A Look Inside Indian Nationalism
Here's a unique opportunity to see the inside view of cultural and historiographical debates going on in India. Rajiv Malhotra of the Infinity Foundation, who has taken a pretty strong Hindu nationalist position on H-Asia, sent out an invitation to discussion and debate to"Leftists" (by which he seems to mean everyone from liberal secularists to Maoists), including a few historical-cultural propositions to start the discussion. Among his contentions: the historical specificity of the Abrahamic faiths is contributing to the Indian conflict by transmitting its tradition of rigid sacred place/time connections to Hinduism; most of his letter, though, is attacks on the"anti-Hindu" character of the Left and Western-oriented scholarship. Vijay Prashad took up the challenge, starting with a defense of the the critical Indian Marxist tradition, and a careful distinction between Hinduism and Hindutva, republican nationalism and ethnic nationalism, and a critique of national essentialism. However, as Malhotra points out, he doesn't directly engage some of the more interesting historical propositions, to which Malhotra adds a striking leftist critique of what he calls"religious multi-national corporations" and orientalist critique of the position of Indian and Asian studies in the Western Academy. Malhotra's critique of social criticism of the Indian jati caste system makes it very clear that his position is in favor of the blanket veneration of"true" Indian tradition in spite of its problematic aspects. That's where the discussion has ended, so far. It looks to me like they're talking past each other, and will probably continue to do so, but sometimes it's worth reading these things directly.
comments powered by Disqus
Ophelia Benson - 1/18/2004
It's interesting what a multitude of sins the word 'Orientalism' can cover. It seems often to mean 'disagreement with anything I decide for the purposes of this discussion is authentically Indian.' In fact it functions rather the way 'un-American' once did. So people like Romila Thapar, Amartya Sen, Meera Nanda are accused of Orientalizing because they oppose Hindutva and are in favor of rationalism and evidence and science. But as Sen often points out, it's absurd to think that rationalism is a monopoly of the West or of Europe.
- Killer took selfie after stabbing historian over rare ‘Wind in the Willows’ book
- VW fires corporate historian who drew attention to wartime ties to Nazis
- Trump Recording Narrows Divide on Sexual Assault
- SUNY professor says Trump win at least 87 percent certain; other polls 'bunk'
- Petition Started to Include Clarence Thomas in National African American Museum
- Garry Wills says there’s one human test we can use to decide who’s the better candidate: Trump or Clinton
- Get to Know the Semifinalists for the National Book Award
- Steven Runciman — historian, tease and professional enigma — is the subject of a biography
- Historian Eric Foner: Trump is Logical Conclusion of What the GOP Has Been Doing for Decades
- Ken Burns developing 'The Gene' based on Mukherjee's bestseller