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

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Japan, the United States and Yasukuni Nationalism

This paper considers the Yasukuni Shrine, Japanese war memory and representation in relationship to contemporary nationalism and its implications for the future of the Asia-Pacific. It emphasises three aspects about the "Yasukuni Problem" and contemporary nationalism that are absent in much of the discussion in Japan, the Asia-Pacific and internationally. The first is the need to transcend an exclusively Japanese perspective by locating the issues within the framework of the Japan-US relationship. The second locates war nationalism in general, and Yasukuni in particular, within the broader purview of competing nationalism in the Asia-Pacific. The third recognises deep fissures among the Japanese people with respect to Yasukuni, nationalism and the emperor in whose name Japan fought, and memories of colonialism and war.

Explaining the Japanese Enigma

Japan by Yamaguchi Hiroichi; National Book Trust, W New Delhi, 2006; pp 198, Rs 50.

'Docile' Bodies, 'Good' Citizens or 'Agential' Subjects?

Pedagogy has a crucial role in constructions of the self and the "good" or the "ideal" citizen. Civic education in schools seeks to build up notions of the good citizen, by outlining "ideal" norms of behaviour, for instance, towards parents, elders, the government, as also the nation. But the human subject is not always a passive recipient of pedagogic formulations. Rather as this article that bases itself on student responses in a test school in Delhi, establishes, students negotiate established pedagogy and received wisdom in a variety of ways. Their understanding of issues of citizenship is arrived at not merely through textbook instruction, but their reception to the very manner of this instruction that is exam-oriented, in their interactions with friends, peers and family as well as information received and interpreted through a variety of other sources. The article argues that to move beyond mere subjecthood and towards ensuring an individual's "agency" in the creation of "good" citizenship, pedagogy has to engage and debate widely with these varied sites of interaction.

Interrogating the Nation

What is a 'nation'? What does the word 'nation state' connote? Beginning from early debates on nationalism and the nation state, the word 'nation' has shifted, coming to acquire at one and the same time, an expanding meaning and an ambivalence. Literature and the different social sciences, on the other hand, have exposed the nature of evil, depicting the nation as a genre of violence. A study of European and African works shows how the creation of nation has been fraught with a marginalisation of other groups and voices, with pain and suffering. Literature and language, this article suggests, must once again become tools to plumb the banality of evil that is inherent in the nation state. New 'thought experiments' must seek to challenge the politics of the nation, leading to a reinvention and a new beginning.

The Locations of Hindi

Hindi Nationalism by Alok Rai , Tracts for the Times 13, Orient Longman, Delhi, 2000; pp 138, Rs 150.

CPC's Fourth Generation Ideology

Hu Jintao, the new general secretary of the Communist Party of China, and his colleagues, who constitute the party's fourth generation leadership, have been armed by Jiang Zemin with a new ideological tool called Sange Daibiao (the Three Represents) which, like Deng Xiaoping�s Gaige Kaifang (Reform and Open Door), seems to be slowly capturing the imagination of the Chinese people. This formulation is seen by the left as an outrageous departure from Marxism. The right is equally disappointed by the refusal to grant full freedom to the propertied classes. Yet the Three Represents are carefully crafted guidelines for the party to face the challenges of the emerging world and to take the country forward in the new century.

S K Rudra, C F Andrews and M K Gandhi

In the second decade of the last century, as the world limped back from a long-drawn war and India found itself on the verge of a new wave of anti-imperialist struggle, a strange friendship was forged between three unusual men. This paper looks at the friendship between Mahatma Gandhi, C F Andrews and S K Rudra against the backdrop of such tumultuous times. Through letters and records that still stand as testimony to their friendship, this paper analyses issues of freedom of choice, and implications of nationality.

Discourse and Practice of Singhalese Nationalism

The discourse of decentralisation and of village reform which forms an important element of Singhalese mass politics and nationalism today began in the 1930s and attained its zenith in the last 25 years. This article explores the circumstances that led to the emergence of ethnic nationalism that has transformed the village from a basis of Buddhism and a repository of profound knowledge into the basis of the Sinhala nation and the repository of the nation's destiny and strength

Nationhood and Displacement in Indian Subcontinent

The journey of nations begins with the construction of 'self', the basic criteria for which is a preconceived homogeneity. But achieving such a homogeneity proves elusive and the search becomes an exercise in peeling an onion, which involves the shedding of people who do not fit the constructed identity or who question the accepted framework. This in turn prompts the construction of minority identities which strive to build a majority for themselves. In the subcontinent the search for nationhood has always focused on ethnicity, culture and religion, but what has emerged is a heterogeneous mix of people who should have represented diversity but now have one culture, the middle class culture and one identity, the middle class identity.

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.

On Nationalism and Ethnicity

Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and the Question of Nationhood by Sankaran Krishna; University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis and London, 1999; pp 296, $ 22.95, paperback.

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