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Performing Peace: Gandhi's assassination as a critical moment in the consolidation of the Nehruvian state

  • YASMIN KHAN (a1)

The consolidation of the Nehruvian state's sovereignty after Independence is traced here as a contingent event which was tightly linked to the impact of Gandhi's assassination and the mourning rituals which followed his death in 1948. The Congress was able to use the funeral, mortuary rituals and distribution of Gandhi's ashes to assert the power of the state and to stake the Congress Party's right to sovereignty. This intersected with localized and religious expressions of grief. Gandhi's death therefore acted as a bridge, spatially and temporally linking the distant state with the Indian people and underscoring transitions to Independence during the process of postcolonial transition from 1947–1950.

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Srirupa Roy , Beyond Belief: India and the Politics of Postcolonial Nationalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007)

Avner Ben-Amos , Funerals, Politics and Memory in Modern France, 1789–1996 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)

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Rebecca Saunders and Kamran Aghaie , ‘Introduction: Mourning and MemoryComparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 25 No. 1 (2005), p. 22

Stuart H. Blackburn , ‘Death and Deification: Folk Cults in Hinduism’, History of Religions, Vol. 24, No. 3 (February, 1985), pp. 255274

Thomas Blom Hansen and Finn Steputtat (eds), States of Imagination: Ethnographic Explorations of the Postcolonial State (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001)

Jim Masselos , ‘India's Republic Day: The Other 26 January’, South Asia Vol. 19 (special issue) (1996), pp. 183203

Peter Gottschalk , ‘A Mahatma for Mourners and Militants: the social memories of Mohandas Gandhi in Arampur’, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 25, No. 1 (2005), p. 56

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Modern Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0026-749X
  • EISSN: 1469-8099
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-asian-studies
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