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Post Colonial Thoughts Of Iqbal, Jinnah, Nehru And Gandhi

4707 words - 19 pages

Imagined Community: Gandhi, Nehru, Iqbal and Jinnah’s Post-colonial Nations


The concept of nationalism is often the subject of philosophical debate, and various definitions of the term nation and nationalism tend to widely fail under harsh analytical scrutiny of differing perspectives (Miscevic, 2008). Whereas, a term such as race can be specifically said to define a given group of people, the terms ‘nation’ and ‘nationalism’ are difficult to be specifically defined as they raise a lot of opposing views. The problem often in describing nations primarily come under the following questions, as described by Miscevic (2008); “what is it to belong to a nation, what is the ...view middle of the document...

In the paper, we would also consider the concepts of primordiality and modernism where applicable, and to this extent would initially also define and briefly explain these concepts.

Imagined Community, Premordialism & Modernity

Anderson like most academics in the study of nationalism, perceived it as a by-production of industrialization. However, Anderson was of the opinion that nationalism was strongly produced due to a decline of religious authorities. Unlike the superficial and imagined communities which nations tend to be, Anderson dictated that traditional religious world-views related to the human species as a whole. Moreover, Anderson gave the opinion that nationalist perspective onset was a result of the ‘erosion of religious certainties’ (Anderson, 1983)

In retrospect to popular nationalist theory, Anderson (1983) described a nation as “an imagined political community (that is) imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign”. We have already discussed that such a definition produces four characteristics of a nation; imagined, limited, sovereign and community. In understand to categorize and compare along the lines of these four characteristics, we would need to consider Anderson’s reasoning behind them.

Anderson (1983) perceived nations to be primarily imagined, in the aspect that within even most of the smallest nations not all members are aware of each other are know each other. As such, Anderson argued that in a nation most people imagine a national identity, and as such nations are imagined rather than actual existences. Anderson also goes on to say that any gathering larger than a primeval town or village is bound to be imagined.

Secondly, the concept of imagined communities defines nations as limited and sovereign (Anderson, 1983). A nation is defined limited because it is bound to be always restricted to boundaries; which might be geographical or ethnic or social etc. For instance, the Confederate Americans viewed their nation to primarily constitute of white people only and considered black as a mere slave or supportive existence for the ‘superior’ whites (Calhoun, 1997).

Thirdly and finally, the concept of imagined community defined a nation as a community. In Anderson’s word this was as despite all the discrepancies and discrimination within a nation, there always exists a ‘horizontal comradeship’ between its members. (Anderson, 1983)

The concept of primordialism arises when it is argued that nations are not modern inventions rather than ancient phenomena (Ozkirimli, 2000). The concept modernity arises when it is argued that nations have been invented in the last few centuries and didn’t exist prior to the age of Industrialization and Enlightment (Ozkirimli, 2000). The concept of imagined community is one of modernity and the aspect of imagination doesn’t imply and kind of ‘falsity’, rather just the tendency of nations to be perceived by members rather than their factual existence. Often primordialism...

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