Author: Ashis Nandy
Publisher: Permanent Black
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8178240718
In this book Ashis Nandy, one of South Asia’s foremost public intellectuals, grapples with India’s political culture by looking from new perspectives at the country’s past, and by envisioning for the subcontinent a variety of alternative futures.
He is able to do this by sidestepping the discipline of history and the ideological apparatus of the modern state. He argues that academic history and the state are overly reliant on three key categories-secularism, modern scientific rationality, and the social-evolutionist idea of progress. Nandy contends, in contrast, that although ordinary Indians possess the democratic right to political choice, they have been prevented from bringing into the center of India’s public life the everyday categories and thought processes with which they actually live. These living categories, he argues, enable the average Indian to connect the legendary and the historical, the sacred and the secular, the past and the present. In this book, Nandy deliberately blurs these seemingly opposite terms in order to reveal how they actually run into, and reshape, each other.
He argues, further, that to revitalize democratic politics in India it is necessary to defy the post-Enlightenment worldview which seeks to make the subcontinent a tropical edition of the West. He analyses the present pathologies of Indian politics-the rise of religious nationalism, massive corruption, the dependence on technology and mega-bureaucracy-as the direct outcome of the ideological agenda and mythic structure of India’s dominant, globalized, middle-class culture has flattened or annihilated the myriad voices and indigenous cosmopolitan traditions which ought to constitute the heart of Indian democracy.
1. Contending Stories in the Culture of Indian Politics: Traditions and the Future
2. Democratic Culture and Images of the State: India’s Unending Ambivalence
3. The Politics of Secularism and the Recovery of Religious Tolerance
4. Coping with the Politics of Faith and Cultures: Between Secular State and
Ecumenical Traditions in India
5. A Report on the Present State of Health of Gods and Goddesses in South
6. Time Travel to a Possible Self: Searching for the Alternative Cosmopolitanism
7. Violence and Creativity in the Late Twentieth Century: Rabindranath Tagore
and the Problem of Testimony