2022-23 Graduate Student Research Fellow
Sikandar Maitra Kumar is a PhD candidate in the History Department. His project, “Hindi and the Pursuit of Democracy,” examines the attempts made by Hindi language intellectuals and politicians in nineteenth- and twentieth-century north India to secure consensus for modern democratic politics by evolving principles of rational individualism, egalitarianism, secularism, and toleration of cultural others from within the ethical resources of popular religious traditions. He is interested in exploring how egalitarian dreams of a political community which is tolerant of cultural differences may perhaps be actualized with greater stability through deep and meaningful engagements with religious traditions, rather than by seeking the outright dismissal of religious idioms from politics.
Research Plan: During the fellowship period, Kumar will finish writing the last chapter of his dissertation which examines the vernacularisation of communist and socialist politics in north India in the early twentieth century. He will then proceed to rework the earlier chapters of his dissertation.