Pakistan and India: Community, Nation and the British Raj

Please read Ian Talbot’s article posted under Week two module and respond to the following questions –

1. How did the colonial empire reinforce a sense of ‘Indianness’ and of caste and religious community?

2. Did the British rule lead to the ‘traditionalisation’ of Indian society?

3.  Comment on the notion of  India as ‘timeless’, ‘traditional’ society before the advent of the British in the subcontinent.

4. How was the colonial empire more intrusive than its predecessors, the Mughals?

5. How did the decennial census introduced by the British influence Indian self-perceptions?

6. How did British census create the category of ‘depressed classes’? `Comment on the role of the British in essentialising identities in India?

7. How did British create ‘new arenas of community conflict ?

8. Discuss the effect of Castes and Tribes act of 1872 passed by the British on communities in India?

9. How did British institutionalize their notion of monolithic, religious communities in the Indian subcontinent? What were its ramifications?

10. Explain the effect of British notion that religion was the principal, organizing feature of Indian society, and that Indian society was always mired in conflict between two, monolithic religious groups?

11. What examples does Talbot give of colonial rewriting of Indian history and what were its effect on the natives?

12. How did the British create and then perpetuate religious and caste stereotypes?

13. Explain how colonial representations of Muslims was linked to the rise of Hindu nationalism?

14. What effect did British identification of language with a national community have on Indian society? 

15. What was the Hindu-Urdu controversy? How did it encourage Muslim separatism?

16. How did English contribute to the emergence of an all India political community?

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