New Patriotisms: The Beauty Queen and the Bomb


Sangari, Kumkum. 2004. “New Patriotisms: The Beauty Queen and the Bomb.” In From Gender to Nation, edited by Rada Ivekovic and Julie Mostov, 153–70. New Dehli: Zubaan.

Author: Kumkum Sangari


"The significant literature on gender and nationalism generated in the past decade shows that the emphasis on women as biological reproducers or members of a bounded collectivity, and the centrality of womanhood to the ideological reproduction of the nation are common to a variety of nationalisms. Yet the ideological distinctions between nationalisms remain significant. Given the intertwined legacies of colonialism, the patriarchal assumptions in nationalism, and the particularism of the Hindu right-wing, definitions of Indian culture have always been problematic, especially in the way they cast the "nation" as an entity affected and endangered by the "west". The secular, multireligious or more inclusive nationalisms that emerged in the colonial period were implicated in the specific types of antifeminism and new conservatism that crystallized around anticolonialism; however, they cannot be confused with the obsessive particularisms that attempted to seize nationalism and twist it to their own ends. These particularisms sought the aura of nationalism but pushed for a single majoritarian religious identity, and a tighter patriarchy by polarizing an alien, "selfgenerated" and modem "west". Neither anticolonialism, nor antiwesternism, nor antimodernity could guarantee national authenticity since they were shaped in a two-way cultural traffic marked by recursivity, transformation, resistance and ideological collaboration. They, did however, produce a powerful imaginary India exemplified in its nonmodern or antimodern areas (notably a subsuming religiosity and chaste, self-sacrificing women) to be preserved, an India that was most emphatically (though not exclusively) deployed by the Hindu right" (Sangari 2004, 153).

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gendered Discourses, Nationalism, Religion, Security, Weapons /Arms Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2004

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