Title: Constructing a Durable National Identity: The Case of India
Dr. Milind Thakar (University of Indianapolis)
September 11, 2009
Student Building, room 150
Abstract: Winston Churchill said, "India is no more a geographic expression than the Equator." Underlying this statement is the fact that India's survival as a state flies in the face of seeming contradictions.
Its population is divided by primordial identity bonds more than it is united, namely by religion, caste, language and regionalism. A stable state after six decades of independence appears an anomaly not just in the region but also in the developing world at large where the legacy of colonial boundaries trumping national domains have created multi-ethnic polities that are chronically disunited. In this presentation I will outline how a national identity emerged in India by design and accident and has weathered challenges successfully until today. I will also discuss areas of concern and how durability of national identity can never be taken for granted.
Milind Thakar is Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Indianapolis. His research interests are in the fields of comparative democratization and national identity construction with an accent on the South Asian region.