While most educated people who read the papers regularly have a vague understanding that there were communal riots in India in the recent past, almost no non-desi American I’ve met has any idea of the political situation which led to these riots. I think there is a tendency to see religious violence as somehow “natural,” even when those religious have (in the past) managed to co-exist peacefully for centuries. I’m especially troubled by American devotees of Indian spiritual practices (yoga, meditation, ayurveda, etc.) who may have even spent extensive time in India, and yet remain blissfully unaware of who the RSS or BJP are.
When I’ve written about this topic in the past I’ve not been able to find a good primer for the non-Indian reader on the web, so I’m happy to see that U. Chicago law professor Martha Nussbaum has just inaugurated a series of posts on the subject. The first, entitled “India: A Democracy’s Near Collapse into Religious Terror” is up today, and more will follow. Stay tuned…
UPDATE: Part II. The Boston Review article she mentions is here (which is a great resource), and the Dissent article is here (none of the Chicago Law bloggers seem to have figured out how hyperlinks work just yet…)
UPDATE: Part V.
UPDATE: Part VI.