Saturday, March 6, 2010

India Where r thou?

India also faces problems associated with accommodating religion and diversity within a large federal republic, making their experience important for Americans concerned with these issues. India faces growing action of governing which invites the use of violence to achieve political objectives. In spite of India's size and importance, it is hard for an American to gain an understanding of the issues and conflicts which have set the stage for the most recent revival of Hindu nationalism. The central feature of this new reform in Indian federal politics is the clash between Hindu and secular nationalists.

The overview of this situation comes from the perspective of an American born Indian student interested in Indian history and federal systems, so the observations are intended as suggestions designed to encourage more progressive work both in India and the United States. While the prominence of Hindu themes affects many levels of Indian government, this paper will focus only on India's central government on Hindu Nationalism. This conflict is crucial to understanding the current situation in India.

Indian democracy and secularism face a menace from the forces of militant Hinduism which hope to turn India into a Hindu state. What is the nature of the present challenge to secularism in India? What do Hindu nationalists hope to achieve by making their government more assertively Hindu? One can begin to answer these questions by examining the large body of writing on secularism recently produced by Indians. Academics, lawyers, journalists, and political citizens have explored the many facets of Indian secularism. These works provide clues to the nature of Hindu nationalism's appeal in contemporary Indian politics.

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