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.
Many, these days, perceive some specific religion or religions as such as a threat. How do you experience this in your personal environment?
There are many aspects of religion, I think, that one needs to differentiate between. There is certainly a politicised mode of religion. That's quiet apparent in the politics of the Ramjanmabhumi Movement and the demolition of the Babri Mosque that we've lived through; the minoritisation of Muslims and Christians, Gujarat 2002, and so on. What's coming out now in the media are the testimonies of people in Gujarat who were involved directly in violence. This is something one has known but to have it down in black and white and the graphic use of language is something that really shakes ...