Mimasha Pandit's Performing Nationhood: The Emotional Roots of Swadeshi Nationhood in Bengal, 1905-12
This book serves as the corridor to one’s ‘self’. It began as a humble attempt to interrogate the performance History
of Swadeshi Bengal. The burgeoning public space and audibility of voices hitherto unheard presented a two-way problem, for the colonisers, as well as for the colonised. The thinking mind that hid behind a facade of obedience suddenly appeared before all. The transparent veil separating the hidden from the manifest was torn apart. In the context of swadeshi and boycott agitation, performative spaces like theatre, jatra, and songs did not just serve as a forum for disseminating the notions of nationhood put forward by the intellectuals. The ideas gained a life of their own once they were placed in the performative space. Encompassing both the performer and the audience/recipient of the ideas, the notion underwent a change at various planes of consciousness. The notion of nation, as disseminated by the performances, acquired a different meaning at the level of enactment, and attained an entirely new substance when received by the audience. None of these exchanges occurred in complete passivity of any one party present in the performative space. Consequently, the emergent emotion of nationhood developed as a nuanced image of ‘self’. This book has tried to locate the beginning of that emotion of national ‘self’.