• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Identity Politics in India and Europe combines qualitative methods (20 interviews) with historical and philosophical analysis. The first part of the book discusses the history of perceptions between the Europe of Latin Christianity and the so-called Muslim world, starting from the 7th century onwards. The second part is devoted to a discussion on the emergence of modernity and how it changed the identity politics of earlier times. The third part explores the role that intellectual elites have to play. It comprises interviews of eminent scholars and thinkers in India such as Imtiaz Ahmad and Ashis Nandy. These make for an insightful read, especially as subtle ideological differences surface in their responses to a set of common questions.

Freedom to Non-Development
Freedom to non-development

In his preface toThe Intimate Enemy, Nandy acknowledges that ‘Western’ modernity carried the hope into the East that the break-up of traditional hierarchies would ‘open up new vistas for many, particularly for those exploited or cornered within the traditional order’.1 But the reality was rather different, he says. To Nandy, modernity visited the effects of two World Wars, Vietnam, genocides, ecodisasters and ethnocide in the ‘third world’ that it created. For him, all this is just ‘the underside of corrupt sciences and psychopathic technologies wedded to new secular hierarchies, which have reduced major civilisations to the status of a set of empty rituals’.2 Consequently, Nandy looks ‘askance at the old universalism within which the earlier critiques of colonialism were offered’.3 ...

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