What do we mean when we say India is a secular country? How is secularism defined and to what extent are secular tenets reflected in our public and private life? Are there hidden communal agendas that are innate to the socio-cultural ethos of India, and can these A½communal elementsA½ as they are so often referred to indeed undermine the integrity of the country? These are questions that must concern every educated and intelligent citizen as India makes its way into the new millennium. In a year that has seen the gruesome murder of the missionary Graham Staines, the resignation of the foreign-born president of the Congress from her post following protests about her un-Indianness, and the fall of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre by a single vote, it has become more necessary than ever to take a hard look at the A½unity in diversityA½ that India as a nation-state is supposed to represent, and to identify the strands of communalism that run through our socio-political fabric. In this remarkable and timely book edited by K.N. Panikkar who provides an illuminating introduction on the subject, six commentators on contemporary India reveal the stark truth about the communal, sectarian and segregationist tendencies that have always lurked behind our secular facade. While Romila ThaparA½s essay provides a historical overview of communalism in India, Rajeev Dhavan pinpoints the legal underpinnings of the secular identity that is propounded in IndiaA½s Constitution. Sumit Sarkar looks closely at the vexed issue of conversions which is at the centre of current debates on communalism. Jayati Ghosh, on the other hand, studies the destructive effects of communal agendas on the liberalized economy. Tanika SarkarA½s essay straddles the twin issues of gender and communalism to show how all marginalized sections are rendered equally vulnerable by the spread of communalism. Finally, Siddharth Vardarajan looks at the interesting relationship between communal thought and its representations in the media and popular culture. Thought provoking and incisive, The Concerned IndianA½s Guide to Communalism urges us to question where we stand with regard to communalism at the close of the millennium, and challenges us to fashion a truly secular identity for ourselves in the twenty-first century.These are questions that must concern every educated and intelligent citizen as India makes its way into the new millennium.
|Title||:||The concerned Indian's guide to communalism|
|Author||:||K. N. Panikkar|