The God Market: How Globalization Is Making India More Hindu

The God Market: How Globalization Is Making India More Hindu

The God Market: How Globalization Is Making India More Hindu

The God Market: How Globalization Is Making India More Hindu

Synopsis

Conventional wisdom says that integration into the global marketplace tends to weaken the power of traditional faith in developing countries. But, as Meera Nanda argues in this path-breaking book, this is hardly the case in today's India. Against expectations of growing secularism, India has instead seen a remarkable intertwining of Hinduism and neoliberal ideology, spurred on by a growing capitalist class. It is this "State-Temple-Corporate Complex," she claims, that now wields decisive political and economic power, and provides ideological cover for the dismantling of the Nehru-era state-dominated economy.

According to this new logic, India's rapid economic growth is attributable to a special "Hindu mind," and it is what separates the nation's Hindu population from Muslims and others deemed to be "anti-modern." As a result, Hindu institutions are replacing public ones, and the Hindu "revival" itself has become big business, a major source of capital accumulation. Nanda explores the roots of this development and its possible future, as well as the struggle for secularism and socialism in the world's second-most populous country.

Excerpt

The defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India’s last general elections in 2009 was greeted with relief by secularists and democrats everywhere. Not entirely unreasonably, many saw it as evidence that Indian voters have rejected the toxic idea of India as a Hindu nation peddled by the BJP and the rest of the Hindu right “family” (or the Sangh Parivar). The consensus among political pundits is that piety is no longer driving politics, as it did during the mass mobilizations through the 1990s that led to destruction of a 500-year-old mosque in Ayodhya and brought the BJP to power. The forces of secularism and communal harmony are said to have won the day, at least for now.

Market reforms and globalization are singled out as the stars of this saga. Both the friends and critics of the BJP have come to agree that the fervour for making money in India’s roaring economy has doused the flames of Hindu nationalism in the hearts of the middle-class voters who were the mainstay of Hindu nationalism in the past. The . . .

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