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Janaki Bakhle

University of California
Berkeley (USA)

Italian nationalism and Indian fascism: Mazzini, Garibaldi, and Savarkar


I am a historian of modern South Asia. In my first book, I looked at the development of Indian classical music under colonialism, arguing that in response to colonial denigration of "native" music as mere "caterwauling," two key musician/musicologists produced for India a classical music with an antique pedigree, effectively placing a Hindu theory and history over a Muslim performative practice. In the process of cleansing music of its past associations with princely court indolence and debauchery, they sacralized it instead and turned classical music, newly genealogized, into a modernizing and nationalizing tool. In my second book I am writing an intellectual biography of the form of right wing Hindu nationalist politics that goes by the name of "Hindutva" by focusing on one of the key ideologues - V.D. Savarkar - of the idea that India is a Hindu nation.