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

By Achin Vanaik | Go to book overview

Situating the Threat of Hindu Communalism: Problems with the Fascist Paradigm

Contending Paradigms
Any attempt to render the historical phenomenon of fascism conceptually serviceable for contemporary purposes, e.g. analysing Hindu communalism, must cope with the necessity and difficulty of establishing a 'fascist minimum' embodying its main dynamics. A set of defining characteristics - properties/preconditions - and methodological injunctions has to be articulated. This 'set' must in part or whole constitute a core and heuristic recognized as such by social scientists and general analysts. Along with supplementary theories it should be accepted as a dominant model amidst competing theories and paradigms, i.e. vindicate itself as a fascist paradigm. If total consensus is not demanded for the heuristic or 'fascist minimum' (because we are dealing with a research programme in the social sciences), too little agreement will not do either - to be just one among numerous angles of vision of fascism. Stanley Payne has listed eleven different ways of attempting to theorize the phenomenon of fascism. The list is reflexive and open enough to include the approach of those scholars sceptical about even seeing fascism as a generic phenomenon. They would abjure the theorization of it altogether. 1 One can impose taxonomic discipline on this methodological largesse. Broadly speaking there are Marxist and non-Marxist approaches each with their intra-paradigm divergencies. This is especially so for the latter, which lacks any positive theoretical principle of unification. Yet there is some large and important ground of agreement in both research programmes:
1. Fascism in power, the fascist state, is a distinctive form of the modern state. 2 Its distinctiveness lies in its extreme centralization

-237-

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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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