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Tamils and the NationIndia and Sri Lanka Compared$
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Madurika Rasaratnam

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190498320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190498320.001.0001

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Becoming National

Becoming National

Tamils, Muslims and Congress in Colonial India

(p.49) 2 Becoming National
Tamils and the Nation

Madurika Rasaratnam

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains why the pan-ethnic conception of Indian national identity associated with the Indian National Congress was able to mobilize support in the Tamil-speaking areas, and therefore symbolically include Tamil identity, but could not do the same with Muslim politics. Congress efforts to win elections were opposed by counter-veiling mobilization in both the Tamil and Muslim electorates. It was able to overcome this opposition amongst Tamil voters but not amongst Muslims. The chapter shows that Congress success in the Tamil-speaking areas emerged from mobilization processes that adeptly incorporated key Tamil symbols, practices and claims. But its activities amongst the Muslim electorate were far more limited because of the Hindu nationalist affiliations of provincial level leaders.

Keywords:   Indian National Congress, Colonial India, Muslim, Hindu nationalism, Tamil, Revivalism, Elections, Mobilization, Provincial, Politics

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