‘India is in crisis but the world is distracted’

Martha Nussbaum, the University of Chicago professor, has an article in the latest issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education in which she views Samuel Huntington‘s “Clash of Civilisations” thesis through the prism of Gujarat. On the day Asia’s biggest mosque was made the target of attack in Hyderabad, it makes for compelling reading.

“The real “clash of civilizations” is not between “Islam” and “the West,” but instead within virtually all modern nations—between people who are prepared to live on terms of equal respect with others who are different, and those who seek the protection of homogeneity and the domination of a single “pure” religious and ethnic tradition.

“At a deeper level, as Gandhi claimed, it is a clash within the individual self, between the urge to dominate and defile the other and a willingness to live respectfully on terms of compassion and equality, with all the vulnerability that such a life entails.”

In the piece headlined “Fears for Democracy in India”, Nussbaum argues that the Indian democracy is in crisis while America and the world have been distracted by the War on Terror, Iraq and the Middle East. And that what is happening in India is a serious threat to the future of democracy in the world.

More controversially, Nussbaum contends that the forces that assail democracy, as in Gujarat, are internal to many, if not most, democratic nations, and they are not foreign:

“They are our own ideas and voices, meaning the voices of aggressive European nationalism, refracted back against the original aggressor with the extra bile of resentment born of a long experience of domination and humiliation.”

Read the full article here: Fears for Democracy in India