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Anxieties of DemocracyTocquevillean Reflections on India and the United States$
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Partha Chatterjee and Ira Katznelson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198077473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198077473.001.0001

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Hinduism and Social Democratization

Hinduism and Social Democratization

A Preliminary Sketch

(p.192) 6 Hinduism and Social Democratization
Anxieties of Democracy

Rajeev Bhargava

Oxford University Press

Numerous studies have explored the nature of the faith and religion of the Hindus, the political construction of Hinduism and Hindu nationalism, and the impact of colonial modernity on Hindu faith and practice. However, virtually no one has addressed the question raised by Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America: What is the impact of democracy on Christianity? This chapter discusses how democracy has shaped Hinduism, how Hinduism adapts to the democratic age and becomes a vehicle of social democratization, and what happens to Hinduism in an age that is constantly striving for equality of condition. More specifically, it examines what happens to Hinduism under conditions of what can be called social democratization (social equality, egoistic individualism, and a robust propensity for materialism). The chapter also discusses scripture and ritual in Hinduism, unity and plurality within Hinduism, and the impact of democratization of religion on women.

Keywords:   Hinduism, democracy, Christianity, social democratization, social equality, individualism, materialism, unity, plurality, women

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