Color held a contested status in relation to the discursive and affective entanglement of art and Indian nationalism. Examination of the artworks, speeches, manifestos, and musings of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Abanindranath and Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, and Jamini Roy shows how color could be "redeemed" from the disciplinary straitjacket of the British colonial art school. Construed by Indian nationalists as both cosmopolitan and fundamental, color (in terms of its materiality and political resonance) became critical to the formation of a Bengali aesthetic. This new aesthetic, which can be loosely aligned with swadeshi (self-economy), was nonetheless deeply riven with conflict and contradiction.