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The Indian Elections And Fundamentalism

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In the lumbering yet powerful manner of a great Indian elephant, the gigantic task of holding national elections in India is moving forward. Long lines of men and women across the country inch forward to cast their ballots. It is an impressive thing to witness. 


India has many serious issues to deal with—its economy, geopolitics, education, the empowerment of women, health, and on and on the list goes. But there is one crucial freedom—often undervalued—that must be protected if India is truly to be considered the world’s largest democracy. Freedom of expression. Just like in the West, the right is enjoying an upswing in momentum. Fanaticism and fear-mongering is gaining more traction than reason and rationality.


Hinduism—the great testament to humanity’s imagination and complexities; the subject of countless books, essays and academic studies; the world’s oldest religion—is being used by political factions to silence India’s creative and artistic classes.


It all came to a boiling point in February, after a right-wing religious group threatened to take legal action against Penguin for a book it deemed insulting to Hindus. The publishing house agreed to effectively ban the book titled The Hindus: An Alternative History by religions professor Wendy Doniger in India.


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