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Teaching Religion and Violence$
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Brian K. Pennington

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372427.001.0001

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M. K. Gandhi: A Postcolonial Voice

M. K. Gandhi: A Postcolonial Voice

(p.268) Chapter 11 M. K. Gandhi: A Postcolonial Voice
Teaching Religion and Violence

Paul Younger

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes a course taught in a Canadian university over a thirty year period. The majority of its students have been first and second generation immigrants from South Asia. The course has focused on Gandhi’s strategic and selective engagement with British Orientalism’s justification for colonialism as preparation for India’s postcolonial future. Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj and his confrontation with V. D. Savarkar, whom he believed inherited both the penchant for violence and an imperious understanding of religion from his colonial masters, provide the central framework for the exposition of Gandhi’s views. The students’ central concern has often been assessing whether Gandhi’s version of pluralism provides South Asians with a sufficiently clear postcolonial self-understanding to defuse the threat of violence in the name of caste, community, or religion in the pluralist nation-state.

Keywords:   caste, Hind Swaraj, M. K. Gandhi, orientalism, postcolonialism, V. D. Savarkar

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