By Dipesh Chakrabarty
In Habitations of Modernity, Dipesh Chakrabarty explores the complexities of modernism in India and seeks rules of humaneness grounded in daily life which may elude grand political theories. The questions that inspire Chakrabarty are shared by way of all postcolonial historians and anthropologists: How can we take into consideration the legacy of the ecu Enlightenment in lands faraway from Europe in geography or heritage? How will we envision methods of being sleek that talk to what's shared world wide, in addition to to cultural range? How will we withstand the tendency to justify the violence accompanying triumphalist moments of modernity?Chakrabarty pursues those matters in a chain of heavily associated essays, starting from a background of the influential Indian sequence Subaltern stories to examinations of particular cultural practices in sleek India, reminiscent of using khadi—Gandhian variety of dress—by male politicians and the politics of civic recognition in public areas. He concludes with concerns of the moral dilemmas that come up while one writes on behalf of social justice tasks.
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Additional resources for Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies
But this does not mean that the popular practice is respectable. One can perform, effectively but instrumentally, the language of respect in order to mobilize the masses . Nandy is not an advocate of the cynical or instrumental use of respect. " This kind of respect is as shallow as the instrumental kind and, as we know, is often replaced by arrogante when the proverbial push comes to shove. Some of Nandy's answers to the question why the tradition (as distinct from the practice) of sati is lo be respected are couched in terms of the desire not to be alienated.
It uses tradition but in a way that is guided by the critique of the present that it has developed. In discussing Gandhi-in many ways, the person who comes closest to his idea of a wise political leader-Nandy names his position critica¡ traditionalism. Critical traditionalism, according ro Nandy, is different from uncritical adulation of past practices, a position that he finds illus- su,oea^rrr ANn-Hr: rnvi /4' 40 ] CHAPTFR •rHI&LLI. trated ni the writings ol Che Anglo-Sri Lankan intellectual Ananda Kenush Coomarasvvamv.
Dark is where light cannot pass; it is that which cannot be illuminated. There are parís of sociery that remain opaque to che theoretical gaze of the modem analyst. Why a history of cultural practices will scize on a particular practice-espeeially a practice of eruelty and/or violente-and elaborare many of its own themes around it is a question that cannot be answered by the social sciences. It is also in Chis literal sense, then, it scems ro me, rhat cultural practices have a dark side. We cannor see luto rhem, nor everywhere.
Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies by Dipesh Chakrabarty