Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India

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Oxford University Press, Nov 22, 2011 - Religion - 362 pages
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India is frequently represented as the quintessential land of religion. Johannes Quack challenges this representation through an examination of the contemporary Indian rationalist organizations: groups who affirm the values and attitudes of atheism, humanism, or free-thinking. Quack shows the rationalists' emphasis on maintaining links to atheism and materialism in ancient India and outlines their strong ties to the intellectual currents of modern European history. At the heart of Disenchanting India is an ethnographic study of the organization ''Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti'' (Organization for the Eradication of Superstition), based in the Indian State of Maharashtra. Quack gives a nuanced account of the Organization's specific "mode of unbelief." He describes the group's efforts to encourage a scientific temper and to combat beliefs and practices that it regards as superstitious. Quack also shows the role played by rationalism in the day-to-day lives of the Organization's members, as well as the Organization's controversial position within Indian society. Disenchanting India contributes crucial insight into the nature of rationalism in the intellectual life and cultural politics of India.
  

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Contents

Introduction
3
Object of Inquiry Indian Rationalists Modes of Unbelief and Disenchantment
7
History Roots of Organized Rationalism in India
47
Ethnography Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti ANiS
107
Theory The Mode of Unbelief of ANiS
271
References
313
Appendixes
335
Index
355
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About the author (2011)


Johannes Quack studied Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Anthropology at the Universities of Bayreuth, Edinburgh, and Heidelberg. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cluster of Excellence "Asia & Europe," Heidelberg University and is currently research fellow at McGill University, Montreal.

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