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Political Aesthetics of the Nation: Murals and Statues in the Indian Parliament

Shirin M. Rai
Taylor and Francis Online

Abstract: This essay argues that aesthetic approaches to studying politics can allow us to read politics in more nuanced ways. Through the study of murals and statues in the Indian parliament, it is suggested that the politics of art and the art of politics are conjoined. In particular, the essay examines the ways in which the postcolonial Indian state reproduces the discourse of nationalism and modernity through its production of a nationalist aesthetic and how the consumption of this aesthetics results in struggles over meaning-making and its legitimacy.