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

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Questions of Hurt

On the Wendy Doniger Controversy

While the threat posed by Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code is evident following the pulping of The Hindus, there is a need to understand the relation of these sections with republican democracy. This article explores three themes. First, it argues that these sections are themselves part of the government of free speech put in place so that "ordinary citizens" would not be hurt. Second, focusing on the writings of S N Balagangadhara, it explores how a narrative of Hindu hurt emerges. Third, it explores how Wendy Doniger's understanding of Hinduism is organised quite differently - around disciplinary history's concept of context. But contextualisation too, it suggests, is marked by a constitutive blindness to the thinking of religion as a pure gift.

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