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Book cover of The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future

The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future

by Martha C. Nussbaum

Publisher: Harvard University Press
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780674024823






Available to Buy

Synopsis of The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future

While America is focused on religious militancy and terrorism in the Middle East, democracy has been under siege from religious extremism in another critical part of the world. As Martha Nussbaum reveals in this penetrating look at India today, the forces of the Hindu right pose a disturbing threat to its democratic traditions and secular state.

Since long before the 2002 Gujarat riots—in which nearly two thousand Muslims were killed by Hindu extremists—the power of the Hindu right has been growing, threatening India's hard-won constitutional practices of democracy, tolerance, and religious pluralism. Led politically by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu right has sought the subordination of other religious groups and has directed particular vitriol against Muslims, who are cast as devils in need of purging. The Hindu right seeks to return to a "pure" India, unsullied by alien polluters of other faiths, yet the BJP's defeat in recent elections demonstrates the power that India's pluralism continues to wield. The future, however, is far from secure, and Hindu extremism and exclusivity remain a troubling obstacle to harmony in South Asia.

Nussbaum's long-standing professional relationship with India makes her an excellent guide to its recent history. Ultimately she argues that the greatest threat comes not from a clash between civilizations, as some believe, but from a clash within each of us, as we oscillate between self-protective aggression and the ability to live in the world with others. India's story is a cautionary political tale for all democratic states striving to act responsibly in an increasingly dangerous world.

Pankaj Mishra - New York Review of Books

Few contemporary philosophers in the West have reckoned with India's complex experience of democracy; and even fewer have engaged with it as vigorously as [Nussbaum] does in The Clash Within...[A] strongly felt and stimulating book.

About the Author, Martha C. Nussbaum

Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics Department of Philosophy, Law School, and Divinity School at the University of Chicago. She is the author of many books, including Poetic Justice, Love’s Knowledge, and The Fragility of Goodness.

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