Indian Liberalism between Nation and Empire : The Political Life of Gopal Krishna Gokhale book cover
1st Edition

Indian Liberalism between Nation and Empire
The Political Life of Gopal Krishna Gokhale

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 11, 2022
ISBN 9780367470326
March 11, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
280 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book analyses the political thought and practice of Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915), preeminent liberal leader of the Indian National Congress who was able to give a ‘global voice’ to the Indian cause.

Using liberalism, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and citizenship as the four main thematic foci, the book illuminates the entanglement of Gopal Krishna Gokhale's political ideas and action with broader social, political, and cultural developments within and beyond the Indian national frame. The author analyses Gokhale’s thinking on a range of issues such as nationhood, education, citizenship, modernity, caste, social service, cosmopolitanism, and the ‘women’s question’, which historians have either overlooked or inserted in a rigid nation-bounded historical narrative. The book provides new enriching dimensions to the understanding of Gokhale, whose ideas remain relevant in contemporary India.

A new biography of Gokhale that brings into consideration current questions within historiographical debates, this book is a timely and welcome addition to the fields of intellectual history, the history of political thought, Colonial history and Indian and South Asian history.

Table of Contents




  • Why Gopal Krishna Gokhale?
  • Thematic foci and chapter preview
  • Literature and sources

Chapter 1: Liberalism

  • The promises of Western education
  • Teacher and journalist
  • Learning at Ranade’s feet
  • Coming to the political fore
  • Amidst ‘the stormy and uncertain sea of public life’
  • Conclusion

Chapter 2: Nationalism

  • Geographical entity or nation?
  • From India to Indians: A civil religion
  • Building the nation beyond the nation
  • Accommodating difference: The Muslim question
  • National pedagogies: The ‘Depressed Classes’
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3: Cosmopolitanism

  • A Hindu in the heart of Empire: A passage to England
  • Campaigning for the Indian cause in the Metropole
  • A liberal Empire?
  • The Universal Races Congress
  • A Moral Education for the Indian Youth
  • The South African question: a means to other ends?
  • Diaspora, empire, and nation
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4: Citizenship

  • Envisioning citizenship, making citizens
  • Serving India
  • Teaching temperance
  • Social rights between welfare and charity
  • Mass Education, National Development, Democracy
  • Conclusion



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Elena Valdameri is a postdoctoral researcher at the Chair for History of the Modern World, ETH-Zurich, Switzerland. She is a historian of modern South Asia, with specific interest and expertise in the history of political thought and the anticolonial movement.