India after the 1857 Revolt : Decolonizing the Mind book cover
1st Edition

India after the 1857 Revolt
Decolonizing the Mind

ISBN 9781032349220
Published November 23, 2022 by Routledge
252 Pages

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Book Description

Weaving together the varied and complex strands of anti-colonial nationalism into one compact narrative, Christhu Doss takes an incisive look at the deeper and wider historical process of decolonization in India.

In India after the 1857 Revolt, Doss brings together some of the most cutting-edge thoughts by challenging the cultural project of colonialism and critically examining the multi-dimensional aspects of decolonization during and after the 1857 revolt. He demonstrates that the deep-rooted popular discontent among the Indian masses followed by the revolt generated a distinctive form of decolonization movement—redemptive nationalism that challenged both the supremacy of the British Raj and the cultural imperatives of the controversial proselytizing missionary agencies. Doss argues that the quests for decolonization (of mind) that got triggered by the revolt were further intensified by the Indocentric national education; the historic Chicago discourse of Swami Vivekananda; the nonviolent anti-colonial struggles of Mahatma Gandhi; the seditious political activism displayed by the Western Gandhian missionary satyagrahis; and the de-Westernization endeavours of the sandwiched Indian Christian nationalists.

A compelling read for historians, political scientists and sociologists, it is refreshingly an indispensable guide to all those who are interested in anticolonial struggles and decolonization movements worldwide.

Table of Contents




List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction: Colonialism, Culture and Decolonization

Locating the Roots of Culture and Nationalism in India

Culture, Power and Decolonization

Orientalists and Utilitarians: Black and White Divisions

Colonialism as a ‘Civilizing’ Mission

‘Messengers’ of Modernity

Revisionists and Rewriting of History

Dialogues, Negotiations and Contestations

Charter Act of 1813 and after

Decolonizing the Mind during and after 1857

Redemptive Nationalism: Mahatma Gandhi, Europeans and Americans

Subaltern Masses and Decolonization


2 First War of Indian Independence, Cultural Sensibilities and Roots of Decolonization

Fighting the Firangis

Expanding the Horizons of ‘Moral Conquest’

1857 Revolt and the Issue of ‘Cultural Contamination’

Cultural Sensitivities and Decolonization

3 Education, Forms of Knowledge and Trajectories of Decolonization

Contesting Cultural Imperialism

‘Moral Effects’ of English Education: Orientalists and Anglicists

Controversial Colonial Pedagogy

Education in Transition

Education, Knowledge and Power

National Education, Cultural Consciousness and Decolonization

Awakening Indians from Their ‘Deep Slumber’

4 From ‘Civilizing’ Mission to Decolonization: European Gandhian Satyagrahis in India

Nonviolence, Sedition and Declaration of Guilt

Making of Gandhian Satyagrahis

Politics and Passive Resistance

Friends of India

Confronting Colonial Ideologies: Ideal Satyagrahis

5 American Gandhians and Nonviolent Redemptive Nationalism in India

Pacifists and Decolonization

Contesting the Claims of European Supremacy

Expanding the Horizons of Decolonization

Nonviolent Crusade against the Colonial Highhandedness

American Gandhians and Redemptive Nationalism

6 Sandwiched Patriots, De-Westernization and Struggle for Independence

Nationalist Christians and Anti-Colonial Sentiments

Indianization/Hinduization of Missionary Religion

Ashrams and Churchless Christianity

Sandwiched Patriots

Christian Nationalists and Their Fault Lines

De-Westernization and Struggle for Independence

Concluding Observations



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M. Christhu Doss received his primary education from Tirunelveli Diocesan Trust Association (T.D.T.A.) Primary School (Kalungadi, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu, India), secondary education from Sankar Reddiyar Government Higher Secondary School (Nanguneri, Tirunelveli District), graduation from St. John’s College (Palayamkottai, Tamil Nadu), post-graduation from Manonmaniam Sundaranar University (Tirunelveli) and Doctorate programme from the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, India). He teaches history at Christ University, Bengaluru, India. His areas of academic research interest include modern South Asian history with a special focus on social, cultural and intellectual history of modern and contemporary India.


"In Dr. Christhu Doss's book India After the 1857 Revolt: Decolonising the Mind, we are treated to a clear, sophisticated, and pioneering analysis of decolonization in the Indian context. Dr. Doss's insights are penetrating and fresh. He asks questions that are not often asked. He plunges into primary sources and emerges with renewed perspectives, most poignantly around issues concerning colonial Christian missionary agencies, conversion, political resistance, and historical problematization rooted in the famous 1857 revolt. It is a fascinating read that revisits some of the key characters of the late 19th and early 20th century—characters that surely shaped the future of India—such as Annie Besant and Mahatma Gandhi.  Dr. Doss is at his very best when analyzing the complex relationship between Indian Christians, Western missionaries, and the emerging Indian independence from Britain. Dr. Doss successfully argues that Indian Christians were not fall-in-line supporters of British imperialism. Not at all. Rather, most Indian Christians were committed nationalists who challenged colonial hegemony. They worked for Indian independence, and an effective confluence of their beloved religion—Christianity—with their equally beloved motherland, India. I strongly recommend this book."---Dyron B. Daughrity, Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University in Malibu, California 

"This book is a richly documented study of the intercultural interactions of quite different stakeholders in mid-nineteenth century colonial India, coming together in resisting colonial suppression and missionary efforts to turn India into a Christian space. It traces how the movement of decolonisation, erupting in the unsuccessful 1857 Revolt as a key moment, was then carried forward to the inevitable transfer of power in 1947. Chapters on educational inputs, the role of Indian nationalists, Western Gandhian missionary satyagrahis, and Indian Christian patriots in this movement are woven into an intriguing account that retains much contemporary relevance in ongoing decolonisation struggles, now within a globalised context."---Werner Menski, Emeritus Professor of South Asian Laws, SOAS, University of London, UK