ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Michael Gottlob

India's Unity in Diversity as a Question of Historical Perspective

In the debate about political unity and cultural diversity in India, the representation of the past often was (and is) the main battlefield. While secularists invoke the Indian tradition of toleration thus pleading for a multicultural India, communalists point to the long experience of religious strife and conclude the necessity of territorial demarcation. Some post-colonial critics even view the very reliance on history as the basic problem. The frequent instances of violence against minorities in connection with disputes over the past give cause to reconsider the role of history in the emergence of the nation state in India. Those obsessed with origin in their idea of the nation assume no perspective of change that would allow heterogeneous elements to merge. Secularists often bring into play only a singular, particular perspective, in which other possible perspectives are neglected. By inserting both the unifying model of the nation state and the diversity of cultural and social forms of life into an overarching perspective of temporal change, a modern form of unity can be accomplished that may be called unity in diversity.