The uses of the Passport: The Chess Players and narratives of British nationhood

Prem Poddar

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This essay investigates the cultural and political genealogy of the passport in the 19th century, as a document that sought to secure the rights of European national citizenship. Examining the historical case of Malika Kishwar (or Jenabi Auliah Tajara Begum), the Begum of Oudh, who led a delegation to London to petition the Queen and parliament against the annexation of Oudh, it shows how liberal concepts of the rights of citizenship were contradicted and undermined by the treatment of imperial “subjects” in Britain. These vexed themes of national‐colonial legitimacy, which presage postcolonial immigration debates, are simultaneously traced in a reading of Satyajit Ray's film The Chess Players (1977), which adapts a short story by Premchand to interrogate the rigged diplomatic game of annexation in northern India prior to the 1857 rebellion.
TidsskriftJournal of Postcolonial Writing
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)517-528
StatusUdgivet - 2010
Udgivet eksterntJa

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