Assertive Religious Identities: India and Europe

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Satish Saberwal, Mushirul Hasan
Manohar, Jan 1, 2006 - Religion and politics - 480 pages
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Arising out of a seminar at Jamia Millia Islamia in October 2003, this volume addresses an aspect of Indian society which has been a matter of widespread concern: the working, that is, of major institutions -- some Hindu, some Muslim -- whose ideologies and positions have been socially separative. These institutions -- Arya Samaj, the seminary at Deoband, RSS, Tablighi Jamaat -- have been active for several generations now. While their ostensible functions are 'religious' or 'cultural', which seem innocent enough, for their (implicitly or explicitly separative) agendas, these have worked out low cost forms of organization and activity -- which have given them a rather formidable expansive dynamic, which, has significant transnational, dimensions in each case. Their activities and campaigns have often been aggressive, sometimes prone to violence; and these have served, may be unintentionally, to provoke each other, thereby giving the other side justification for its own contentious activities, as if in collective self-defence. The mutual provocations have, over the decades, confirmed for both sides, a sense of their own victim-hood. These social mechanisms have had significant social and political consequences -- yet have remained largely off the radars of public attention. It is a complex theme; and this volume presents many facets from different angles. Several contributors employ a long-term historical perspective; and also a comparative one, reaching out to Europe, another major region where the mutual relations between major religious traditions have also been problematical for a very long time.

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