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.
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.
Using a historical comparative approach, the book argues that external events, activist agency in strategizing, and the political economy of transnational networks explain the relative success and failure of Hindu nationalism and the Indian women’s movement rather than the ideological claims each movement makes. By focusing on how particular activist strategies lead to increased levels of public support, it shows how it is these strategies rather than the ideologies of Hindutva and feminism that mobilize people. Both of these social movements have had decades of great power and influence, and decades of relative irrelevance, and both challenge postcolonial India’s secular settlement – its division of public and private. The book goes on to highlight new insights into the inner dynamics of each movement by showing how the same strategies - grassroots education, electoral mobilization, media management, donor cultivation - lead to similarly positive results.
Bringing together the study of Hindu nationalism and the Indian women’s movement, the book will be of interest to students and scholars of South Asian Religion, Gender Studies, and South Asian Politics.
Combining large scale survey data with in-depth interviews in each national setting, the author exemplifies the great variation of factors which are related to political tolerance, shedding light on the fundamental patterns existing in the organisation of state-society relations and the ways in which they produce certain results owing to the manner in which the forces of modernisation operate.
A broad and empirically informed study of what shapes the foundations of a democratic society in modernising nations, Political Tolerance in the Global South will appeal to scholars of sociology and political science with interests in democracy, human rights, diversity and tolerance.
From its forgettable electoral performance of 1984 to its historical victory in 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) story has been fodder for many political and academic debates. In this book, the authors show how the Hindu Right uses security, both external and internal, as a strategy for political mobilisation and eventual electoral success. It further explains the organisational and ideological penetration of the Sangh Parivar into the civil domain through strategies of securitisation. Deriving data from original sources, writings of leaders and their autobiographies, speeches, government documents, reports, pamphlets and manifestos of various Hindutva organisations, the work follows the growth of the Hindu Right forces and its trajectory over the years, taking a close look into its philosophical settings and political strategies.
The book assumes significance in light of the massive electoral success of BJP in the 2014 elections.
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.
S. Nihal Singh believes that the rise of Modi marks a sharp break from more than six decades of political consensus. While Atal Behari Vajpayee’s six years of power at the head of a coalition government were broadly in line with Nehruvian philosophy except for teasing the fringes, the emergence of Modi as the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party represents a significant shift in the working of the polity of the world’s largest democracy.
In essence, Modi and his mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, are seeking to change the basis on which independent India has evolved. Instead of consensual politics in a country of many religious and ethnic groups with Muslims alone constituting more than 172 million people, the new dispensation is emphasizing separateness with loud Hindu overtones. Where this will take the country is a question time will answer.