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

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Why Is Religious Conversion Controversial in India?

In Search of Identity – Debates on Religious Conversion in India by Sebastian C H Kim; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2003; pp xi+250, Rs 525 (HB).

Religion and Colonial Modernity

This paper while questioning the assumption that religious imaginary preceded modernity, argues for the need to seriously address the fashioning of the caste self and a new collectivity within a religious imagining under colonialism. Colonial structures of governance often ignored the alternative realms - ties of locality and kinship often articulated in religious terms - which, emerged, opposed and even were antagonistic to the idea of a national identity. In the south, the attraction of the lower castes for Christianity was partly prompted by the need to move away from the cycle of oppression and inequality and also because the religion allowed for their entry into a wider public sphere, as individuals.

The Icon of Mother in Late Colonial North India

In the metaphor of nationalism, it is the female body and the many faces of 'mother' - motherland, mother tongue, motherhood - have served as the most universal and potent symbols of imagining the nation. The symbol of mother was especially effective because it could take on different meanings in different contexts. This paper examines how and why the metaphor of mother was used in multiple fields in late colonial north India, with a special focus on the UP. Hindu publicists of UP particularly worked the icon of the mother into narratives of nation, language and cow, thereby sharpening the contours of community identity.

Heroes, Histories and Booklets

The new emergence of the educated and politically conscious middle class of dalit-bahujan origin in UP and Bihar active in writing, propagating and publishing literature, with a view to creating awareness among the backward classes coincides with the rise of bahujan politics through the early 1980s. The emergence of new heroes in literature and hitherto neglected and ignored traditions is related to the need to acquire self-respect and social acceptance. But in its search for identity, dalit-bahujan literature, by propping itself up as counter-literature, also seeks realisation by a negation of brahminic literature.

Foiling the Saffron Design

This is with reference to Asghar Ali Engineer's article ('Communal Riots, 2000', January 27) that I read with great pain and disturbance. My childhood memories which witnessed Hindu-Sikh riots in 1984 were rekindled. Each incident that he narrated, held in itself a horrifying tale of atrocities and...

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