Far too many Indians today do not seem to appreciate the idea of pluralist tolerance, which forms the structural framework of Indian dem
This comparative analysis probes why conservative renderings of religious tradition in the United States, India, and Egypt remain so influential in the politics of these three ostensibly secular societies.
The United States, Egypt, and India were quintessential models of secular modernity in the 1950s and 1960s. By the 1980s and 1990s, conservative Islamists challenged the Egyptian government, India witnessed a surge in Hindu nationalism, and the Christian right in the United States rose to dominate the Republican Party and large swaths of the public discourse. Using a nuanced theoretical framework that emphasizes the interaction of religion and politics, Scott W. Hibbard argues that three interrelated issues led to this state of affairs.
First, as an essential part of the construction of collective identities, religion serves as a basis for social solidarity and political mobilization. Second, in providing a moral framework, religion's traditional elements make it relevant to modern political life. Third, and most significant, in manipulating religion for political gain, political elites undermined the secular consensus of the modern state that had been in place since the end of World War II. Together, these factors sparked a new era of right-wing religious populism in the three nations.
Although much has been written about the resurgence of religious politics, scholars have paid less attention to the role of state actors in promoting new visions of religion and society. Religious Politics and Secular States fills this gap by situating this trend within long-standing debates over the proper role of religion in public life.
Reinventing India offers an analytical account of the history of modern India and of its contemporary reinvention. Part One traces India's transformation under colonial rule, and the ideas and social forces which underlay the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly in 1946 to consider the shaping of the post-colonial state. Part Two then narrates the story of the making and unmaking of this modern India in the period from 1950 to the present day. It pays attention to both economic and political developments, and engages with the interpretations of India's recent history through key writers such as Francine Frankel, Sudipta Kaviraj and Partha Chatterjee. Part Three consists of chapters on the dialectics of economic reform, religion, the politics of Hindu nationalism, and on popular democracy. These chapters articulate a distinct position on the state and society in India at the end of the century, and they allow the authors to engage with the key debates which concern public intellectuals in contemporary India.
Reinventing India is a lucid and eminently readable account of the transformations which are shaking India more than fifty years after Independence. It will be welcomed by all students of South Asia, and will be of interest to students of comparative politics and development studies.
South Asia is one of the most volatile regions of the world, and India’s complex democratic political system impinges on its relations with its South Asian neighbours. Focusing on this relationship, this book explores the extent to which domestic politics affect a country’s foreign policy.
The book argues that particular continuities and disjunctures in Indian foreign policy are linked to the way in which Indian elites articulated Indian identity in response to the needs of domestic politics. The manner in which these state elites conceive India’s region and regional role depends on their need to stay in tune with domestic identity politics. Such exigencies have important implications for Indian foreign policy in South Asia.
Analysing India’s foreign policy through the lens of competing domestic visions at three different historical eras in India’s independent history, the book provides a framework for studying India’s developing nationhood on the basis of these idea(s) of ‘India’. This approach allows for a deeper and a more nuanced interpretation of the motives for India’s foreign policy choices than the traditional realist or neo-liberal framework, and provides a useful contribution to South Asian Studies, Politics and International Studies.
This new study looks at the crucial role played by audiovisual media in Hindu cultural nationalism. The application of new media technology in the context of the construction of 'Indianness' by Hindutva's main political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (Party of the Indian People, BJP), is a fascinating example of in-house indoctrination and emotive mobilization that demands critical attention. At a time when public attention is focused on transnational, and mostly Islamicist, movements, 'Empowering Visions' argues that both transnationalism and nationalism have to be treated with equal attention, and to some extent ought to be seen as intertwined processes. This book is unique in its presentation and discussion of profound ethnographic data through interviews with a variety of spokesmen for the Hindutva movement. It also offers an in-depth analysis of visual and audiovisual material that has so far been unrecognized and unexplored in scholarly works.