Anandamath () is a Bengali political novel by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, from English-language translations of আনন্দমঠ include. The sanyasis fought the British against all odds, whom they regarded as an arch enemy of the country, and responsible for the terrible famine of Read Anandamath book reviews & author details and more at Translating Vande Mataram as a poem in to English is unreal and can never have.

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Reading AnandamathUnderstanding Hindutva: Postcolonial Literatures and the Politics of Canonization. The publication of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and, more significantly, its winning the Booker Prize, was followed by an enormous increase in the publication of English language fiction by the Indian diaspora.

However, the academic interest in Indian literatures was selective; it did not extend to Indian literatures written in languages other than English. Prasad notes that discussions of postcolonialism and Indian literature revolve around only English writings:. It is almost as if writers in other languages in India escaped this historical experience.

It is also as if Indian English writers do not have access to other Indian traditions, as if they exist in a vacuum, or a space created solely by British colonialism untouched by earlier or even contemporary later continuums and concerns. Publishing houses such as Seagull, Heinemann, Oxford, and Penguin have been doing translations since the early s; Macmillan India has a “Translation” series and Katha Publication the “Classics” series.

The Sahitya Akademi and UNESCO have also taken a keen interest in translations and anandamaht primarily involved in translating texts from one regional language into another. Yet, in this age of global markets and online bookstores, very little of Indian literature in englush other than English is included in the syllabi of postcolonial courses in North America.

Anandamath (pdf) – Auro e-Books

Thus, this essay considers the role played by universities in marginalizing non-English language texts and legitimizing diasporic English publications within the postcolonial field of production. It establishes the inadequate attention paid to the histories of postcolonial literatures, that is, the contexts of their authorship, publication, and mode of incorporation in the “first” world academy.

Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay’s Anandamath[3] a foundational text for the understanding of Indian nationalism, is analyzed as a representative text that can help students of postcolonial literatures to understand the material conditions under which texts are produced, distributed, and consumed.

Bankim [4] has been variously described as the father of the Indian novel and as one of the most important Indian political novelists of the anti-colonial era. Histories of the Indian novel and the anti-colonial movement in India often refer back to Bankim, and to Anandamath in particular, which was the first nationalist imagining of the “nation” as mother in Indian fiction.

This song and Bankim’s construction of the nation as mother again gained prominence as Indian politics took a strong Rightward swing from the s. Hindutva ideologues recurrently invoke and interpret Bankim’s Anandamath in dangerous ways to self-represent themselves as bearing the mantle of true Indian i. Evidently, Anandamath ‘s imagining of a new anti-colonial subject in response to British imperialism continues to provide a foundation for contemporary self-identifications.

Yet, Bankim is an unfamiliar or seldom heard name in North America. Thus, my choice of a canonical Indian author and a controversial text is an attempt to establish the politics of canonization, both within India and beyond.

The aim is not simply to interrogate nationalist history but to show how it gets written and read in varying socio-historical contexts.

The essay hopes to disturb the stability of canons with a focus on questions of literary history, the materiality of production, and the politics of postcolonial literary consumption in North America. Translation functioned as one of the significant technologies of colonial domination in India.

In OrientalismEdward W. Said argues that translation serves “to domesticate the Orient and thereby turn it into a province of European learning” James Mill’s The History of British India illustrates Said’s point that the Orient is a “representation” and what is represented is not a real place, but “a set of references, a congeries of characteristics, that seems to have its origin in a quotation, or a fragment of a text, or a citation xnandamath someone’s work on the Orient, or some bit of a previous imagining, or an amalgam of all these” Though Mill had never been to India, he had written three volumes about it by the end of His Historyconsidered an “authoritative” work on Indian life and society, constructed a version of “Hindoo nature” as uncivilized, effeminate, and barbaric, culled from the translations of Orientalists such as Jones, Williams, Halhed, and Colebrook.

Its “profound effect upon the thinking of civil servants” Kopf and on new generations of Orientalist and other scholars working on India shows how Orientalist translations of “classic” Indian texts facilitated Indians’ status as what Said calls “representations” or objects without history.

Today in North American academic institutions, the phenomenon of postcoloniality involves a similar process of annandamath within universities, “translated writing” to use Rushdie’s oft-quoted phrase. The field of postcolonial literatures is the locus of negotiations between different anqndamath.

Not unlike Orientalist and colonialist studies, postcolonial studies established in the center as an academic discipline draws sustenance from the once colonial, now cultural, margins. It controls the movement of texts produced in the third world within an economy regulated largely by Western metropolitan demand. As David Damrosch notes, “works become world literature by being received into the space of a foreign culture, a space defined in many ways by the host culture’s national tradition Thus, world literature is “always as much about the host culture’s values and needs as it is about a work’s source culture; hence, it is a double refraction” Since metropolitan cultural norms and needs determine the selection of works for postcolonial or world literature courses, it influences what is translated, marketed, and read.


Texts by metropolitan writers from the third world are considered to be easily translatable and comprehensible marginal voices, and are included in postcolonial syllabi for their close affinity to Western modes of writing. Elleke Boehmer and Graham Huggan xiii note that the appeal of migrant literatures lies in their exoticism and in representing the “other,” while speaking in an aesthetic language familiar to the Anglo-American academy.

Timothy Brennan, in Salman Rushdie and the Third Worldillustrates postcolonial studies’ preferential treatment of “cosmopolitan” principles and writers — especially novelists — and the privilege given to texts amenable to theories, using Rushdie as an example.

Indeed, exile, hybridity, and diaspora are some of the key concepts that define postcolonial literatures today.

Rushdie’s celebrity status in North America and his dismissal of Indian writing in languages other than English have perpetuated the amnesia of several thousand years of Indian literary history and of authors before and after Rushdie, although vernacular literatures continued to exist alongside new forms in India.

The amnesia has included primarily literature in various regional languages, but also to some extent English-language writers who live and publish in India. The inability of most local publishers to compete in the global marketplace has also contributed to the notion that English language writing is a product only of diasporic and metropolitan authors, “written by elites, and defined and canonized by elites” Boehmer Arif Dirlik focuses on the glossing of complex issues of class privilege in uncritical celebration of diasporic writers.

He holds some postcolonial academics in the United States to task for reaping the benefits of commodified postcoloniality, arguing that “postcoloniality is the condition of the intelligentsia of global capitalism” On a similar note, Kwame Anthony Appiah writes, “[p]ostcoloniality is the condition of what we might ungenerously call a comprador intelligentsia: The uncritical celebration of migrant habitations of interstitial spaces also erases those migrant experiences that are conservative and fundamentalist.

He writes, “India is constructed and consumed in a new way by the children of the diaspora, many of whom are as wary of India as any Orientalist was, and as caught in the stereotypes of poverty, development, secularism and Bollywood. Therefore, in designing postcolonial literature courses one has to be sensitive to the innumerable specificities of texts and their contexts, as well as carefully situate texts so that they are capable of dialogues, alliances, contestations, and collaborations, thus preventing the “misperception of postcolonial teaching as an autoethnographic exercise in cultural translation” Huggan The absence of less globally recognized texts and authors in postcolonial courses have also led to Ahmad’s reductionism of the aanndamath to “a polite way of saying non-white, not-Europe, or perhaps not-Europe-but-inside-Europe” “Politics” 8and to Harish Trivedi’s description of postcolonialism as “a little family quarrel between the white peoples of what is now an extended First World” This resistance to postcolonial theory as yet another imposition of the Western academy by authors and academics in the so-called third world is not new.

However, anandajath is not enough to merely recognize such hyperbolic statements. Pannikar, and Ananda K. These scholars reveal the fallacy of describing postcolonial studies as an invention of first world academia.

For example, Said, in “Orientalism Reconsidered,” acknowledges that much of what he said in Orientalism had been said long before by some of these scholars and writers 4.

However, most North American readers are not familiar with their works; attention to them in postcolonial literature courses can alert students in the metropolis to the scholarly work that has been and continues to be done outside metropolitan university campuses and research institutions.

It anadnamath also help to interrogate the familiar binary that W. Mitchell posits between postcolonial cultural spaces and “postimperial criticism,” when he writes:.

Literary texts of the postcolonial world themselves contribute to the theorization of issues of postcolonialism.

Postcolonial texts from India, like those of Africa and the Caribbean, are the main sources for the development of postcolonial literary theory, as it is through literary imaginings that colonized natives attempted to self-represent and to understand their cultural and political situations.

Raja Rao, Rabindranath Tagore, Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, O Chandu Menon, Premchand, Toru Dutta, and other older Indian authors debated issues of creolization, cosmopolitanism, orality, and indigeneity in their fictional and non-fictional works. For instance, the Foreword of Raja Rao’s Kanthapura shows that Rushdie’s conceptualization of translated men is not original. Rao underscores the difficulty of Indian writers writing in English when he notes the challenges of writing in “a language that is not one’s own to convey the spirit that is one’s own” vii.


He advocates using Indian narrative strategies and Indianizing the English language. He does not claim to be writing in a foreign tongue; he suggests that he is creating a language as he infuses the “tempo of Indian life” into the English language vii.

Bankim, on the other hand, constructs a new, manly Bengali vernacular in order to create a new masculine subject. His fictional and non-fictional works redefine the colonized subject and interrogate Western hegemonic myths of supremacy, facilitating the formulation of national identities. Although sharing a similar regional bias and writing during the same era as Bankim, Tagore disavows nationalism. In Nationalisma collection of essays, and in the novels Gora and Ghare BaireTagore expresses his dissatisfaction with the ideology of nationalism because it erases local cultures and promotes a homogeneous national culture.

He demonstrates the violent consequences of Bankim’s gendered, upper-caste, Hindu nationalist formulations. Thus, reading Bankim and Tagore together in a course can allow students to see that the historical moment that produced hegemonic nationalist imaginings and from which the contemporary Hindu Right draws sustenance was already divided and already self-critical.

Including texts such as Anandamath along with migrant writing in the syllabi of North American universities will help to delineate the changing historical configurations of the Indian nation and highlight the new conceptualization of the metropolis in contemporary times. Colonized Bengali subjects such as Bankim responded to the colonial encounter with Britain through literary representations and imaginings that established the colonial or anti-colonial subject as different.

Their perception of cultural decline and of the security of “traditional” identities resulted in efforts to create a “national” culture. On the contrary, migrant writers in North America are faced with the inevitability of fluid, hybrid configurations in the metropolis. Postcolonial scholars demonstrate interest in migrant writings that unequivocally link the first and the third world. However, older non-English Indian writings such as Bankim’s reveal that the experience and identity of “India” have been for a long time bound up with the “West” and vice versa.

Teaching indigenous-language texts in translation along with diasporic texts in English will foreground the necessity of dialogue in the sharing and reworking of cultural identities. It will enable students to see the links between colonial and anti-colonial discourse in the very inception of the Indian nation as well as recognize its continued relevance in the present.

Anandamath – Wikisource, the free online library

Thus, revised postcolonial courses will represent the heterogeneity of cultural margins without allowing the needs of the metropolis to construct the margins for its students. Colonialism created a new English-educated middle class in nineteenth-century India that drew its sustenance from and collaborated with the British colonizers.

This very same class also led the struggle against colonialism. Bankim is representative of this class: English-educated, employee of the East India Company, and a key ideologue of the anti-colonial movement in Bengal. Concerned about the absence or loss of history and historical consciousness, Bankim sought recourse in imagination. They point to the ideological imperatives and mythification involved in the writing of colonial history.


His novel Anandamath skillfully appropriates the potential of “invented traditions” Hobsbawm and Ranger and “imagined communities” Andersonnot to anandaamath the truth but to choose a particular history. His invention of a usable past to suit the anti-colonial agenda of the time shows how the creation of “national” identification must essentially proceed through the imaginary rather than through essentialized “natural” affiliations. Interestingly, the period from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century has become a key area of contestation and appropriation in recent times.

Since the late s, India has witnessed a resurgence of the Hindu Right in regional and national politics. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates anadamath invoke texts, leaders, and movements from this earlier era to establish their legitimacy in the nation’s present and, more importantly, neglish future. The Left in India, in all its varieties, also draws upon the legacies of the anti-colonial movement to combat Hindutva.

The Left tries to remind Indians of xnandamath united, anti-imperialist struggle of all Indians and the “values” of the past, such as secularism, democracy, and rationalism Alam In academia, such political contests have resulted in a surge of research on the history and politics of colonial India.

The contemporary situation, however, requires a careful and thorough backward look beyond the historical and political archive to the fictional imaginings of the nation that contributed to and further determined the conventions of national identity. It played a decisive role in the political history of the province of Bengal and continues to inflect nationalist imagination in contemporary India.

Bankim, the acclaimed originator of the Indian novel, was interpellated by the colonialist discourse ananramath Indian effeminacy. In “A Popular Literature for Bengal,” he discards traditional Bengali literature for its ananadmath femininity and turns instead to the manly vigor of “modern” European rationality. He draws a direct link between ansndamath “effeminate poetical” literature of Bengal and the existence of an “effeminate and sensual race” Bankim 3: