Whose India?

The Independence Struggle in British and Indian Fiction and History

Whose India?

Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: Published: April 1996

Author: Teresa Hubel

Asian Studies > South Asia, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

For centuries, India has captured our imagination. Far more than a mere geographical presence, India is also an imaginative construct shaped by competing cultures, emotions, and ideologies. In Whose India? Teresa Hubel examines literary and historical texts by the British and Indian writers who gave meaning to the construct “India” during the final decades of the Empire. Feminist and postcolonial in its approach, this work describes the contest between British imperialists and Indian nationalists at that historical moment when India sought to achieve its independence; that is, when the definition, acquisition, and ownership of India was most vehemently at stake.
Hubel collapses the boundary between literature and history by emphasizing the selected nature of the “facts” that comprise historical texts, and by demonstrating the historicity of fiction. In analyzing the orthodox construction of the British/Indian encounter, Hubel calls into question assumptions about the end of nationalism implicit in mainstream histories and fiction, which generally describe a battleground on which only ruling-class Indians and British meet. Marginalized texts by women, untouchables, and overt imperialists alike are, therefore, examined alongside the well-known work of figures such as Rudyard Kipling, Jawaharlal Nehru, E. M. Forster, and Mahatma Gandhi.
In Whose India? discursive ownership and resistance to ownership are mutually constructing categories. As a result, the account of Indian nationalism and British imperialism that emerges is much more complicated, multivocal, and even more contradictory than previous studies have imagined. Of interest to students and scholars engaged in literary, historical, colonial/postcolonial, subaltern, and Indian studies, Whose India? will also attract readers concerned with gender issues and the canonization of texts.


Whose India skillfully deploys the insights of a substantial body of postcolonial and feminist writings while at times remaining refreshingly accessible to readers who are not well versed in these theoretical frameworks.” — Brenda Cossman , Signs

“Hubel provide[s] . . . a good deal of information and some useful criticism on less amply documented participants in the debates that shape modern India’s socio-political development—among others, Mary Frances Billington, Jenny Fuller, Pandita Ramabai, Swarnakumari Devi, and B. R. Ambedkar.” — Don Randall , Canadian Literature

"[Hubel] brings skill and sensitivity to her investigation of a provocative thesis: the imaginative appropriation/ownership of India during the Independence struggle in British and Indian history/fiction and the marginalization in mainstream British and Indian histories/fiction of the discourses of high-caste Hindu women and untouchables. Her arguments are persuasive . . . She displays sound critical acumen in her selection and analysis of canonical as well as non-canonical British/Indian texts. She does ‘yeoman service’ to Indian women studies by unearthing and highlighting long-forgotten texts. . . . Hubel’s book Whose India? is lucid and convincing. It provides an essential and timely postcolonialist feminist perspective to British imperialism and Indian nationalism. It is a welcome addition to the growing corpus of critical works on the Indian Independence struggle." — P.S. Sri, ariel

Whose India? combines the rigors of solid academic analysis with a fluid and directed style which make it both a pleasure to read and an intellectual treat.” — John L. Hill, Concordia University

“A significant contribution to postcolonial thinking about India and one in which the theorizing emerges from the text instead of being applied to it.” — Balachandra Rajan, author of Under Western Eyes: India from Milton to Macaulay


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Teresa Hubel is Assistant Professor of English, Huron College, University of Western Ontario.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1. Containing Indian Nationalism: Kipling's Struggle 13

2. A Memsahib and Her Not-So-Simple Adventures 45

3. Liberal Imperialism as a Passage to India 71

4. The High-Caste Hindu Woman as a Site of Contest in Imperailist/Nationalist India 109

5. Gandhi, Ambedkar, and Untouchable 147

6. Nostalgia and 1947 179

Notes 209

Bibliography 223

index 231
Sales/Territorial Rights: North America

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1718-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1708-1
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