Civics Citizenship

Citizenship and its Discontents: An Indian History by Niraja Gopal Jayal

By Niraja Gopal Jayal

Citizenship and Its Discontents explores a century of contestations over citizenship from the colonial interval to the current, examining evolving conceptions of citizenship as felony prestige, as rights, and as id

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Keith, 1922, 1: 384; emphasis added) This imperial proclamation was hailed by some as the Magna Carta of Indian liberties. Close to a century later, it was still being eulogized as being as dear to the hearts of Indians as the Sermon on the Mount was to that of orthodox Christians (Buch, 1938: 191). Dadabhai Naoroji, an adherent of the Magna Carta view, traced the rights of his compatriots even further back to 1669, the year of the earliest grant of territorial rights to the East India Company in the form of Bombay.

If these two declarations are not contradictory, then henceforward there will be no difference in colour between black and white. (quoted in Buch, 1938: 154) The press had acquired some importance in the first half of the nineteenth century; by the second half, the English language press enjoyed an undisputed supremacy as the voice of the English-educated citizenry.  . moreover, a Christian India . . a generally Anglicised India” (Collet, 1914: 208. 20 Almost a third of the founders of the Congress in 1885 were journalists, and the press—viewed as public service—was the main organ of publicity for nationalist ideas, and most prominent nationalist leaders, in different parts of India, ran a paper (Chandra, 1989: 102–103).

While there was sympathy in some quarters of the British establishment for the unfair denial of equal rights to Indian residents of the Dominions, there was little or no recognition of the denial of rights to Indians in India. That the rights available to Indians in Great Britain were not available to Indians within India4 did not strike the leaders of British public opinion as paradoxical or inconsistent. Again, in arguments for imperial citizenship, the putative bearers of citizenship included subaltern Indians abroad, but subaltern Indians within India were rarely part of the discursive realm of colonial citizenship claims.

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