ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Birth of a Goddess

In the current controversy about the national song, the general assumption seems to be that the song 'Vande Mataram' reflect nothing more than an uncomplicated love for the motherland, and that it is unreasonable of Muslims, if not actually unpatriotic, to object to it. The present essay looks at some of the older debates about the song and also about the novel Anandamath which frames the song. In the light of its novelistic context, the article argues, the song acquires different and darker meanings. Moreover, the verses that are not usually sung compose a vision of a militaristic patriotism that gradually replaces the more nurturing resonances of the earlier parts. The gradual movements of the song are replicated in the design of the novel. The article explores these shifts in the song and in the novel, while it simultaneously assesses the different readings of both - political and literary. It concludes with an attempt to seek out hidden subtexts in the novel which sometime disturb and deconstruct its dominant and obvious meanings.

The Icon of Mother in Late Colonial North India

In the metaphor of nationalism, it is the female body and the many faces of 'mother' - motherland, mother tongue, motherhood - have served as the most universal and potent symbols of imagining the nation. The symbol of mother was especially effective because it could take on different meanings in different contexts. This paper examines how and why the metaphor of mother was used in multiple fields in late colonial north India, with a special focus on the UP. Hindu publicists of UP particularly worked the icon of the mother into narratives of nation, language and cow, thereby sharpening the contours of community identity.
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