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Competing Nationalisms in South Asia: Essays for Asghar Ali Engineer

Paul R. Brass (Editor) Achin Vanaik (Editor)
Synopsis The essays in this volume bring together a rich and scholarly collection of thought and new work linked by a commitment to the preservation and promotion of secularism and Democracy in South Asia. The contributors come from different disciplines and ideological persuasions—political scientist, the sociologist, the historian, the literary critic, and the area specialist. Sudhir Chandra’s and Sikata Banerjee’s essays in Part I deal with nationalist thought and practice. The three essays in the second part explore issues of secularism and Hindutva. They focus on concrete developments and specific problems. Anwar Alam’s essay assesses the current discourse on secularism in India. While Ghanshyam Shah investigates the turmoil in the Dangs tribal region of Gujarat caused by the reconversion efforts of the VHP and associated bodies, Virginia Van Dyke focusses on the relatively newer phenomenon of the entry of Sadhus into the political-electoral arena. Part III contains two essays that comment and reflect on visions of India as a nation. David Lelyveld explores the issue of language—Hindi—as a potential national unifier and looks at Gandhi’s attitude to this. Rajni Kothari’s quiet, reflective piece on December 6, 1992 is lit with faith and optimism that India’s complex diversity and natural pluralism will ultimately triumph over more fundamentalist forces. The concluding part concerns the continuing struggles within India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka over the definition of the nation. Uyangoda’s essay on Sri Lanka is compelling and disturbing. Mubarak Ali stresses that Pakistani nationalism needs to be defined positively—a territorially-oriented, non-Islamic vision which respects the formation of Bangladesh. Yoginder Sikand’s essay is an exposition on the thinking and ideology of Sayyed Ali Gilani of the Jama’at-Islami of Jammu and Kashmir. The contributors are united by their desire to honour Asghar Ali Engineer, one of India’s foremost scholar-activists and the country’s most important chronicler and investigator of communal violence.
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About the author

Paul R. Brass

Paul R. Brass is Professor (Emeritus) of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. He has published fifteen books and numerous articles on comparative and South Asian politics, ethnic politics, and collective violence. His work has been based on extensive field research in India during many visits since 1961. His most recent books are "The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India" (2003), "Theft of an Idol: Text and Context in the Representation of Collective Violence" (1997); "Riots and Pogroms" (1996); and "The Politics of India Since Independence", 2nd ed. (1994).

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Bibliographic information

Title Competing Nationalisms in South Asia: Essays for Asghar Ali Engineer
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 812502221X
length xiv+297p., Notes; Index; 23cm.