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Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen, Volume 2Society, Institutions, and Development$
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Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239979

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239979.001.0001

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The Clash Within

The Clash Within

democracy and the hindu rightt

Chapter:
(p.503) Chapter 27 The Clash Within
Source:
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen, Volume 2
Author(s):

Martha C. Nussbaum (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239979.003.0028

The Gujarat program of 2002 is evidence of a profound crisis in India's democracy. Samuel P. Huntington's influential thesis of the ‘clash of civilizations’, according to which the world is torn between democratic Western values and threatening Islamic values, gives no help in explaining the situation, since the threatening values of the Hindu right derive largely from European origins and are being used to threaten innocent Muslim civilians. This chapter argues that the real ‘clash of civilization’ is the clash within every modern society between those who are prepared to live with people who differ, on terms of equal respect, and those who seek the comfort of a single ‘pure’ ethno-religious ideology. At a deeper level, the ‘clash’ is internal to each human being, as fear and aggression contend against compassion and respect. Policy-makers eager to promote the victory of respect over violence can learn from the case of India, where a wise institutional structure and a genuinely free press are major assets in resisting the call to hate. On the other hand, India's current lack of emphasis on critical thinking in the schools, and its lack, after Gandhi's death of a public culture of compassion to counter the Hindu Right's culture of humiliated, warlike masculinity, sound warning notes for the future.

Keywords:   India, Gujarat, Hindu Right, Muslims, Huntington, Golwalkar, Savarkar, respect, compassion, democracy

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