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Title:The Body Politic: Imperial Masculinity, the Great War, and the Struggle for the Indian Self, 1914--1918
Author(s):McLain, Robert Anthony
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Arnstein, Walter L.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, Asia, Australia and Oceania
Abstract:I argue that this resulted in a bruising ideological struggle to either preserve or alter the qualities that defined Indian identity not just within the colony itself, but also in the transnational imperial world. The battle, carried out via the metropolitan and Indian presses, hinged upon the question of Indian masculinity. This tenet arguably served as the chief conceptual guarantor of continued British mastery over the subcontinent, undergirding not only its monopoly on higher-level positions in the colonial government, but also its military power. Indeed, the raj ruled by way of an "elegant symmetry" which represented the subcontinent's intelligentsia as "feminized," and thus unsuited to grasp the reins of power. Similarly, the so-called "martial races," which made up the bulk of the army, possessed the masculine traits for governance, but not the intellect. No one, concluded colonial authorities, seemed prepared to govern India save the level-headed epitome of manhood, the Englishman. The struggle for Indian identity thus became intimately connected to the question of "fitness for self-rule." This, I suggest, laid the intellectual groundwork for the postwar nationalist movement and served as a necessary component in transforming the drive for independence from one based on a small group of western educated elites to one rooted in Gandhian mass politics.
Issue Date:2003
Description:262 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3086136
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2003

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