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Challenging political correctness, Secular Sectarianism shows that subalterns are partly responsible for their conditions because of their inner divisions and their sheer ignorance of the very principles they claim to promote, including equality and secularism. This powerful and very original argument is made on the basis of a series of well-chosen case studies ranging from caste groups to tribes and religious minorities.
This is an original and compelling investigation into the fraught question of ‘intra-subaltern’ conflict. Moving beyond the theoretical and political complacencies of elite domination and subaltern resistance paradigms, the authors in this timely volume offer an impressive range of finely crafted, empirically rich studies of the sociology of conflict and the unpredictable dynamics of minority political agency. The volume engages audience across disciplines and reaches well beyond area studies to engage fundamental questions of political and social theory.
Around the world, academics use the language of elites and the subaltern. In Secular Sectarianism: Limits of Subaltern Politics, Ajay Gudavarthy has assembled a group of scholars to show how this binary fails to capture the messy reality of Indian politics. There is not one solid class on top and one solid class below in India. Rather, Dalits, Muslims, women, OBCs and Left-Brahmins often fight with each other, while right-wing forces have gained the support of elites within subaltern social groups.
“The book helps understand contemporary Indian politics... (and) lays emphasis on expressing citizenship through the right to speak for others and not just for oneself. Progress can be made only by opening up dialogues within and across political communities. This is essential for India’s survival as a secular and democratic nation.”