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October 31, 2005

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Jayant Bhandarkar

The unscrupulous tirade continues...

Claiming Kashmir as an exception for terrorism is like saying 9/11 attack is an exception in West...

In any case, I was hoping someone would respond to some my very specific queries...

http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/faculty/2005/10/india_a_democra.html#comment-10679185

anon

"A further reason for writing these posts and my book, then, is to argue for the need for more complicated and individualized models of religious violence. When we are dealing with a complex and variegated world, simplistic thesis such as the “clash of civilizations” idea are not at all helpful."

yet blaming the monolithic hindu right for the precarious state of indian democracy is permissible?

anon

Prof. Nussbaum is correct in her assertion that Muslims in India are a peaceful, hard-working community, and participate fully in the country's vibrant democratic process. It strikes me as particularly unfortunate that she is incapable of making this point without including subtle barbs such as "despite discrimination and even persecution..." In India, more than in any other pluralistic country, minority institutions and freedoms are jealously guarded. Educational institutions, for instance, enjoy a vastly preferential status if they are affiliated with a religious or social minority. Inevitably, there has been a backlash against preferential treatment given to minorities. It is easy to make a theoretical argument about the need to give such groups additional protection. An analysis of Indian constitutional law, however, provides ample evidence of "affirmative action" gone overboard. This is not a justification for violence - fundamentalist violence must be condemned across the board. However, to paint the Hindu majority as being entirely responsible for India's problems, as Prof. Nussbaum seems inclined to do, is patently unfair. People in democracies peacefully press for their own rights to be represented. The majority of the Hindu right seeks to do just this. In the process, if they seek to unwind some of the special protections, so be it.

One example is the issue of a common code of civil law in India. At present, there are disparities in the laws applicable to Muslims and to other groups. Muslims, for instance, are free to commit bigamy, and Islamic law allows men to divorce their wives with little or no justification. Providing one sided evidence of Muslims seeking to educate their daughters is disingenuous in the face of the huge Muslim opposition to amending discriminatory laws. A major demand of the right wing in India is to create a unified civil code which will apply to all groups.

Furthermore, this post attempts to separate the issue of Kashmir from the rest of the debate over secularism in India. Such an attempt is doomed to failure, since the issues of Kashmir and relations with Pakistan are fundamental to Indians' sense of religious freedom. Pakistan was founded on a purely religious plank, and thus must derive its justification for existence from a purported fundamentalist environment in India. The fact that Muslims can live in India peacefully is simultaneously a blow to Pakistan's raison d'etre, and a repudiation of its claim to Kashmir on religious grounds. Little wonder, then, that Kashmir is a crucial battleground for Islamic fundamentalists. It is in Kashmir that the fate of South Asian secularism may well be decided.

Sooraj

Oh, and a slightly delayed criticism of it: US Academic thinks Indian Democracy is in Danger -

http://www.indiblog.com/74/us-academic-thinks-indian-democracy-is-in-danger/

alex

This post demonstrates an unfamiliarity with recent events in Bangladesh; several statements made here are plainly incorrect (e.g. that the citizens of Bangladesh have no ties to international Islamic terrorism). See for example this article in today's Sunday Times,

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1869575,00.html

for some background on Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in Bangladesh.

Nishant

The author seems to have no idea about India. language and traditional practices of north and south are distinct but say that Southern India had more interaction with Europe than northern part is more of an invention than academic discovery.

as for persecution of muslims, it is more of a myth then a reality.Most of the indian are still secular and hardly have any agenda for muslims. Though some discrimination exists, but it always existed between different communities.
and talking about Gujarat riots, people forget that it happened because of ORGANISED MASSACRE of HINDU pilgrims in a train.

well, bangladesh has its own list of islamic fundamentalist parties that have links wiht taliban/al quaeda networks of pakistan. they actively encourage land grabbing of indian border towns and spreading jihadi links.This has also hardline approach by Hindu organisations.
But, calling all such events a precusor to collapse of democracy in India sounds like a dream of a Pakistani!!!

Syd

its all really very easy, all the minorities that are alien to a hindu way of life in a hindu country and are constantly moaning about the short end of the stick, fuck off!

maria tabassum

sir,
We the muslims of india are thankful to u for not portraying us as terrorists.as the global scenario is going against muslims we feel lucky to be in a country which gives us freedom of speech and equal rights in all respects.gujrat riots were a very bad phase in the phase of our otherwise glorious history.Now we have a more secular government at the centre and they are probing the whole matter.

Justice nanavati commission has given its judgement aginst the gujarat government lead by BJP.

Its a different aspect that how far action has been taken against them.hope the scenario would change soon.

Arjun Sheoran, NLSIU, Bangalore, India

Dear Prof. Nussbaum

I think that you have beautifully brought forth the reasons for the rise of hindu fundamentalism and the
fascist ideology of the hindu right i.e. the RSS, Shiv Sena and the VHP portraying hindus as peace loving people who have been subjugated by these oh-so-awful muslims and have forgotten their true nature, which is epitomized by the Kings of medieval India who fought for the Hindu Rashtra(nation).

In fact I would like to say that Anon's post talks about the very same issues and gives the very same arguments that the Hindu right gives. Other arguments includes the subsidy given for Haj, Article 370 of the Indian Constitution(who contrary to popular belief has taken away any power from the
J&K Assembly and has given them to Central Executive and also includes other ways and means in which muslims of India are "appeased".

However, despite all this why don't the hindu fundamentalists explain the reason why more muslims have been killed in every riot in this country than the hindus in the last 30 years or why do a majority of muslims in India still remain a politically, educationally and socially and under privileged community barring the exception of a handful who come from the aristocracy and own big businesses.

Probably the intention of the hindu fundamentalist s is to invoke a sense of fear and insecurity in the minds of middle class hindu's like me. And they have succeeded in a way.....Modi's victory in this election is a clear cut example of this.

Matt

You mention that Indian Christianity is of different European origin, and Catholic/Protestant. That leaves out a significant community of traditional southern "Malabar Christians" (Nasrani) of Middle-Eastern origin concentrated in Kerala.

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