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

Articles by Rajeev BhargavaSubscribe to Rajeev Bhargava

Nehru’s Enlightened Middle Way

Who Is Bharat Mata? On History, Culture and the Idea of India: Writings by and on Jawaharlal Nehru, edited and with an introduction by Purushottam Agrawal, Speaking Tiger, New Delhi, 2019; pp 474, ₹359.

Nehru against Nehruvians

Jawaharlal Nehru’s views on religion and secularism, indeed even his considered political practice, were very different from the Nehruvian secularism that emerged soon after his death, a handiwork of intellectuals close to his daughter, Indira Gandhi. It is an argument of this paper that Nehruvian views on secularism must give way to Nehru’s own views on the matter which have great relevance today.

Reimagining Secularism

It is widely recognised that political secularism, virtually everywhere in the world, is in crisis. It is also acknowledged that to overcome this crisis, secularism needs to be reimagined and reconceptualised. This article takes the first few steps towards doing so. It argues, first, that we need to move away from the standard church-state models of secularism and begin to focus instead on secularism as a response to deep religious diversity. Second, it claims that diversity must be understood as enmeshed in power relations, and therefore the hidden potential of religion-related domination must be explicitly acknowledged. Third, these two moves enable us to view secularism as a response to two forms of institutionalised religious domination, inter- and intra-religious. This way of conceiving secularism rebukes the charge that secularism is intrinsically anti-religious. Secularism is not against religion; it opposes institutionalised religious domination. Finally, the article argues that this conception entails that a secular state shows critical respect to all religious and philosophical world views, possible only when it adopts a policy of principled distance towards all of them.

History, Nation and Community

If it is true that emotions must be brought back into social science then to begin doing so, surely no better site exists than the study of nation-building. This paper attempts to do just this. It discusses in some detail how the nation, the cultural community and the relation between the two were imagined by historical actors in India. The author argues that a failure to achieve the objective of living within a single unified state is to be explained not just by economic and religious causes but by a lack of political imagnination shaped as it was by distinct conceptions of nation and community, as by differing emotions.

Karl Popper Reason without Revolution

Revolution Rajeev Bhargava Popper will be remembered as one of the great philosophers of science in the 20th century. On the other hand, his place as a political philosopher is far less secure. Why?

Giving Secularism Its Due

Rajeev Bhargava Political secularism has little or no conception of community. It is non-communitarian. From this it does not follow that there are no secular communitarians and that to live together well we must prepare a gingerly mix of political secularism and nan-secular communitarianism. The pluralist version of ethical secularism which is both secular and communitarian is worth exploring and enriching.

Continuing Relevance of Socialism

The collapse of the socialist world has once again brought back dangers not only of authoritarianism but of a retreat from the contingent humanity of capitalism. Without the support of the ethical vision provided by the left, liberalism can be easily swept aside by racism, exclusivist nationalism and religious fundamentalism. The demands of the people of the former Soviet Union and eastern Europe are prosperity, liberty and democracy. Tragically, what they might get instead is more suffering, more repression and an even more degrading uniformity.

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