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Disenchanting IndiaOrganized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India$
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Johannes Quack

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199812608

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812608.001.0001

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ANiS in Context

ANiS in Context

(p.245) 15 ANiS in Context
Disenchanting India

Johannes Quack

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a description of the criticism and socio-political context of ANiS within Maharashtra. It briefly outlines why rationalism is rejected as a “Western” import from post-colonial intellectuals as well as from Hindu nationalist and fundamentalist groups. The focus lies primarily on Hindu groups as represented by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) and their reaction to the “Anti-Superstition Bill” drafted by ANiS, as well as to a controversial program held by ANiS activists in July 2007. On this basis, it is argued that while Hindu nationalists and fundamentalists vehemently oppose ANiS, they nevertheless share aspects of the rationalists’ discourse since both groups consider many beliefs and practices of uneducated and illiterate people to be backward, superstitious, wrong and harmful, and therefore worthy of removal from Indian society.

Keywords:   social context, politics, post-colonial theory, Hindu nationalism, Hindu fundamentalism, Anti-Superstition Bill, illiterate, backward, superstition, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

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