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.
My first question is related to your observations on how religion is perceived by some people as a threat, either religion on a whole or any particular religion. What is your experience in this regard and how is this being reflected in the academic world?
I think believers, particularly those who belong to a dominant religion such as Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, do see their religion as under threat especially at a collective level if not at a personal or an individual level. Perception of threat is, however, of different order depending on whether one belongs to majority or minority religious group. Minority religious groups like Christianity and Islam have primarily been seen as religions engaged in conversion to increase numbers to their ...