The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future

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9780674030596: The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future

While America is focused on religious militancy and terrorism in the Middle East, democracy has been under siege from religious extremism in another critical part of the world. As Martha Nussbaum reveals in this penetrating look at India today, the forces of the Hindu right pose a disturbing threat to its democratic traditions and secular state.

Since long before the 2002 Gujarat riots--in which nearly two thousand Muslims were killed by Hindu extremists--the power of the Hindu right has been growing, threatening India's hard-won constitutional practices of democracy, tolerance, and religious pluralism. Led politically by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu right has sought the subordination of other religious groups and has directed particular vitriol against Muslims, who are cast as devils in need of purging. The Hindu right seeks to return to a "pure" India, unsullied by alien polluters of other faiths, yet the BJP's defeat in recent elections demonstrates the power that India's pluralism continues to wield. The future, however, is far from secure, and Hindu extremism and exclusivity remain a troubling obstacle to harmony in South Asia.

Nussbaum's long-standing professional relationship with India makes her an excellent guide to its recent history. Ultimately she argues that the greatest threat comes not from a clash between civilizations, as some believe, but from a clash within each of us, as we oscillate between self-protective aggression and the ability to live in the world with others. India's story is a cautionary political tale for all democratic states striving to act responsibly in an increasingly dangerous world.

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About the Author:

Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago.

Review:

This is an extraordinarily interesting book on a very difficult subject. Martha Nussbaum's commanding familiarity with culturally related political issues across the world, past and present, combines immensely fruitfully here with her involvement and understanding of India. (Amartya Sen, Harvard University)

This impressive and important book grapples with the problems and consequences of religious extremism. Nussbaum's brilliant analysis of the controversy over religion and democracy in India effortlessly moves between political history, philosophy, and law, to give us a powerful and compelling narrative of the political world of the Hindu Right. It is a must-read for all those interested in understanding the dangers of religious extremism and of what preserves democracy and pluralism in the face of tensions and conflicts within. (Zoya Hasan, Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Preoccupation with the purported clash between civilizations has masked the clash within democracies. This passionate, engaged book has much to teach an American audience about the vulnerability and resilience of Indian democracy. Perhaps it will also stimulate reflections about similar clashes within American democracy. (Amrita Basu, Amherst College)

Once more, Martha Nussbaum has applied her profound philosophical intelligence to a challenging question in the practical world. In thinking through the dangers raised by the Hindu right, she teaches us a great deal about the dangers of dogmatism everywhere. (K. Anthony Appiah, Princeton University)

Few contemporary philosophers in the West have reckoned with India's complex experience of democracy; and even fewer have engaged with it as vigorously as [Nussbaum] does in The Clash Within...[A] strongly felt and stimulating book. (Pankaj Mishra New York Review of Books 2007-06-28)

Martha Nussbaum's The Clash Within presents a powerful analysis of the Hindu Right in contemporary India that is insightful and penetrating...She weaves a rich tapestry of how Hindu thought has been reshaped and distorted...She is correct to say "the clash within" that we find in India lies everywhere...The Clash Within is another remarkable achievement from the most exciting political philosopher of our age. I cannot recommend it highly enough. (Thom Brooks Times Higher Education Supplement 2007-06-29)

Nussbaum is an informed outsider looking in...Nussbaum takes one incident--the 2002 Gujarat riots that followed the burning of a train carrying Hindu activists in Godhra--and builds a grand narrative of Hindu nationalism...Nussbaum sees lessons in India's democratic achievements for the rest of the world, particularly America. Her thesis supports Ghandi's claim that "the real struggle that democracy must wage is the struggle within the individual self, between the urge to dominate and defile the other, and a willingness to live respectfully on terms of compassion and equality." (Salil Tripathi New Statesman 2007-08-06)

Nussbaum sounds a wake-up call to those who may have been unaware of the ugly nature of events in India in recent times, and the hate-filled ideology that informs them...As further evidence of the undemocratic danger that India now faces, Nussbaum turns to the attempt of the Hindu Right to hijack history and rewrite the Indian past to demonize Muslims and glorify Hindus. (David Arnold Times Literary Supplement 2007-08-24)

At a time when India is claiming more of the world's attention, the philosopher Nussbaum offers an informatively rich and sophisticated analysis of democracy and religious extremism there. (Lucian W. Pye Foreign Affairs 2007-09-01)

The Clash Within has a salutary message for crusading secularists as well as for lovers of India. (David Goodall The Tablet 2007-08-25)

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. While America is focused on religious militancy and terrorism in the Middle East, democracy has been under siege from religious extremism in another critical part of the world. As Martha Nussbaum reveals in this penetrating look at India today, the forces of the Hindu right pose a disturbing threat to its democratic traditions and secular state. Since long before the 2002 Gujarat riots--in which nearly two thousand Muslims were killed by Hindu extremists--the power of the Hindu right has been growing, threatening India s hard-won constitutional practices of democracy, tolerance, and religious pluralism. Led politically by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu right has sought the subordination of other religious groups and has directed particular vitriol against Muslims, who are cast as devils in need of purging. The Hindu right seeks to return to a pure India, unsullied by alien polluters of other faiths, yet the BJP s defeat in recent elections demonstrates the power that India s pluralism continues to wield. The future, however, is far from secure, and Hindu extremism and exclusivity remain a troubling obstacle to harmony in South Asia. Nussbaum s long-standing professional relationship with India makes her an excellent guide to its recent history. Ultimately she argues that the greatest threat comes not from a clash between civilizations, as some believe, but from a clash within each of us, as we oscillate between self-protective aggression and the ability to live in the world with others. India s story is a cautionary political tale for all democratic states striving to act responsibly in an increasingly dangerous world. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780674030596

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. While America is focused on religious militancy and terrorism in the Middle East, democracy has been under siege from religious extremism in another critical part of the world. As Martha Nussbaum reveals in this penetrating look at India today, the forces of the Hindu right pose a disturbing threat to its democratic traditions and secular state. Since long before the 2002 Gujarat riots--in which nearly two thousand Muslims were killed by Hindu extremists--the power of the Hindu right has been growing, threatening India s hard-won constitutional practices of democracy, tolerance, and religious pluralism. Led politically by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu right has sought the subordination of other religious groups and has directed particular vitriol against Muslims, who are cast as devils in need of purging. The Hindu right seeks to return to a pure India, unsullied by alien polluters of other faiths, yet the BJP s defeat in recent elections demonstrates the power that India s pluralism continues to wield. The future, however, is far from secure, and Hindu extremism and exclusivity remain a troubling obstacle to harmony in South Asia. Nussbaum s long-standing professional relationship with India makes her an excellent guide to its recent history. Ultimately she argues that the greatest threat comes not from a clash between civilizations, as some believe, but from a clash within each of us, as we oscillate between self-protective aggression and the ability to live in the world with others. India s story is a cautionary political tale for all democratic states striving to act responsibly in an increasingly dangerous world. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780674030596

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