A Hundred Horizons - The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire

A Hundred Horizons - The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire

Product ID: 19417

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Author: Sugata Bose
Publisher: Permanent Black
Year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 333
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8178241633


A Hundred Horizons written around a set of sea voyages involving Curzon, Tagore, and Gandhi, as well as unknown merchants, labourers, soldiers, and pilgrims, this book asks us to completely rethink the nature of nationalism and empire.

It does so by arguing the importance of interregional arenas for extra-territorial and universalist anti-colonialism. This current of ideas, Bose powerfully demonstrates, coexisted and contended with territorial nationalism. He illuminates the interplay of nationalism and universalism in the thought and politics of a wide range of nationalists and patriots - both exalted and subaltern.

This fascinating history of mobile people around the Indian Ocean also retrieves the nuances of patriotism in diasporic public spheres by focusing on the many fragments that trespassed the borders of colonies and would-be nations. The pilgrimage experience of Muslims from India, Malaya, and Java to Mecca and Medicina; the overseas voyages of Tagore and Gandhi; and the diaries and epistolary records of ordinary travellers collectively reveal the reality of the Indian ocean as a cultural ecumene, a distinguishable zone which inspired ideas and aspirations that challenged Europe's hegemonies.

This pioneering exploration of the oceanic dimension of anti-colonialism and religious universalism frees the study of nationalism and empire from its landlocked state. By elucidating ideas that wafted across the Indian ocean, Bose makes a rich and persuasive argument, namely that the intellectual history of imperialism may best be studied in the framework of multiple and competing universalisms rather than mutually exclusive and conflicting cultural relativisms.


An excellent historical study…full of contemporary relevance for understanding an important ancestry of present-day globalization.
-Amartya Sen



1. Space and time on the Indian ocean rim.
2. The Gulf between precolonial and colonial empires.
3. Flows of capitalists, laborers, and commodities.
4. Waging war for king and country.
5. Expatriate patriots: anticolonial imagination and action.
6. Pilgrims' progress under colonial rules.
7. A different universalism? Oceanic voyages of a poet as pilgrim.