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October 24, 2005


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pritesh patel

'It was the darkest period of Indian democracy, a blot'




I don't mean to be an apologist for the hindu right, but hindus are hardly the only ones responsible for large-scale coordinated violence. Much like American apoligists, who give brief or no mention of the horrific crimes that ignited the modern war on terror, you fail to properly acknowledge the terrorism that sparked the gujurat riots.

Siva Vaidhyanathan

Thank you for writing these pieces on India and the dangers of Hindu extremism. It's time more people understood just how dangerous these radicals are and how many innocent people died at their hands while they were in power. It's also important to show the Congress Party that it cannot play to prejudices as well to maintain power.



of course congress can! Congress can engage in egregious violence (see post above) and still command admiration and praise from pundits and scholars like our own Ms. Nussbaum.


This is a remarkably myopic post for someone with such an impressive academic background. In criticizing the extreme right wing of Indian politics, Ms. Nussbaum's tone capriciously elides the distinction between those who "exploit for [their] own purposes thoughts that come all too easily to many Americans in the aftermath of 9/11" and those who believe that after years of ignoring terrorist activity in South Asia, the United States will sympathize with India (having faced and fought terror itself).

Furthermore, the rioters of Gujarat are no more representative of the entire "Hindu right" than bigoted, racist groups in the rest of the world are representative of the entire conservative movement. By repeatedly suggesting that this is so, Ms. Nussbaum commits a familiar but unfortunate error.

As a comment above suggests, the Gujarat riots were possibly 'the darkest period of Indian democracy,' yet to suggest that it placed the democratic system at risk nationwide is to grossly underestimate the resilience of Indian institutions and the strength of the democratic ideal in India. The United States has its own history of violence and bigotry, but through all those years, no one would claim that its democracy was endangered because the democratic ideal was alive and well. Perhaps Ms. Nussbaum should look at the rest of the world through the same prism which is applied to her own country.


I have once again written a response over at my blog: http://www.indiblog.com/67/indian-democracy-collapsed-into-religious-terror/

I have sent a trackback, but wonder if it will work this time - as it did not the previous time.


I have once again written a response that can be read at:


I have also sent a trackback, but that didn't work the last time.


Sorry for posting the URL twice!!

Jayant Bhandarkar

I truly feel that iteration on this topic is only keeping Gujarat violence "alive". People are made to relive their horror again - being reminded of the "attrocities", "unfairness" and what not that happened to them.

There is so much unverified, ideological and political mis-information floating around that a bystander has no choice but to take sides or to opt out completely.

As a bystander, let me ask a few questions:

1) Why pick Gujarat? 70% of Muslims in West Bengal live in abject poverty and the rest barely make it to the poverty line. Same is the story in Bihar. Muslims in Gujarat are much much better off economically than anywhere in the country.

2) BBC reported that local gangs take active part in rioting and looting once it starts and make it much much worse. Why is none of this taken into consideration?

3) Isnt it true that "I will show you 10 riot incidents where more Hindus died for every one incident where it happened vise-versa"?

And before you make any judegements about me, let me tell you frankly that I am NOT (and will not be) associated with any group/party. These are genuine queries I have that were never anwered, yet!

Joy. D

The lawbreakers have become lawmakers in India and democracy has been hijacked for decades now and the people's apathy towards the sorry state of affairs guarantees that democracy in India will be in such pitiful state for years to come. And people with misinformed emotions do more damage and fail to recognize the need for a change. I pity those people who refuse to believe that Indian democracy needs a major surgery.

Jayant Bhandarkar

I pity those people who refuse to believe that Indian democracy needs a major surgery.

May be it does, but Gujarat will be the last place to start. May be you need to look more into hineous politics engulfing Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, Karnataka, UP...


My what a shit load of crap, Martha Nussbaum eh ? and u are an intellectual are u ? go and learn how to do proper research first and then start analyzing your own country... the mother of all pimps..USA, a country full of bigots and hypocrites like u.


I do not have sympathy for the idiot Modi and the disrepute he brought by being unable to control the genocide in Gujarat. I for one was delighted when he was refused a US visa. I am amazed that his kind continues to be around along with the likes of the Shiv Sena led by the inflammatory Bal Thackeray and the other nutcase from RSS, KS Sudershan.

Looking at Martha Nussbaum's writing I couldnt help wondering whether she has run out of things to write. The Indian Press has severely chastised Modi and so has the Supreme Court. Also her writing style seems extremely convoluted, sentences are too long and the overall organization of her presentation makes it hard to fathom the logical threads if any. She seems to be unable to communicate her point clearly and succinctly. She rambles on sometimes even moving in circles, perhaps that is the hallmark of a true "intellectual".

Martha, why dont you pick up something like the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Tibet? For some reason Tibet remains a forgotten issue ... perhaps because it has no economic value to the US.

Concerned Hindu

Most "critics" of India start out their articles by making the claim that the west has some sort of positive opinion of India. They say that India is wrongfully regarded positively by westerners and that they intend to "demolish these myths". The readers usually go "Thanks, O great Intellectual! Thanks for clearing it up!"

Those claims can't be farther from the truth. A little amount of sympathy might have been granted towards us after 9/11 in the cotext of terrorism, but even those "sympathizers" usually talk condescendingly about "Hindu-Muslim conflict" as if India is a hellhole of constant communal conflict, with both sides being guilty. Most western Acadamecians and Mediapersons NEVER miss an oppurtunity to take a jab at India. Anti-Indian vitriol is big business. And, most disturbing of all, it's mainstream. In fact, it's usually the ONLY viewpoint on India that is accepted. I would dare to say that this is just an outlet for bigotry. Nussbaum's work has a general tone of loathesomeness and condescension towards India and Indians. Nussbaum's articles simply say "you're not hating India enough, you should". They compare the so-called Hindu "right" to Nazis and Mussolini's fascists. Yet they don't raise the kind of outrage raised by Ward "little Eichmanns" Churchill or the Harvard report on the "Israel lobby".

It's bigotry and it's accepted. And, worst of all, it is given full support by Hindu "intellectuals", because they, in their unlimited insecurity regarding their religion and inferiority complex towards the west, never miss an oppurtunity to "disassociate" themselves from India, Hindus and, most of all, "Hindu fundamentalists". They pull all stops.

BTW, Nussbaum, in one of her works, erronously claims that the "Hindu right" makes Hindus feel like they are the underdogs in India. I would only like to point out how much this underdog feeling exists in both the right and left of the American political spectrum.

Awaiting a totally condescending response (what else can you expect from an "englightened" western Intellectual?) or none at all,
A concerned Hindu


I question Nussbaum's competence to speak about India., I wonder if she reads any Indian language? She uses journalistic methods like interviews to draw inferences. Is she trained to do this kind of field reasearch??? This craving to be a public intellectual is pathetic.

Tony Sapell

How many people are in the Indian Democracy? Please post answer by tommorow- thxs.

Varun Shekhar

Nussbaum thinks only the US has the right to call itself a victim of terror. The fact is, India is a far, far worse victim! 9-11 was bad, but it is nothing compared to what India has gone through. And remember that India is a pluralistic democracy, with no history of propping up undemcratic regimes all over the globe, unlike the US! If you take all the bombings/shootings in Mumbai, Delhi, Coimbatore, Gujarat etc, they add up to a pretty horrible picture. And what about Kashmir? How can *anyone* even dream of mentioning Islamic terrorism, without talking about Kashmir. The lives India has lost, civilian, government and military, is staggering. But of course, that's not really terrorism is it? It's local politics! And the US would handle it with far greater maturity and restraint, right? Hah!


It was an uninformed piece and very weak. Like a lot of what I have read from her recently.

Here is my piece.
Lucifer versus Martha Nussbaum at Jewcy.com

I have posted more at my blog.

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