Enlightenment in the Colony: The Jewish Question and the Crisis of Postcolonial Culture

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The past, or rather the question of the past, plays a crucial role in this crisis, and part of my purpose here is precisely to document this role. Nor am I concerned here with Zionism or Muslim separatism per se. Instead, this book targets those moments at which liberal culture attempts, sincerely, as it were, to resolve the question of the Jews—or, in India, of the Muslims. Similarly my aim throughout this book is to show the manner in which the effects of minority experience are produced. My real focus is therefore on the process of minoritization, the pressures exerted on language, literature, culture, and identity in the process of becoming minoritized.

Thus the broader literary concern here is to raise some fundamental questions about how we read literature in terms of certain dominant models of social cohesion, namely, those that have been tied historically in varying ways in the modern era to the cultural forms of the nation-state. This is to read nation and nationalism on their own terms, however, the terms in which they demand we read them. What these critics fail to account for fully is that nationalism has historically been a great disrupter of social and cultural relations, that its reconstitution of societies and populations in terms of distinct narratives of collective life always implies setting forth an entire dynamic of inclusion and exclusion within the very social formation that it claims as uniquely its own and with which it declares itself identical.

More simply put, whenever a population is minoritized—a process inherent in the nationalization of peoples and cultural practices—it is also rendered potentially movable. Minority, in the sense in which I use this term, is always potentially exile, and exile is an actualization of the threat inherent to the condition of minority.

In the remainder of this introductory chapter, I shall attempt to reopen the question of decolonization, postcolonial selfhood, and the legacies, broadly conceived, of the Enlightenment. Its critique of the categories of nation and state is a self-consciously immanent one, and seeks to dislodge their stability from within.

It therefore confronts the risk of reproducing those categories as the only possible way to elude their reproduction. Criticism of the state of contemporary society and culture in South Asia can only begin with a keen sense of the enormity of what has taken place. The historical process explored here is part of us, part of the very critical thought that seeks to comprehend it. On the other hand, the critique of state secularism is reduced to conceptual and practical incoherence, as I shortly argue at some length, if it fails to take stock of its own reliance on the secular culture of critique.

It hurts like an injury that has healed and yet has retained somehow a trace of the original pain linked to many different things—memories, values, sentiments. Modes of transition to modern forms of culture that have been mediated through the experience of colonial subjugation share the inability to produce narratives of cultural continuity that can absorb the dislocations of modernity. It appears as that which has become alien to the self, a marginal and threatened fragment of life, but a fragment out of whose lineaments one might attempt to recall what was once all of life.

The task of a postcolonial literary criticism, therefore, as G. Such a literature can only be produced in a society that has its foundation in a metaphysical tradition. My own opinion is this: that until the writers of the East absorb within themselves the literary process that began with Flaubert and Baudelaire, as well as Joyce, Pound, and Lawrence, they will not be able to produce a meaningful literature. In Urdu literary culture in the last century and a half, has been the object of repeated and obsessive attention, with the revolt and its aftermath coming to mark the moment of catastrophe, and this obsessive reopening of the question of rupture has itself become the condition of possibility of creativity for successive literary generations.

The literature of a period, movement, or school, or the oeuvre of an individual author, may thus be evaluated in terms of the kind of response it embodies and the social, cultural, and psychological implications of that response. I suggest instead that they are the results of a common underlying problematic and that Askari himself surely would not have seen his later views as an abandonment of his earlier ones. Modernism makes available a kaleidoscopic perception of the fragmented reality of modern subjective experience, of modernity as a fallen condition.

This perception allows the critic to begin the work of recovery both of tradition and of self through tradition. But at no point can either account of Indian reality open itself up adequately to the other. It does not attempt to settle, once and for all, this question, which under no circumstances do I take to be a spurious or illusory one.

The enormity of what has been ruined is not in doubt, and evidence of its destruction is everywhere to be seen. It comes to us already constituted as an object of Orientalist knowledge. I shall return to these questions at some length in later chapters. The wound cannot be healed by the attempt to resurrect an undifferentiated tradition. To the nize that there is now no unmediated gesture in criticism that would pretend to reanimate an auratic recollection of the past, we may counterpose what I call vernacular modernities, a formulation I shall return to shortly.

But each writer is alert in his own way to the ethical consequences of this reopening of the question of the past and views social space as inherently secular, as that which is always in excess of narrative claims about the past and must be shared with others. This segment appears in part 1 of the book, marked by the author as compositions of It is part of a set of paragraphs that begin the transition from elaborations of the private experience of exile to larger cultural and political concerns, a transition which, according to the dedication, structures each of the parts of the book as a whole.

Thus, in no. And in no. They will know how to do it better than the most gifted among us. It calls, above all, for the recognition that the system can absorb and work over that which claims to be unequivocally outside it. Knowledge and power are one; hence the cataclysmic dangers and utopian possibilities that accompany any movements in knowledge and culture. In fact, this reappearance does not lack its own dialectic. Nehru describes his travels across the length and breadth of India during the electoral campaign of — Often, as I wandered from meeting to meeting, I spoke to my audience of this India of ours, of Hindustan and of Bharata, the old Sanskrit name derived from the mythical founder of the race.

I seldom do so in the cities, for there the audiences were more sophisticated and wanted stronger fare. But to the peasant, with his limited outlook, I spoke of this great country for whose freedom we were struggling. My question would amuse them and surprise them, and then, not knowing exactly what to answer, they would look at each other and at me.

On the Jewish Question

I persisted in my questioning. At last a vigorous Jat, wedded to the soil from immemorial generations, would say that it was the dharti, the good earth of India, that they meant. What earth? Their particular village patch, or all the patches in the district or province, or in all of India? And so question and answer went on, till they would ask me impatiently to tell them all about it.

I would endeavour to do so and explain that India was all this that they had thought, but it was much more. Bharat Mata, Mother India, was essentially these millions of people, and victory to her meant victory to these people. I have a great deal more to say about the gendered nature of this resolution in chapter 4.


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His use of it is entirely self-conscious and instrumental: it is the language he must speak when he addresses the masses, even as his goal is to shake its hold over their minds, to lead them to a secular and rational sense of themselves as the nation. As Chatterjee explicitly states at numerous points in his study, his aim is precisely to attempt to dislodge the self-representation of Nehruvian nationalism as the end point of a natural national development.

A critical secularism in South Asia today must confront the contradictions of its own genealogy, even as it challenges the accusation of its purported alienness to Indian and South Asian society. The main lines of development of Subaltern Studies, despite the best and repeatedly expressed intentions of its leading practitioners, have failed to take up this constellation of issues with the seriousness it deserves. Through a close engagement with a range of texts, mostly but not exclusively literary, the aim is to provide a critique—which I see as inevitably an immanent one—of a wide terrain of secularist culture in modern and contemporary South Asia, a critique which, as already discussed at some length above, is not to be confused with the anti-secularist gesture.

Such a critique confronts Nehruvian secularism with the demand that it radicalize and, in fact, secularize itself. It is the social and cultural residue of this positivist concept of the nation that concerns me in this book. The larger aim in chapters 1 and 2, which comprise part 1, is to describe the dialectic of abstract citizenship and national belonging, and to delineate the meanings of Jewishness within each moment of this dialectic. My aim here is to construct a European stage for the literary elaboration of Jewishness as crisis for modern, liberal subjectivity. The epilogue brings the argument of the book full circle—to the question of Jewishness—but, as it were, by ending up in a different place.

A small industry has appeared in recent years that allows individuals to make a tidy living within the increasingly institutionalized terrain of postcolonial studies by denouncing this terrain and its problematics, and by claiming piously to refrain from the use of the concept itself.


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  7. And, as I have argued elsewhere, modes of analysis associated with categories like postcolonial literature have failed so far to facilitate an adequate response from the literary discipline in the United States at least to the challenge of undoing the Eurocentric structure of its knowledge forms and incorporating non-Western literary traditions on something like an equal footing.

    That political decolonization as a global process has resulted in the emergence of a new system for the production and management of global inequality— whether it is called neo-colonialism, dependency, globalization, or simply Empire—does not vitiate the fact that it nevertheless represented a real and dramatic change in lived experience on a global scale. Critique of contemporaray, postcolonial globality does not require that we not recognize and pay tribute to what was historically achieved by those who struggled in and against the colonial world; in fact, it requires it.

    We have all been shaped by that achievement, and to fail to recognize this in the name of an anti-systemic politics is to betray that politics itself. It is political emancipation itself, the political manner of emancipating oneself from religion. With characteristic clarity, Marx noted the centrality of the Jews to the emergence of the forms of modernity—capitalist relations of economic production, the secular and universalist state, the money form, Enlightenment legacies of tolerance and critique, uniform and abstract citizenship—not simply in sociological terms but rather as a site for the elaboration of the constitutive narratives of modern life.

    But if it is widely understood that the crisis over the Jews represents an irreducible feature of modern Western life, it is not generally perceived that its consequences are global in nature, that is, that it now represents an irreducible feature of a globalized modernity as such. In this book I take seriously, and with an eye to its many implications, the assertion that the fate of the Jews of Europe carries implications not simply for Europe and its peoples but for the projects of modernity as a whole.

    It has become a commonplace method in the comparative study of minority-majority relations to counterpose what is seen as the universalism of liberal citizenship to the exclusivism and narrowness of national belonging, a procedure inherent to the practice and self-perception of liberal politics itself.

    This sometimes takes the form of a historical narrative— Enlightenment followed by Romantic-nationalist reaction—and sometimes the form of ideal-type analysis in which different nation-state formations are compared for their more or less inclusive political traditions, with Germany and France often representing the two oppositional poles.

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    This chapter, and the book as a whole, opens up, on the one hand, the legal or political question of citizenship towards an exploration of wider notions of personhood, community, and subjectivity, which the legal or political discourses themselves repeatedly rely upon, point towards, and blend into; on the other, this chapter dismantles the self-abstraction of liberal culture from the more patently troubled history of romantic nationalism.

    This tension between, as it were, emancipation and assimilation is a central problematic in the history of the Jewish Question, often misperceived as a tension between practices as well as theories of social cohesion that differ in their treatment of the Jews. It is, instead, a constitutive tension in the emergence of the forms of liberal culture and society as a whole and marks the centrality of the Jews to this emergence. This constitutive freedom of the abstract subject, as much as the myth of autochthony of an individual people, is brought to crisis in the minor practices, narratives, and locations of Jewish existence.

    I am particularly interested here in the involvement of liberalism with this manner of conceiving of a resolution to the question of the Jews. The social, political, and cultural history of Jewish emancipation has, of course, taken rather different forms in the various European countries, as well as in different regions within individual countries themselves, depending upon a host of factors ranging from long-standing cultural traditions to varying processes of economic, social, and political modernization, and I draw here upon material from the British, German, and French contexts.

    In other words, I attempt to read the works that concern this book as European texts, a task that will also involve, wherever possible, an endeavor to make visible the translation of these local or national themes and questions into that pan-European context. The difference from even the so-called Jew Bill controversy of in England is a marked one.

    Although the bill was repealed after an eruption of both popular and organized Tory antiSemitism, it had in fact been concerned with the smallest of changes in the civil status of the Jews, easing to a degree some of the conditions for naturalization of foreign-born Jews alone. Not even the proponents of the bill, who hastily withdrew in light of the public outcry, imagined anything like the notion that uniformity of citizenship would be a basis for their views, which routinely would be the case from the s onwards not just in France and Germany but in England as well.

    The two works cap a remarkable relationship, legendary in its own time for intellectual collaboration, held up then and throughout the nineteenth-century as exemplary of the Enlightenment cult of friendship across the divisions of religious difference. The Crusades and the Reconquista, those twin fevers of the medieval world, which preoccupied and affected in profoundly different ways communities of Muslims, Christians, and Jews over the course of centuries throughout the Old World, have provided powerful motifs and topoi in modern literature for navigations of the terrain of culture and violence, secular life and religious difference, Enlightenment and community.

    Urdu literary imagination at least from Sharar onwards, in the life and work of Muhammad Iqbal, above all, but also with a number of non-Urdu writers like Rushdie, whose origins lie within the larger milieu of the Urdu-speaking world, has repeatedly been sparked by engagements with the motifs of this medieval Spain of modern literature. Nathan, left alone by Saladin to think through his answer, launches into a soliloquy.

    Nathan immediately recognizes that he is being dissembled with. For if no Jew, he might well ask, then why Not Musulman? And that can save me! The play enacts a utopian scenario in which the absolutist state is confronted with the need for the legitimation of authority and is transformed in that moment of self-recognition in accordance with the universal laws of reason. Lessing himself suggests such a view in The Education of the Human Race The modern state, in other words, is asking the Jew to explain himself in terms of the simple question: Who are you?

    In enlightened society, that is, the Jew cannot simply be a sign of himself in his difference, as he is so long as he remains contained within the late medieval and early modern structure of the ghetto. The Jew is necessarily faced with the now fraught question of identity: Who are you? This value is, of course, political identity or, put more precisely, citizenship. Naturalness and arbitrariness coexist in a complex fashion within the enlightened present.

    In fact, one might say that, in the use of moneyas-sign as metaphor for the citizen, the two narratives of progress—the representational-semiotic and the political—are fused and made one. If there were elements of passion he could not render, if, in other words, actor could be distinguished from character, it would indicate that a natural sensibility or passion had intruded into his art. Like the great actor, therefore, the private individual is not himself when he appears in public in the role of citizen.

    This is the Jewish emancipation that liberalism promises from its very inception. On the other hand, his very communal and thus corporate existence threatens continuously to expose the bourgeois claim to universality. Hence the contradictory charge that bourgeois society directs at the Jew: the latter is both accused of being not rooted and hence cosmopolitan, and resented for having that which society as a whole is being denied, that is, meaningful community. In other words, the continuing crisis that the Jews represent for the discursive production of the citizen is posed, in social terms, as the intransigence of a segment of social reality in the face of a universal principle, its failure so far to realize that ideal.

    The question so elaborately staged in Nathan concerns the impossible conditions under which the Jew may acquire the attributes of citizen. But this tableau of family happiness, in which time itself appears to stand still, is undermined by a sense of crisis threatened and barely averted, a knowledge of incestuous union prevented in the nick of time.

    For the Templar, the moment of his recognition of his connection to Saladin, and the moment of Recha entering the space of the sexually taboo, are one and the same. It is in that act of enlightened self-control that the new community comes into being. The Jew, as I have tried to show, creates an ongoing crisis for the notion of society as community of citizens, both highlighting and undermining the arbitrariness that underlies the concept of citizen itself. In the era of emancipation, the liberal imagination turns repeatedly to the possibility of secular redemption of the Jews as a means to the redemption of society, as in Daniel Deronda, a key work for an understanding of these thematics in the literature of the modern West, to which I turn in the next chapter.

    The ending of the play is thus a highly charged moment, in which the central dynamic tensions of the play as a whole are made apparent, and the ending itself has a resonant history in the cultural politics of the Jewish Question. That answer alone took into account the reality of persecution. What it does accomplish is to strip the Jews of the possibility of having a distinct political identity that might become the basis for a struggle for rights, a distinctly Jewish political struggle, as Arendt puts it, alongside other oppressed peoples.

    What begins to become apparent here is an early expression of the liberal involvement with the question of Jewish existence; my effort in this book is to chart the history of elements of this involvement. This is a constitutive ambivalence of liberal citizenship, and it is reinscribed and reemerges in one form or another in all later attempts to claim modern subjectivity through a proclamation of citizenship.

    The nineteenth-century Indian version of this claim is perhaps best known in Western literature through its cruel but brilliant parody in Kipling, to which I turn in the next chapter. Here I examine at some length the possibilities of the emergence of distinctly minor-Jewish claims for emancipation and equality out of these unstable, tenuous spaces of liberal culture, and of calls for the withdrawal of the demand that the Jews adjust to the forms of an external modernity.

    It is in this context that the paradox of the Jewish intellectual attachment to, and critique of, the Enlightenment and its legacies becomes meaningful. Signs of Citizenship: Jewish Existence and the Critique of Enlightenment Lessing and Mendelssohn became involved in a controversy concerning the status of the Jews—Mendelssohn only anonymously—as early as This critical and political register is present throughout the book, a set of concerns that linger below the surface of the text even when the explicit concern seems to be theological or epistemological.

    Jerusalem begins by giving a classic and consistent philosophical account of the imperative for a separation of church and state. Civil society is based precisely on the renunciation of the right not to obey a law one does not believe in. The inalienability of convictions, furthermore, applies not only to the state but also to the church. The church, unlike the state, is not even based in a social contract, for it is founded on a relationship between man and God. But the arguments against oaths are sought in the nature of the act itself, not simply in a political claim on behalf of the Jews.

    Count them, and then still say that civil liberty cannot be granted to my oppressed nation because so many of its members think little of an oath! It is this slippage that, in the end, Jerusalem is meant to argue against and prevent. In looking more closely at the precise nature of this threat of dissolution inherent in the liberal promise of emancipation, we might consider the following remarks, made in the National Assembly on December 23, , by Clermont-Tonnerre, during the inconclusive debate regarding the granting of citizenship rights to Jews: The law cannot affect the religion of a man.

    It can take no hold over his soul; it can affect only his actions, and it must protect those actions when they do no harm to society. God wanted us to reach agreement among ourselves on issues of morality, and he has permitted us to make moral laws, but he has given to no one but himself the right to legislate dogmas and to rule over [religious] conscience. Or else create a national religion, arm yourself with a sword, and tear up your Declaration of Rights. It is in isolation as individuals that they can claim the rights and perform the duties, that is, acquire the attributes, of citizen.

    In the second part of Jerusalem, Mendelssohn anticipates this recurring and periodically renewed burden of Jewish existence in the era of emancipation and makes visible its reliance on the structures of Enlightenment itself. Knowing no revealed elements of faith, Judaism is therefore the closest of the positive religions to the natural religion of reason. In time, it would have proved more convenient to make two- or three-dimensional images of things.

    As long as one still used the things themselves or their images and outlines, instead of signs, this error was easily made. The coin was, at the same time, a piece of merchandise which had its own use and utility; therefore, the ignorant person could easily misjudge and wrongly speculate its value as a coin. Hieroglyphic script could, to be sure, partly correct this error. The former, we have seen, can lead to fetishization, either in the form of popular superstition or priestly esotericism.

    In Jerusalem the concrete language of actions appears not simply as not primitive but in fact as essential for Enlightenment itself. It is that crucial third term which prevents Enlightenment from degenerating into an endless oscillation between the other two poles. As we have seen, Jewish ceremonial law, for Mendelssohn, compels actions, not beliefs, actions, furthermore, that are directed at other human beings. The Jewish body, subject to a communally recognized body of revealed law, thus stands as a living, concrete critique of the structure of indifference within which the citizen subject is located and produced.

    One pictures the collective entity of the human race as an individual person and believes that Providence sent it to school here on earth, in order to raise it from childhood to manhood. In reality, the human race is—if the metaphor is appropriate—in almost every century, child, adult, and old man at the same time, though in different places and regions of the world.

    This does not mean simply that a space is being created here for a Jewish existence in at least an angular relationship with the Enlightenment discourse of citizenship and civil society but rather that the very terms in which we conceive of Enlightenment are being rewritten from the vantage point of that existence. The consequences of this rewriting, in other words, are not merely to fall upon the Jewish minority but upon society as a whole.

    Am I more secure there? In this image of the two-storied house Mendelssohn manages to displace the very structure within which the call for conversion is voiced—a Christian representative of the Enlightenment asking the Jew to recognize that laying claim to personal enlightenment means abandoning Judaism. It contains not the relationship of one religious tradition to another, the emergence of the Christian Bible out of the Hebrew one, but rather embodies the secular structure of citizenship within which Jew and Christian are mutually inserted.

    In the last major works of their respective careers, Lessing and Mendelssohn both turned to the image of the Holy City in leaving us with sketches of enlightened community. In other words, the result of the Napoleonic expedition was to put in place the machinery for the management of otherness that has regulated relations between Western and non-Western societies in the modern era.

    Mendelssohn responds to the pressures of Enlightenment reason on Jewish faith and experience by arguing that a chasm separates superstition—whose danger is potentialized for him in the form of writing he calls hieroglyphs—and rational abstraction— represented by alphabetic writing. The very basis of Judaism, and hence Jewish identity, is therefore tied to the possibilities of the dialectic of Enlightenment; its rationality lies in that it offers action—that is, our orientation toward our fellow human beings—instead of symbols as signs of religious truths.

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    In this sense the very body of the Jew, visibly governed by Mosaic legislation, becomes a means of averting the collapse of true Enlightenment, not just in the lives of the Jews themselves but of society as a whole. But here it is important to note that the radically democratic aspect of this formulation is its insistence that Enlightenment itself requires that it is the majority, and not the minority—which faces, in every demand that is made of it, the possibility of extinction—that must yield on the question of those cultural accommodations that make enlightened community possible. The Napoleonic wars, of course, mark a turning point for the intellectual history of the modern West.

    In each of these works the question of modern identity is linked in complex ways to the nature of linguistic practices and the boundaries of language. They make an unannounced appearance, for instance, in the fourth address, which is, for my purposes, the central section of the work, in which the conceptual resources of German idealism are brought to bear on the elaboration of a theory of national culture and language, a theoretical account, as David Martyn has suggested, with deeply allegorical resonances.

    The higher or supersensuous concepts of any language can only take the form of images provided by the sensuous domain, so that the body of supersensuous conceptions of a given culture depends in very crucial ways on its accumulated sensuous perceptions deposited in the common language. On the contrary, the production of higher conceptions in any language always depends on the accumulated knowledge already contained within it.

    I am not speaking here of political emancipation. Not constitutional change, certainly, and not a material change in the lives of the great majority of Jewish Berliners, but a remarkable change in the role Jews came to play in Berlin high society. Patriotic anti-French feeling and disdain for the slogans of the Revolution were on a continuum with the growing hostility toward the Jews.

    More important, however, these remarks represent a rewriting of the entire gamut of notions of belonging and locatedness, such as nation, tradition, and culture. This critical effort requires a clear recognition of the impossibility of standing entirely outside the language of national belonging, of nation-thinking, even as it seeks to shatter the myth of origin the latter simultaneously produces and relies upon. The prosthetic quality of the foreign word becomes a means to unnerving linguistic nationalism by subjecting the organicism of the native tongue to interrogation. Mynherr Calf, too, becomes Monsieur de Veau in the like manner: he is Saxon when he requires tendance, and takes a Norman name when he becomes a matter of enjoyment.

    But it was not until the reign of Edward the Third that the mixed language, now termed English, was spoken at the court of London, and that the hostile distinction of Normans and Saxons seems entirely to have disappeared. For the novel also suggests that, for better or for worse, that is what Englishness simply is and ought to be. It is only with the departure of the Jews from England that English history proper may be said to begin. Tolerance toward and affection for the Jew and the will to convert therefore go hand in hand in this encounter, as Ragussis noted in his singular account of the conversionist impulse in nineteenth-century English writing.

    But if, on the one hand, Ivanhoe links the possibility of toleration to the ideology of conversion, on the other, it raises complex questions about the interconnections between the conversion of the Jews and the end of their wandering existence, including the possibility of their restoration to Palestine. Here again the novel draws upon prevalent discourses and concerns about the meaning of Jewish existence in a Europe of nations.

    In the thought of the Evangelical Revival, for instance, conversion of the Jews and their restoration to Palestine, or removal from Christian Europe, are inextricably linked and intertwined. I return at some length to the precise nature of this sublation in the next chapter. The restoration of a Jewish queen on the throne of Palestine, in other words, could come about through the paradox of a secularization of the Western claim on the Holy Land, ascribed in this novel to the atheistic Frenchman.

    The episode points to the absence of a properly English alternative to the French, the former either obsessed with converting the Jews or indifferent to their fate. In the end the Jews are shown to prefer exile in Islamic lands to this Euro-Christian assimilation. The departure of the Jewish characters from Christian Europe at the end of the novel therefore recalls the ongoing consequences of the defeat of Napoleon for Jewish hopes for political emancipation and survival in Europe.

    In Ivanhoe, in other words, the new political order emerging in Europe is explored from the perspective offered by the question of the existence of the Jews, and Scott gives his readers an account, by means of a displacement onto the medieval world of Plantagenet England, of the dilemmas of Jewish life on its entry into a Europe of nations. On the other hand, it is important to remember that while assimilationism has been the main response of Marxist thought and practice in the twentieth century to the crisis of minority, this is only part of the picture.

    Each of these positions has been taken at different times, for instance, by Indian Communism, regarding the question of Muslim separatism and the Partition of India. He had spent his childhood in that atmosphere of emancipation, and his young adulthood under the conditions of the Restoration. This opening passage leads immediately into a historical narrative, and the present decrepitude of the town is contrasted with its ancient majesty and its relatively free and open communal life in those early centuries. The great persecution of the Jews began, we are told, with the Crusades, and raged furiously in the mid-fourteenth century.

    Outrage was piled upon outrage, oppression upon oppression, until Jews even came to be accused of the ritual murder of Christians at Passover. Then all at once. The resources of culture are therefore always unheimlich, and thus Heine makes possible a critique of the nation as a form of social existence based on the notion of being at home while at the same time revealing the hoax of this heimlich sensibility. A precise image for this narrative strategy is the biblical Abraham in the cited passage itself, engaged in an unending process of breaking the idols—and here it is the secular apotheosis of the modern nation that is in question—which repeatedly re-create themselves.

    In other words, Jewishness-minority becomes here the site and means for arriving at the perception that the canonization of national history requires a forgetting of this ghostly procession, which nevertheless can never be entirely erased from memory. It is a complex strategy. A geographic region—the Rhineland—and its culture are made to stand in for German national culture, and this regional-national imagery is then itself placed under a question mark.

    In his exploration of the meaning of Judaism in enlightened society, Mendelssohn distinguished between Jewish faith and ritual observance, assimilating the former entirely to an unrevealed religion of reason in order to preserve the latter as outward tokens of that faith, required by revelation.

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    It is an unintended sign of the success of this rationalization project that these tokens, to which Mendelssohn attributes a religious but merely mnemonic function, are now transformed into the secular signs of Jewish culture, and hence into the potential means of a political instrumentality. Thus those routine dismissals of the Wissenschaft des Judentums by self-described Zionists like Scholem, which characterize it as a variety of apologetics for assimilation, miss the larger point entirely, namely, that the Wissenschaft represents in the intellectual history of the Jewish Question the establishment and canonization of the idea of Jewish culture, without which the Zionist idea itself cannot be conceived.

    But I have in mind here the back-and-forth movements he makes throughout his life regarding the process of intellectual secularization, embodying not an unambiguously secular or atheistic consciousness but one that is still negotiating between emancipation and Enlightenment, on the one hand, and, on the other, various forms of religious belief, identity, and spirituality. For at stake here, the question the work confronts, is the location of Jewishness as minority within the emerging discourse of European national cultures.

    In other words, The Rabbi of Bacherach represents an attempt to reinscribe the problem of national culture from a location within the nation-space that makes visible the produced and tentative nature of that space. The attempt in the nineteenth century to assimilate the Jews into any of the European nation-states, no matter how sincere, is thus one almost intended to fail and to remain an open question. The cultural position that eventually produces the idea of the Jewish nation and of a Jewish homeland is located within this constitutive failure and represents, paradoxically, the fullest possible assimilation of the Jews to Western modernity, as a Western nation among the nations.

    It is to this latter conjuncture, in Britain and its empire in particular, which were to prove so crucial to the establishment of the Zionist enterprise in Palestine, that I now turn. A great summation of the century of emancipation that preceded it, Daniel Deronda in effect brings that century to a close.

    Nineteenth-century British culture is, of course, an imperial culture in a strong sense of the word—a relatively uncontroversial judgment at this time, not only for its critics but also for its defenders. But it should be noted here that these questions continue to be at stake in more recent readings of the novel, even where the debt to Said, positive or negative, is left unacknowledged.

    However, it does put in place the basic narrative structure that Zionist thought would come to take for granted and depend on: it seeks to bring a non-European space within the purview of the narratives of European modernity, by reinscribing it as a space appropriate for the resolution of those European narratives.

    Affect and reason continually collapse into each other, Eliot repeatedly points out, and any attempt to institute a rational social order without the binds of fellow-feeling itself turns into a kind of superstition, an irrationality, as the narrative persona puts it in The Impressions of Theophrastus Such. In Deronda, the growing cosmopolitanism of the metropolis is countered not with the moral economy of Old England, as in a number of the earlier novels, but rather is confronted head on in the form of the Jews. This capacity for sympathy is precisely what Jewishness is, or at least is capable of.

    This observation has a certain relationship to the more radical perception in the nineteenth century that the very success of modern capitalist civilization over earlier forms of community and belief, and, of course, over its selfproduced specters in , constitutes the greatest threat to its integrity and even to its existence.

    In particular she stages here the tensions, but also the overlaps and slippages, between the emerging Jewish national idea, as expounded in the episode by Mordecai, and the other liberal concept and possibility, namely, assimilation. But I am for getting rid of all our superstitions and exclusiveness. Furthermore, he links this question to the question of rationality itself.

    Lewes, an important journey in personal terms, constituting in effect a public announcement of her association with Lewes. It thrilled me to think that Lessing dared nearly a hundred years ago to write the grand sentiments and profound thoughts which this play contains. In England the words which call down applause here would make the pit rise in horror. But perhaps this issue ought to be recast as a question about what kind of a Jew precisely we expect Daniel might turn out to be, to which I return shortly. In sum, then, Jewishness appears conspicuously in Deronda as a body of writing.

    What is the citizenship of him who walks among a people he has no hearty kindred and fellowship with, and has lost the sense of brotherhood with his own race? It remains external to our being. The most far-reaching claim of a distinctly and exclusively Jewish nationality and the most farreaching defense of a dissolution into a Europe of nations thus share a conception of citizenship as mere raiment, the one rejecting this outer covering in the name of the irreducibly Jewish body-substance, the other putting it on in order to insist on the uniformity of human substance.

    The universalism of the liberal ideals is tempered by pointing to their emergence in history, and history itself is viewed as the slow accretion of the collective life in common of a people. Thus the encounter also highlights the role of women in the demarcation of community and culture. Thus the life of performance and the stage is both linked to the Jews—Klesmer, Lapidoth, Leonora, and the young Daniel—and at the same time is the site of the potential dissolution of their traditional communality.

    Dubois and beyond. In this sense, then, Jewish nationalism in the novel, like assimilationism, also consists of this paradox and peculiarity: they are both forms of Jewishness that are meant to put an end to Jewishness. DD, As readers of the novel have long noted, this non-Jewish element in the makeup of the future leader of the Jews is provided by the upbringing of an English gentleman. The mother tongue itself, in other words, is under a question mark and indeterminate. Is he a Great Unknown? Vandernoodt puts it to him DD, In Nathan, as in Deronda, father and daughter are separated at the end of the story.

    It has long been argued, from various critical positions, that Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda bring the development of the realist novel as a genre near to completion to such an extent that it begins to reach out beyond itself toward formal possibilities that become fully apparent only some decades later. But it is in the narrative structure of Deronda that the relationship of liberal culture to the Jewish minority is most conspicuously inscribed. The imperial structure of global geography that the nineteenth-century novel, according to Said, takes for granted is here brought to bear upon what is usually taken to be a domestic problem in order precisely to make it a global one.

    The narrative of European wholeness and integrity can thus reclaim its continuity. Nothing can better elucidate that what Eliot seeks is the normalization of the Jews by being rendered like a nation among the other European nations, but a normalization that cannot, paradoxically, take place within the European home itself.

    If, within the national space, the assimilation of the Jews can only be conceived of as their disappearance into the larger society, on this larger stage it means assimilating into a Europe of nations as a nation. It is thus not so much the presence of the Jews in Western societies that is itself the problem but rather their nonnational relationship to any of these societies.

    Visible within the interstices of this project of advocacy for the rights of the Jews is therefore a deep ambivalence. The anxieties of Theophrastus, however, put these transformations in a clearer light. The persistence of the Jewish Question poses a threat to the very accomplishments of liberal politics and culture in Europe, making it imperative to solve the problem by displacing it onto non-European spaces. The massive transfers of populations that these modes of thought routinely envision, legitimize, and often precipitate therefore carry within them something like the imperial impetus of this originary attempt in nineteenth-century European society to solve its crisis of minority, in the will to restructure and reinvent often more than one society that is inherent in them.

    Because of its, as it were, universal nature, that is, because by its very nature it takes every society with a Jewish population under its purview, Jewish nationalism provides a sort of privileged instance for a critical understanding of the trajectory of romantic and political nationalism in the modern era. This was grasped by those early—that is, pre—critics of Zionism, like Arendt, who had a complex, insider-outsider relationship to it. In the story Lalun, a courtesan of unmatched beauty and accomplishments, lives in a small house perched on the city wall.

    As mourners march in public processions, the British administration and the narrator himself expect sectarian rioting between Hindus and Muslims with the certainty of a change of seasons. The narrator and Wali Dad are out in the streets, the latter full of sarcasm at the religious enthusiasm on display. Lalun and her accomplices, the fat gentleman and Wali Dad, wish to get him into the countryside, where, it is hoped, he will inspire a new generation of rebels.

    The British narrator now unknowingly performs the task that had been allotted to the young Muslim, a task he has failed in as a result of his own resurgent religious enthusiasm. Ya Hussain! CW, That Kipling would narrate the failure of an anti-British project as inevitable is hardly surprising.

    Enlightenment in the colony: the Jewish question and the crisis of - Aamir Mufti - Google книги

    Second, it takes the form not of a social movement but an intrigue. In that apartment, away from the dust and heat of the bazaar, men can come to entertain strange fancies. Moreover, Khem Singh was old, and anice-seed brandy was scarce, and he had left his silver cookingpots in Fort Amara with his nice warm bedding, and the gentleman with the gold pince-nez was told by those [presumably foreign powers] who had employed him that Khem Singh as a popular leader was not worth the money paid.

    There will never be any more great men in India.

    Naipaul and Salman Rushdie. In India, far away from the drab and diminished life of an industrializing society, something like an epic and romantic life becomes once again possible. The non-national subjectivity in question here is not Jewish but Indian and Muslim; empire is the name not of an impersonal global geography but of a personal, even intimate, tutelage and guardianship, and the nation in question is India itself, whose impossibility is the point of the story.

    Kipling is writing, emphatically, from within the colony, with the possibilities and limits of colonial culture becoming realized in the very form of the writing. In a later chapter I return to a more sustained assessment of the short story form in colonial India. Only in Kim is Kipling able to achieve that sweep within the novel form, even though the action of the plot remains limited to India itself. In that novel Forster brings to a climax and sums up the relationship of British liberalism to its Indian Empire.

    And when, in the aftermath of the trial, Aziz is visited by the hapless judge, Mr. It is not as though Forster appears unaware of the existence of anything beyond Islam and Muslims in India. I quote this densely packed and well-known passage in full: [Aziz] remembered that he had, or ought to have, a mother-land. No foreigners of any sort!

    Hindu and Muslim and Sikh and all shall be one! Hurrah for India! What an apotheosis! Last comer to the drab nineteenth-century sisterhood! Waddling in at this hour of the world to take her seat! Fielding mocked again. Clear out, you fellows, double quick, I say. We may hate one another, but we hate you most. In order for the liberal ideal of intimacy to be realized, the world itself would have to be different.

    Thus the purported ethical agency of the individual and the universalism of this ideal are brought up short in the face of the historical difference of colonial society, and liberal discourse is forced to carefully stage the nationalist critique of colonial relations, a critique whose truth it is able neither to accept nor fully to deny. Aware of the justice of the Indian sense of grievance, the novel nevertheless cannot view anticolonial nationalism as anything other than a species of sentimentality at best and tribalism at worst.

    The contrast with the late George Eliot could not be more striking. This relationship to colonial modernity may help to explain the curious position of the Muslim characters in A Passage to India. Parry has read the sequence of sections and section titles in the novel in terms of a metaphysical exploration of the relation of West to East. The Japanese? My own ancestors.

    It is not, in other words, primarily a cultural or metaphysical preference of the sort expressed by Forster elsewhere but rather a political one. When Aziz arrived, and found that even Islam is idolatrous, he grew scornful, and longed to purify the place, like Alamgir. Look at the King-Emperor High School! Look at you, forgetting your medicine and going back to your charms. These die, or kill themselves by overwork, or are worried to death or broken in health and hope in order that the land may be protected from death and sickness, famine and war, and may eventually become capable of standing alone.

    It will never stand alone, but the idea is a pretty one, and men are willing to die for it, and yearly the work of pushing and coaxing and scolding and petting the country into good living goes forward. A Passage to India represents the most detailed and complex literary colonial elaboration of the crisis of nationalism at the moment of its enlargement into a mass movement, and it is to this conjuncture of nationalism on the verge, as it were, of attaining India that I now turn. Inside, the compound was lined on three sides by barracks-like structures, with verandahs running along the length of each line of rooms.

    And, in India itself, British Indian troops had retreated back into the country, abandoning Burma to Japanese forces. There was widespread expectation of an invasion from across the border before the end of the year. When the inmates emerged from Ahmednagar Fort at various points in , they entered what appeared to them a new world.

    A new polarity of global power was emerging, and the full scale of the horrors of the genocide in Europe was becoming known. It is a canonical expression of nationalism at the threshold of its realization in the nation-state, published the year before independence from British rule. Azad personally embodies, perhaps more acutely than any other individual, the larger historical paradox that among the leading religious leaders and institutions almost no one supported the cause of the Muslim League until fairly late in the game, and many even fought strenuously against the eventual partition of India.

    It is a careful, yet mediated and highly elusive exploration of the terrain of culture and identity in a colonial society. In this chapter I begin to explore certain aspects of the crisis of national identity in modern India in the middle decades of the twentieth century. I am concerned in particular with responses to this crisis as they are formulated in the work of three leading practitioners of Urdu writing. It is the literary and linguistic terrain in which the resolutions of Indianness are most clearly visible, with all their contradictions.

    In part 1 of this book I attempted to outline some of the ways in which, in the post—Enlightenment era in Western Europe, the effort to expound and enact the universals of liberal culture was repeatedly brought up short in the form of the continuing crisis concerning the identity of the Jews and their role in society.

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    In this second part I am concerned with the intersections of Indian nationalism with this colonial structure. The ultimate moment of success for nationalism—its self-actualization in the postcolonial nation-state—is also the moment of the unmasking of its claim to represent society as a whole. The central question within this drama is whether the Muslims indeed constitute a minority. Mufti compares the concerns of early Zionism and Pakistani nationalism side by side in chapter 2. Pakistani issues dominate chapters 3 to 5. When he depicts language choice as mimetic of specific cultural trends, Mufti indicates the shape of Access options available:.

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    LOG IN. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Reviewed by:. Mufti, Aamir.

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