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Being a State in India : from modern traditionality to modern cosmopolitanism : a historical overview


The paper will provide a historical evaluation of the process of State formation : the State as it existed in pre-colonial India, its development through successive periods of colonization, and the attempts that were made towards the (re) formation of State after India gained independence from colonial rule in 1947. Although the post -independent State is not the main focus of the paper, parallels with the contemporary modern State, as attempts have been made for its establishment since 1947, have been drawn with earlier epochs. A main purpose is to dispel the notion that State-formation in India was a discontinuous process, and that the contemporary State in India is a result of the sudden eruption of modern Statehood under foreign rule. Instead, continuity in the process of State- formation has been emphasized to make clear that the roots of the kind of nation-state that exists in contemporary India can be traced back to foundations that were laid down in the country several centuries ago. The paper concludes with a discussion of the thoughts and writings of Rabindranath Tagore who, in my view and as an attempt has been made to portray, represents, through his literary writings and views on education in particular, a personification of, what he calls, a "cosmopolitan Indian." The discussion of Tagore, although not directly concerned with the State, is a befitting conclusion portraying the development of the Indian people at the brink of entering, and making their mark in, an increasingly interactive and globalized world at large

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