1st Edition

India after the 1857 Revolt Decolonizing the Mind

By M. Christhu Doss Copyright 2023
    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.




    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




    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