Absolute unity will also mean a self-cancellation of love for it needs an other for it to live (p. 248)
Developing an idea of self-division for self-expansion in the writings of Rabindranath Tagore, Pradip Kumar Datta sums up in this tantalizing and aphoristic formulation, the central problematic of identity. The rise of fascist Hindutva in the 1980s and 90s in Indian politics had dismantled the simplicity of the problematique of communalism with which identity politics had hitherto been framed. Possibly one of the largest political mobilizations after the nationalist movements in India, it not only reshaped the contours of Indian politics, but also reframed the questions posed by historians and political scientists. The early 1990s therefore witnessed on the one hand a renewed debate among political scientists on secularism as a normative ideal in India, and on the other hand invoked the historian’s skills in adjudicating and debating communal memory through empirical evidence. However, the most productive direction in which both the disciplines moved was toward an exploration of not merely the content of identities, memories and histories that were marshalled and championed, but the form of these identities as well.
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