chapter  4
The Politics of the Past: The Myth of the Clash of Civilizations
Pages 15

This chapter focuses on a narrative theory of history and identity through analysis of the structure and language of competing narratives of Indian national identity prior to independence. It also focuses on historical narratives of India written by Indian National Congress (INC) leaders Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, and their Hindu nationalist competitors Veer Savarkar and M. S. Golwalkar. These have served to provide 'myths of origin' or 'master narratives' of Indian national identity as a story trajectory from the past through transition to independence. Independence meant that the INC's vision for the nation could be realized within the borders of the Republic of India as it adopted secular democracy and constitutionalized religious rights as a guiding principle for nation building. Therefore, political leaders, especially in times of crisis and transition are motivated as identity entrepreneurs to articulate an account of the history of their group as a means of legitimizing their political agendas for the future.