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Hating Empire ProperlyThe Two Indies and the Limits of Enlightenment Anticolonialism$
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Sunil M. Agnani

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251803

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251803.001.0001

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/ Jacobinism in India, Indianism in English Parliament: Fearing the Enlightenment and Colonial Modernity

/ Jacobinism in India, Indianism in English Parliament: Fearing the Enlightenment and Colonial Modernity

Chapter:
(p.109) 4 / Jacobinism in India, Indianism in English Parliament: Fearing the Enlightenment and Colonial Modernity
Source:
Hating Empire Properly
Author(s):

Sunil M. Agnani

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823251803.003.0005

Chapter 4 examines the imbrication of Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France–written in the midst of the impeachment trial of Warren Hastings, head of the East India Company, in 1790–with his India writings. Theoretically, it argues against viewing revolutions as occurring first in Europe and then—in a methodological expression of “colonial lag time”—appearing later in the colonies. Rather Burke's striking observation that “Jacobinism and Indianism are the two great evils of our time” reveals coeval transformations taking place in Europe and in colonial India. The chapter recuperates a global vision that Burke's notion of Jacobinism implied in tandem with his later concept of Indianism (his own neologism). Jacobinism is linked with a particular understanding of the idea of prejudice, which the Jacobins wished to erase, treating the human persona as a tabula rasa. The violence of wiping this slate clean Burke ties to the necessary political violence he argues would follow. Indianism involved the despising of the rule of law, and delegitimizes the use of force by the colonial state, which in turn jeopardizes the imperial project. The chapter argues that colonial modernity is therefore constitutive of the very language of modernity in general.

Keywords:   Prejudice, Indianism, Jacobinism, Colonial-modernity

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