic identity, and the politics of democracy and development in the global South.
Jayanta Sengutpa is Secretary and Curator (Director), Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata.
Dedication ; Acknowledgements ; Introduction: Imagined Communities of Language Before and After Democracy: Problems and Perspectives from Orissa ; 1. Social Structure and Political Arithmetic under Colonial Rule ; 2. Race, Culture, Language, and 'Backwardness': Writing the Oriya 'People' into the Oriya 'Nation,' 1900-1920 ; 3. Boundaries, Funds and 'Nationalism': Towards a Separate Orissa Province, 1920-1936 ; 4. Congress in the Ascendant? The Peasant Question and 'Popular' Politics, 1920-1947 ; 5. Congress Against the Rajas: Princes, Prajamandals, and Partition, 1937-1949 ; 6. Democracy and its Discontents: Language, Identity, and the Cultural Politics of 'Backwardness' in a Postcolonial World ; 7. Ram Against Christ? Competing Communalisms and Patterns of Political Mobilization ; Conclusion: Re-examining Cultural Nationalism ; Bibliography ; Index ; About the Author