Their throats were constricted: nationalism, history, and memorials in Nana Rao Park

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In the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Nana Rao Park in Kanpur is a microcosm for the history of India since 1857. The park exists as a space to be used for recreation, but it also houses a group of memorials that work to reinforce certain narratives. Today, the memorials tell the story of the 1857 Rebellion through the lens of Indian nationalism. Before Indian Independence in 1947, however, the park operated as a space to ideologically reinforce British imperialism. Each iteration of this park both reflects and perpetuates the dominant narrative at any given time. This thesis examines Nana Rao Park through those memorials and contemporaneous scholarship to show that narratives and the material output of those narratives are always politically driven. Whether to establish empire or fight for a national identity, Nana Rao Park is a space where these ideologies and narratives collide.

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Religion, South Asian studies, History