Inventing a Muscular Global India: History, Masculinity, and Nation in Mangal Pandey: The Rising
This chapter unpacks a particular gendered vision of the nation, specifically in the context of muscular nationalism in modern India. In muscular nationalism, the idea of nation is animated by an idea of manhood associated with martial prowess, muscular strength and toughness, and is reliant on the image and construct of woman as virtuous. In muscular nationalism the focus on the chastity of female bodies stems from their role as border guards. A particular interpretation of muscular nationalism has unfolded in India within a cultural milieu shaped by an assertive middle-class self-confidence fueled by “liberalization,” a process by which India has been integrated into the global political economy, coupled with the prominence of Hindutva or Hindu nationalist politics. India’s prolific commercial film industry centered in Bombay has used images of manhood to express as well as valorize these cultural changes. This chapter uses the popular and critically acclaimed film Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005) to illustrate how history is used to rediscover and imagine an Indian legacy of muscular nationalism. Given India’s aspirations to become a recognized international player, the chapter goes on to argue that this film invents a tradition that constructs a legacy of masculinized nationalism that presumably always existed and needs to be reactivated to enable modern India’s global ambitions. Imperial effeminization of Indian men and contemporary responses to this gendered critique provides a cultural background for these films as they turn to history to challenge the discourse of effeminization that still haunts the Indian polity, as well as to reaffirm muscular nationalism in India as it seeks international recognition within this particular global moment of neoliberal capitalism and consumerism.
- Alter, Joseph S. 1992. The Wrestler’s Body. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Athique, Adrian, and Douglas Hill. 2010. The Multiplex in India: A Cultural Economy of Urban Leisure. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Balaji, Murali. 2009. Exporting Indian Masculinity. Technoculture: An Online Journal for Technology Studies 14: 1–12.Google Scholar
- Banerjee, Sikata. 2005. Make Me a Man: Masculinity, Hinduism, and Nationalism in India. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Connell, Rae Wynn. 1995. Masculinities. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Desai, Radhika. 2007. Imagi-nation: The Reconfiguration of National Identity in Bombay Cinema in the 1990s. In Once Upon a Time in Bollywood, ed. Gurbir Singh Jolly, Zenia B. Wadhwani, and Deborah Barretto, 43–61. Toronto: Tsarbooks.Google Scholar
- Farooqui, Mahmood. 2006. Bollywood and the Middle-Class Nation. Himal Magazine, July. www.himalmag.com. Accessed 16 June 2016.
- Farrell, Diana, and Eric Beinhocker. 2007. Next Big Spenders: India’s Middle Class. McKinsey and Company Global Institute. http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/overview/in-the-news/next-big-spenders. Accessed June 2016.
- Gabriel, Karen. 2010. Melodrama and the Nation: Sexual Economies of Bombay Cinema 1970–2000. New Delhi: Women Unlimited.Google Scholar
- Majumdar, Ruby, and Dipesh Chakrabarty. 2007. Mangal Pandey: Film and History. Economic and Political Weekly 42 (19): 1771–1778.Google Scholar
- Mayer, Tamer. 2000. Gender Ironies of Nationalism: Setting the Stage. In Gender Ironies of Nationalism: Sexing the Nation, ed. Tamer Mayer, 1–24. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Mosse, George. 1996. The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Munshi, Shobha. 2001. Marvellous Me: The Beauty Industry and the Construction of the ‘Modern’ Indian Woman. In Images of the ‘Modern Woman’ in Asia: Global Media, Local Meanings, ed. Shobha Munshi, 78–93. Richmond: Curzon.Google Scholar
- Nagel, Joane. 2003. Race, Ethnicity, and Sexuality: Intimate Intersections, Forbidden Frontiers. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Nandy, Ashis. 2001. Invitation to an Antique Death: The Journey of Pramathesh Barua as the Origin of the Terribly Effeminate, Maudlin, Self-Destructive Heroes of Indian Cinema. In The History, Politics, and Consumption of Public Culture in India, ed. Rachel Dwyer and Christopher Pinney, 39–161. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Oza, Rupal. 2006. The Making of Neoliberal India: Nationalism, Gender, and the Paradoxes of Globalization. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Pew Research Center. 2007. Pew Global Attitudes Report. Washington DC: Pew Research Centre. http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2007/10/Pew-Global-Attitudes-Report-October-4-2007-REVISED-UPDATED-5-27-14.pdf. Accessed June 2016.
- Sharma, Jyoti. 2007. Why Are We Embarrassed to Show Love for India? Times of India, January 24. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/bombay-times/Why-are-we-embarrassed-to-show-love-for-India/articleshow/1434862.cms? Accessed 16 June 2016.
- ———. 2007a. We Love India and Will Say It Aloud. Times of India, January 25. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/bombay-times/We-love-India-and-will-say-it-aloud/articleshow/1459986.cms? Accessed 16 June 2016.
- Sinha, Mrinalini. 1995. Colonial Masculinity: The ‘Manly Englishman’ and the ‘Effeminate’ Bengali in the Late Nineteenth Century. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
- Srivastava, Sanjay. 2006. The Voice of the Nation and the Five-Year Plan Hero: Speculations on Gender, Space, and Popular Culture. In Fingerprinting Popular Culture: The Mythic and the Iconic in Indian Cinema, ed. Vinay Lal and Ashis Nandy, 122–155. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Yardley, Jim. 2012. A Quest for Six Packs Inspired by Bollywood. New York Times, July 12. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/19/world/asia/on-screen-abdominals-send-indias-men-to-gym.html?_r=0. Accessed June 2016.