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Religion at the Service of Nationalism and Other Essays

Madhu Kishwar (Author)
Synopsis This collection of essays by the prominent activist Madhu Kishwar discusses various issues relating to religion, religious sectarianism and nationalism. Written between 1984 and 1996 in response to specific situations of ethnic violence and conflict, most of these essays were published earlier in Manushi, the well-known journal which Kishwar edits. One of Kishwar’s dominant concerns is the criminalization of Indian polity. Through four essays dealing with the November 1984 Sikh pogrom in Delhi, she explores the reasons for the spread of ethnic violence and the nexus between criminals and people in power. Analysing the origins and frequency of communal massacres in India, Kishwar investigates the increasing legitimation of these brutal acts. The essays point to those in positions of power as the main perpetrators of ethnic hostilities. Kishwar argues that the confused concept of democracy – as a synonym for majoritarianism – combined with the idea of a ‘national identity’ based on religion, language, colour or caste has been a prime cause of communal riots. While traditional Indian communities worked out rules of co-existence through a consensual process, the large scale adoption of Western national ideologies, which do not allow for complex heterogeneities, has given rise to the current communal conflicts. In this impressive body of work Kishwar re-opens important debates that have been smothered by piety or rhetoric. Argumentstive in tone, hard-hitting and intensely provocative, this collection of polemical essays is characterized by an urgency and passion stemming from Madhu Kishwar’s extensive field and archival work. Essential reading for all those concerned about the growing ethnic violence in India.
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About the author

Madhu Kishwar

Madhu Kishwar is a prominent social activist and editor of the well-known journal Manushi. She is also a Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

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Bibliographic information

Title Religion at the Service of Nationalism and Other Essays
Author Madhu Kishwar
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1998
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195641612
length xix+323p., 23cm.