The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.
I have elaborated . . . a framework for analyzing the contradictory pulls on [Indian] nationalist ideology in its struggle against the dominance of colonialism and the resolution it offered to those contradictions. Briefly, this resolution was built around a separation of the domain of culture into two spheres—the material and the spiritual. It was in the material sphere that the claims of Western civilization were the most powerful. Science, technology, rational forms of economic organization, modern methods of statecraft—these had given the European countries the strength to subjugate the non-European people . . . To overcome this domination, the colonized people had to learn those superior techniques of organizing material life and incorporate them within their own cultures. . . . But this could not mean the imitation of the West in every aspect of life, for then the very distinction between the West and the East would vanish—the self-identity of national culture would itself be threatened. . . .
The discourse of nationalism shows that the material/spiritual distinction was condensed into an analogous, but ideologically far more powerful, dichotomy: that between the outer and the inner. . . . Applying the inner/outer distinction to the matter of concrete day-to-day living separates the social space into ghar and bāhir, the home and the world. The world is the external, the domain of the material; the home represents one’s inner spiritual self, one’s true identity. The world is a treacherous terrain of the pursuit of material interests, where practical considerations reign supreme. It is also typically the domain of the male. The home in its essence must remain unaffected by the profane activities of the material world—and woman is its representation. And so one gets an identification of social roles by gender to correspond with the separation of the social space into ghar and bāhir. . . .
The colonial situation, and the ideological response of nationalism to the critique of Indian tradition, introduced an entirely new substance to [these dichotomies] and effected their transformation. The material/spiritual dichotomy, to which the terms world and home corresponded, had acquired . . . a very special significance in the nationalist mind. The world was where the European power had challenged the non-European people and, by virtue of its superior material culture, had subjugated them. But, the nationalists asserted, it had failed to colonize the inner, essential, identity of the East which lay in its distinctive, and superior, spiritual culture. . . . [I]n the entire phase of the national struggle, the crucial need was to protect, preserve and strengthen the inner core of the national culture, its spiritual essence. . . .
Once we match this new meaning of the home/world dichotomy with the identification of social roles by gender, we get the ideological framework within which nationalism answered the women’s question. It would be a grave error to see in this, as liberals are apt to in their despair at the many marks of social conservatism in nationalist practice, a total rejection of the West. Quite the contrary: the nationalist paradigm in fact supplied an ideological principle of selection.
Which one of the following, if true, would weaken the author’s claims in the passage?
The arguments in the passage are based on the premise that the material and spiritual aspects of culture were different. Hence, even if Indian nationalism accepted the superior material ways of the west, they still would not be giving in to colonial dominance and their identity would be preserved by the spiritual aspect, as it remained unaffected. Hence, to weaken the author's argument, we can give a statement that proves that the spiritual aspect was affected too. Option C does that and is the answer.
Rejecting education for women could have more than one reason. It does not imply that the spiritual part of Indian culture was affected by colonialism. Moreover, the separation of roles according to gender is something that nationalist ideology supported, hence, rejecting education based on gender would not contradict it. Option A can be eliminated.
Option B does not weaken the author's argument since the author already agrees that the forces of colonialist modernity helped shape Indian nationalism, but only in the material aspect.
Option D is unrelated to the argument at hand and can be eliminated too.
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