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Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future

Price : $32.50
ISBN # : 9788178242002
Author : Martha C. Nussbaum
pages: 403
Edition : Hardback
Volumes : 1
Publisher : Permanent Black
Published : 2007

While America is focused on terrorism in the Middle East, democracy has been under siege from religious extremism in India. As Martha Nussbaum reveals in this penetrating work on the country’s politics, the forces of the Hindu right pose a disturbing threat to its democratic traditions and secular state. Since long before the 2002 Gujarat riots, the power of the Hindu right has been growing, threatening India’s hard-won constitutional practices of democracy, tolerance, and religious pluralism. Led in diverse ways by the Sangh Parivar, the Hindu right has caused the subordination of several religious groups and directed particular vitriol against Muslims. This desire for a supposedly pure India, within which non-Hindus are ‘shown their place’, carries Fascist overtones; some electoral setbacks to this worldview, as in the last parliamentary elections, demonstrate the power that India’s diversity continues to exert. Overall, however, the future of democracy in the subcontinent remains precarious. Continuing extremist mobilizations remain a powerful obstacle to social harmony. The greatest threat, Nussbaum argues, comes not from a clash between civilizations, as some believe, but from a clash within each of us, as we oscillate between self-protective aggression and the ability to live with others. Nussbaum has long seen India as her second home. Her love for the country is apparent throughout this book and finds expression via the care with which she outlines the special attractiveness of secularism, religious pluralism, and constitutional practices in India. Her interpretations of Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru, and B.R. Ambedkar give scholarly weight to her admiration of these internationally acclaimed Indian exemplars. Together with her longstanding professional relationship with India’s sanest academics and democratic activists, these ingredients make Nussbaum an unusually insightful interpreter of India’s recent history. This is a book for everyone. It is hugely readable and accessible. It shows that India's story is a cautionary political tale for all democratic states striving to act responsibly in an increasingly dangerous world..

This book was added to South Asia bookstore on Wednesday 24 October, 2007.

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