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.

Rajeev Bhargava

Rajeev Bhargava

Rajeev Bhargava

Many people these days perceive religion—religion as such, or any particular religion—as a potential source of threat. What is your experience in this regard?

I think there is a need to make a distinction between three different forms taken by religion. (i) Religion may be seen as faith, and more particularly as piety, (ii) Religion can also be seen as a cumulative tradition, and therefore as cultural heritage and (iii) Finally, religion is also an identity marker which can be linked to nationalism, on the one hand, and with all kinds of demands on the state, on the other. Given that the state is always seen to have limited resources, a situation of conflict arises when people, with a particular religious identity make ...

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