Being Hindu, Being Indian: Lala Lajpat Rai’s Ideas of Nationhood

Meticulously researched and eloquently written, Being Hindu, Being Indian offers the first comprehensive examination of Lajpat Rai’s nationalist thought.
ISBN: 9780670094073
GTIN: 9780670094073
AuthorVaidehi Bhargav, Vanya
Pub Date25/04/2024
BindingHardback
Pages336
Country of OriginIndia
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In popular imagination, Lala Lajpat Rai is frequently associated with Bhagat Singh, who, by assassinating J.P. Saunders, avenged Rai’s death, caused by a police lathi charge, and was hanged for it. Lajpat Rai is also remembered for his fervent opposition to British rule. In recent decades, however, historians have converged with the Hindu Right in rediscovering Lajpat Rai as an ideological ancestor of Hindutva. But what then explains Rai’s wholehearted approval of Congress–Muslim League cooperation, and attempt to endow Hindus and Muslims with bonds of common belonging? Why did he reinterpret India’s medieval history to highlight peaceful coexistence between Hindus and Muslims? Have our hasty conclusions about Lajpat Rai’s nationalist thought concealed its complexities and distorted our understanding of nationalism in general?

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