Postcolonial Turns in Indian Political Theorising: The Contributions and Imaginaries of Sudipta Kaviraj
Sudipta Kaviraj’s work spans South Asian politics to intellectual history in India, and is tangentially connected to the project of postcolonial and subaltern studies. Though his body of work is not enormous, the quality of his scholarship has been path-breaking. It has had a profound effect on, in general, South Asian studies and, in particular, in the analysis of the politics of the postcolonial Indian state and the creation of a postnationalist intellectual-historical project that deconstructs the travesty of the so-called ‘Nationalist’ political history writing enterprise. This paper discusses the major contributions and ideas of Kaviraj around the emergence of nationalist thought in India. It traces the nature of colonial modernity; works of anti-colonial writers; postcolonial state making and the project of national reconstruction in India; and the slow transformations of the political-economic sphere of the independent Indian state in relation to the civil society.