‘The Rhetoric of Violence, Popular Nationalism, and
Juridical Force in Colonial India, 1906-1914’
Dr. Sukeshi Kamra,
Between 1906 and the 1914, nationalist propaganda was a rhetorical tour-de-force which far outmatched government’s attempts at counteracting and containing its spread. Using a variety of laws, the government seized, banned, and destroyed every copy but five of print material (including articles of clothing, such as dhotis) it deemed to be seditious and charged all who were associated with the authoring, printing, publication, and circulation of such material with disaffection. Ironically, due to this process, we have an imperial archive that allows us insight into the everyday forms of participation of the anonymous majority in the field of lexical nationalism. In this talk, the speaker will focus on the first years in which propaganda literature created a sensation. In particular, the talk will discuss the writings of the radical semi-organized underground that, in the years following the controversial 1905 partition of Bengal, most attracted government's attention. In so doing, the speaker hopes to shine light on what was the first sustained and coordinated attempt made to think the relationship between history and violence in the then emerging field of nationalist propaganda.
Dr. Sukeshi Kamra is Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Carleton University, Canada. She is also an Associate Professor in the English department, where she teaches courses in South Asian literatures and cultures as well as postcolonial theory. Her current interests lie in the field of resistant nationalism particularly in the engagement between the Indian periodical press and seditious libel law in late nineteenth and early twentieth century India. Her publications include The Indian Periodical Press and the Production of Nationalist Rhetoric, 2011.