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Title: The torchbearers of progress : youth, volunteer organisations and national discipline in India, c. 1918-1947
Author: Roy, Fanziska
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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The thesis deals with volunteer bodies in India from the end of the Great War to c.1947. It examines the genealogy of these bodies as a projection surface for ideal citizenship, a space to experimentally put those ideas into practice and as site of a mobilisational drive ‘from below’ rendering these bodies contested spheres of national self-definition. The energies of ‘Youth’, both feared and desired by many actors, were sought to be disciplined into volunteer corps and utilised for the building of a disciplined ‘modern’ nation. ‘Youth’ and ‘volunteers’ thereby become mutually related categories, the former needing to be transformed into the latter. Several groupings of ‘volunteers’ appeared at the time, such as the Seva Dal, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Khaksars, and the Muslim National Guards, all of which were provided paramilitary training and were available for use not only for various ‘social service’ activities, but also political intervention and, when necessary, for displays of violence, the latter feature most evident during the Second World War and the communal violence leading up to Partition and Indian Independence. Three levels of analysis are undertaken herein: the first, of event history, which aims not at a comprehensive narrative but to provide illustrations of the operation and dynamics of youth and volunteer movements. The second is an intellectual history (or genealogy) of the movements, outlining a series of engagements with ideas relating to modernity as well as to organicist ideas of the nation as a body with its citizens as component parts. The third is a structural analysis of volunteer groups with their tendency to resemble one another. Such ‘family resemblance’ also reopens the question regarding the greater ideological formations of the first half of the twentieth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DS Asia