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Sukanya Banerjee - Becoming Imperial Citizens: Indians in the Late-Victorian Empire
Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net (2013)
  • Gautam Basu Thakur, Boise State University
Thomas Babington Macaulay’s “Minute on Indian Education” (1835) set out a conditional invitation to the colonized: learn English to become British in taste and culture while remaining Indian by blood and color. The transfer of rule from the East India Company to the Crown in 1858, and then the declaration of Victoria as the Empress of India, Kaiser-e-Hind, in 1877, extended similarly conditional prospects of assimilation to the colonized. Each of these invitations constituted an impossible transcendental Subjectivity that was to be desired by the racialized subjects of the Crown but never achieved. Sukanya Banerjee’sBecoming Imperial Citizens: Indians in the Late-Victorian Empire (2010) illustrates how the promise of imperial citizenry for the Indian was always an unrealizable dream: the prospect of gaining equal status as citizens of the empire was always deferred, as the colonized were found inadequate for that purpose. Unlike their counterparts in Canada and Australia, Indians were simply subjects of the British Empire. Yet, as Banerjee demonstrates here, this did not stop some Indians from eking out an (imperial) identity in relation to the imperial promise and its infinite deferral. Banerjee’s monograph is a riveting study of a handful of such individuals and the “narrative strategies” they adopted to “re-present themselves” against claims denying their participation in the imperial stage of citizenry (13).
Publication Date
April, 2013
Publisher Statement
This document was originally published in Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net by the Université de Montréal. This work is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. Details regarding the use of this work can be found at: doi: 10.7202/1025627ar
Citation Information
Gautam Basu Thakur. "Sukanya Banerjee - Becoming Imperial Citizens: Indians in the Late-Victorian Empire" Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net Vol. 63 (2013) ISSN: 19161441
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC_BY-NC-SA International License.