The Clash Within

The Clash Within

Product ID: 22910

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Author: Martha C. Nussbaum
Publisher: Permanent Black
Year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 403
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8178242001


While America is focused on terrorism in the Middle East, democracy has been under siege from religious extremism in India. As Martha Nussbaum reveals in this penetrating work on the country's politics, the forces of the Hindu right pose a disturbing threat to its democratic traditions and secular state.

Since long before the 2002 Gujarat riots, the power of the Hindu right has been growing, threatening India's hard-won constitutional practices of democracy, tolerance, and religious pluralism. Led in diverse ways by the Sangh Parivar, the Hindu right has caused the subordination of several religious groups and directed particular vitriol against Muslims. This desire for a supposedly pure India, within which non-Hindus are' shown their place', carries Fascist overtones; some electoral setbacks to this worldview, as in the last parliamentary elections, demonstrate the power that India's diversity continues to exert.

Overall, however, the future of democracy in the subcontinent remains precarious. Continuing extremist mobilizations remain a powerful obstacle to social harmony. The greatest threat, Nussbaum argues, comes not from a clash between civilizations, as some believe, but from a clash within each of us, as we oscillate between self-protective aggression and the ability to live with others.

Nussbaum has long seen India as her second home. Her love for the county is apparent throughout this book and finds expression via the care with which she outlines the special attractiveness of secularism, religious pluralism, and constitutional practices in India. Her interpretations of Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru, and B.R. Ambedkar give scholarly weight to her admiration of these internationally give scholarly weight to her admiration of these internationally acclaimed Indian Exemplars. Together with her longstanding professional relationship with India's sanest academics and democratic activists, these ingredients make Nussbaum an unusually insightful interpreter of India's recent history.

This is a book for everyone. It is hugely readable and accessible. It shows that India's story is a cautionary political tale for all democratic states striving to act responsibly in an increasingly dangerous world.

“This is an extraordinarily interesting book on a very difficult subject. Martha Nussbaum’s commanding familiarity with culturally related political issues across the world, past and present, combines immensely fruitfully here with her involvement in and understanding of India.”
-Amartya Sen




Map of India


1. Genocide in Gujarat
2. The Human Face of the Hindu Right
3. Tagore, Gandhi, Nehru
4. A Democracy of Pluralism, Respect, Equality
5. The Rise of the Hindu Right
6. Fantasies of Purity and Domination
7. The Assault on History
8. The Education Wars
9. The Diaspora Community
10. The Clash Within