The Furies of Indian Communalism: Religion, Modernity, and Secularization

By Achin Vanaik | Go to book overview

4
Communalism, Hindutva, Anti-Secularists: The Conceptual Battleground

Every discourse in India on communalism and fundamentalism, secularism and anti-secularism, Hindutva and its rejection operates with preconceived notions about culture, civilization, Hinduism, caste; and their inter-relationships. Since these notions are insufficiently probed they are often implicitly shared. It is not as if political and ideological opponents always or usually have markedly different understandings. Were that the case Hindu chauvinists and communalists would not so readily attempt to pass themselves off as genuine nationalists or as true secularists rather than Nehruvian 'pseudo-secularists'. Nor could they have succeeded to the extent they have in appropriating for their purposes anti-communal nationalist figures like Mahatma Gandhi. Nor indeed could that other breed hostile to secularism, the anti-secular anti-modernists (or the ambiguous modernists), have disguised so easily the modernity of their posturings.


Civilization and Culture

Civilization and culture emerge as general social science concepts (independent nouns) in the West in the mid-eighteenth century. 1 Initially culture was a synonym for civilization, and to this day a strongly culturalist understanding of civilization endures. This is particularly so for India, with distinctive consequences. Civilization contrasts with barbarism. The study of civilizations, then, has been the archaeological- historical study of how the first civilizations emerged and survived. It has also been the study of what sustains many a subsequent non-barbarous or civilized 'state of affairs'. The second type of study has a stronger tendency to use a broader notion of civilization, loosening it from the

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The Furies of Indian Communalism: Religion, Modernity, and Secularization
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Part I 1
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • 2 - Reflections on Communalism and Nationalism in India 29
  • Notes 59
  • Part II 63
  • 3: Religion, Modernity, Secularization 65
  • 4: Communalism, Hindutva, Anti-Secularists 130
  • Part III 235
  • Situating the Threat of Hindu Communalism: Problems with the Fascist Paradigm 237
  • 6: The Communalization of the Indian Polity 296
  • Index 361
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