Majoritarianism is not nationalism, says Thapar

Romila Thapar

Romila Thapar   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

In her first live online lecture, renowned historian of ancient India Professor Romila Thapar said on Thursday that arguably the country was on the edge of becoming a Hindu nation.

Prof. Thapar addressed viewers on a Facebook Live session organised by a Delhi University students-led initiative, Karwaan, focusing on the writing of history over the past 200 years, from the colonial authors to the nationalist school of the early 20th Century and beyond.

Speaking about nationalism, Prof. Thapar said: “Nationalism is the reflection of how people in a society think about their collective self. The collective means that everyone that constitutes the nation should be included as equal citizens. But when nationalism is defined by a single identity, which can either be language or religion or even ethnicity, then nationalism gets derailed into majoritarianism. And majoritarianism is not nationalism.”

She further said that the struggle for Independence had an “all-inclusive nationalism of Indians opposed to British rule”, however, the insistence on two nations by the British led to a nationalism defined by religion that found acceptance among some Indians.

“The two nation idea surfaced in the creation of what happened in Partition, in the creation of Pakistan as an Islamic nation. And in current India, it can be argued that it is teetering on the edge of creating its Hindu equivalent,” she said.

Prof. Thapar said the contributions of one religious community in each of the two nations were in focus. However, she said the right of the historian to research and wrote about any subject in history must be defended.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 4:39:57 PM |

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