Gandhi, citizenship and the resilience of Indian nationhood

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This article examines Gandhi's legacy in the shaping of citizenship in India and its implications for the resilience of Indian nationhood. I contend that a conception of citizenship that can be extrapolated from Gandhi, and that persisted as a practice, as well as a political language, instilled in the dynamics of Indian citizenship attributes that played an important role in securing the resilience of Indian unity and its democratic viability. The Gandhian conception of citizenship was developed after independence in conjunction with three other primary concomitant notions of citizenship. The ongoing multifaceted interplay between the four competing conceptions of citizenship, and the tensions and shifting balance of power between them became part of the mechanism that enabled the sustainability of some conflicts within the Indian polity to the detriment of other more threatening divisions. In the effect of this process Indian citizenship has been able to inhibit the tensions that had the potential to break the country apart.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)659-678
Number of pages20
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Citizenship
  • Divided democracies
  • Gandhi
  • Indian nationhood

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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