The Romance of the State and the Fate of Dissent in the Tropics

The Romance of the State and the Fate of Dissent in the Tropics

Product ID: 7765

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Author: Ashis Nandy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 218
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195658647


This book explores some key concepts in the mainstream culture of Indian politics, ranging from secularism, development, and terrorism to dissent and history. The analysis is based on a tacit cultural and psychological biography of the modern nation-state in the country.

Recognizing the deep gap between a state’s working and the myths and fantasies that surround it in post-colonial societies, Ashis Nandy offers a dissenting perspective on the crisis of Indian democracy, in which some elements of the ideology of the state-such as secularism, development, nationalism and national security-have an attenuated status. The ordinary citizen’s unconcern with them is seen not as a liability but as a key to the resilience and radical potentialities of Indian democracy. Indeed, Nandy holds the dominant ideology responsible for many of the ills of Indian public life-growing terrorism, massive corruption, communal and ethnic violence, passive submission to mega-technology, and the failure to visualize an autonomous, alternative future for the post-colonial world.

Once again, Nandy rejects the claims of modern India for a privileged voice in politics. He believes that political analysis is closer to truth when it subverts the interests of the class from which it emanates and uses the traditional repertoire of myths, legends, epics, and shared memories of a society.

Hence also his attempt to offset the authoritarianism inherent in a national –security state wedded to conventional development and science against the culture of a robust democracy where the voices of the victimized are submerged neither by the eloquence of their interpreters and well wishers nor by the expertise of professional academics and the policy elite.

This brilliant and provocative book reveals yet again Nandy’s astonishing range of interests, his ability to discover invisible dimensions in everyday concepts and events, and his profound imagination and concern for the future of democratic politics. The book should be essential reading for political scientists, historians, sociologists, psychologists, and concerned citizens. These powerful alternative readings of the vital issues facing Indian politics will also find resonance in the life experiences of many, and seal Nandy’s image as the most important commentator on Indian society and politics of this generation.




The State: The Fate of a Concept
Culture, State and the Rediscovery of Indian Politics


An Anti-Secularist Manifesto
The Twilight of Certitudes: Secularism, Hindu Nationalism and Other Masks of Deculturation
History’s Forgotten Doubles
State, History, and Exile in South Asian Politics:
Modernity and the Landscape of Clandestine and Incommunicable Selves
Terrorism-Indian Style: The Birth of a Political Issue in a Populist Democracy


Culture, Voice, and Development:
A Primer for the Unsuspecting Development and Violence
The Scope and Limits of Dissent: India’s First Modern
Environmentalist and His Critique of the DVC