Speaker: Tejaswini Niranjana
This book talk argues for situating the peculiar relationship between the invocation of ‘culture’ and the invocation of ‘modernity’ in post-colonial society within the problematic of translation. This double invocation – if we can call it that – often includes a third term, the nation or the national. Although the formation of nation-states in Asia has been for the most part a post-Second World War phenomenon, the configuration of culture-modernity-nation is a powerful one, that lasts almost until the turn of the millennium. The configuration produces a cultural-political entity that can be called the national-modern. This national-modern is founded on an act of translation which brings together modern ideas about subjectivity, the social, and the political through an interpretation that is profoundly local/national. Focusing on music – both classical and popular – I speculate on the making of the Indian national-modern in the subaltern Indian diaspora in Trinidad, and its future in ongoing collaborations with Chinese musicians.