Region, Nation, "Heartland": Uttar Pradesh in India's Body Politic

SAGE Publications, 05/09/2006 - 504
This book interrogates Uttar Pradeshs identity as Indias heartland and unravels the historical processes that have shaped this region. In looking at this constructed identity of the state it argues that UPs existence as a region cannot be taken uncritically as a given, considering the complex and divergent traditions that have been constituent of the state. It makes the case that UP has been imagined in multiple ways and explores five such distinct, though overlapping, constructions through its modern history: UP as a colonial heartland, as a nationalist heartland, as a Hindu heartland, as a Muslim heartland, and finally as a postcolonial heartland. The book closely examines UPs transformation from a colonial to a postcolonial society, looking at issues of identities, mobilization and governance.

With its size, location and demography, UP has occupied a distinct position within Indias body politic. In the last two decades, the state has seen dramatic political change, marked by fragmentation along lines of religion, region, class and caste. Region, Nation, Heartland offers insights into factors that lie behind this social and political churning, which promises to transform not just UP, but India itself. The book offers a fresh perspective into the dynamics of how regions have contributed to the projects of state and nation-building in South Asia.