Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Ramnath on citizenship & decolonization

 Kalyani Ramnath (Harvard University) has published "Histories of Indian Citizenship in the Age of Decolonisation," Itinerario (2021), 1-22. The piece explores the following three books: 

Oliver Godsmark, Citizenship, Community and Democracy in India: From Bombay to Maharashtra, c. 1930–1960 (London: Routledge, 2018)

Uditi Sen, Citizen Refugee: Forging the Indian Nation after Partition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Ornit Shani, How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Making of the Universal Franchise (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Here's the abstract: 

This essay discusses the important contributions of three new works on Indian citizenship by Ornit Shani, Uditi Sen, and Oliver Godsmark. Their books discuss the territorial partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947, the framing and inauguration of the Indian Constitution in 1950, the preparation of voter rolls and the first democratic elections, and linguistic reorganisation of Indian states in 1956, alongside questions of refugee rehabilitation, counterinsurgency measures and rising ethnonationalisms. The emphasis is not only on the legal regimes of national citizenship, but also how it is unevenly mapped and experienced. This emphasis on territoriality is an invitation to ask questions about continuity and change in the transition from empires to nation-states, as well as invented pasts and imagined futures that transcend national borders set up after the end of colonial rule.

Further information is available here.

--Mitra Sharafi