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Ashis Nandy


1. This is a revised version of a note originally meant for presentation at the symposium on Siting Secularism—whatever that means—at the Oberlin College, Department of Human Resources, 19-21 April 2002. However, I made a different presentation there, in response to the nature of the debates going on in the symposium.

2. Ashis Nandy, ‘An Anti-Secularist Manifesto’, India International Quarterly, Spring, 1995, 22(1), pp. 35-64; ‘The Politics of Secularism and the Recovery of Religious Tolerance’, Alternatives, 1988, 13(2), pp. 177-94; and ‘The Twilight of Certitudes: Secularism, Hindu Nationalism and Other Masks of Deculturation’, in Patricia Uberoi, Veena Das and Dipankar Gupta (ed.), Tradition, Pluralism and Identity: In Honour of T. N. Madan (New Delhi: Sage, 1999), pp. 401-19.

3. Sunil Khilnani, The Idea of India (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1997).

4. To get an idea of R. J. Rummell’s work, see

5. Rollo May, The Courage to Create; and Power and Innocence (New York: Norton, 1972).

6. See for an example, see Khilnani, The Idea of India, which accuses Madan of pleading for majoritarian rule, then recommends to his readers Madan’s book, which specifically argues against majoritarian rule, and then goes on to argue in the same breath that Madan seems to plead for minoritarian rule in the form of a Brahminic polity.

7. Mukul Kesavan, Secular Common Sense (New Delhi: Penguin, 2001).

8. Achin Vanaik, Communalism Contested: Religion, Modernity and Secularization (New Delhi: Sage, 1997).

9. Ashis Nandy, Shikha Trivedi, Achyut Yagnik and Shail Mayaram, Creating a Nationality: The Ramjanma bhumi Movement and Fear of the Self (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995); and Ashis Nandy, An Ambiguous Journey to the City: The Village and Other Odd Ruins of the Self in the Indian Imagination (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001), Ch 4. See also Ashis Nandy, ‘Time Travel to a Possible Self: Searching for the Alternative Cosmopolitanism of Cochin’, The Japanese Journal of Political Science, December 2000, 1(2), pp. 293-327; and ‘A Report on the Present State of Health of the Gods and Goddesses in South Asia’, Postcolonial Studies, July 2001, 4(2), pp. 1125-42.

10. Following the criticisms of a number of friends, but primarily Gustavo Esteva, I have started using the term hospitality rather than tolerance, but only when talking of the ideal or goal of interreligious dialogues. For I am also aware that competitive mass politics can at best ensure tolerance, not hospitality. I may, however, now onwards use the expression convivencia, which anthropologist Nur Yalman has recommended I use, to cover both the normative and the political. It was the term used in Moorish Spain—arguably the only truly multi-ethnic, multi-religious polity Europe has produced during the last thousand years—and simultaneously invokes the concept of conviviality that Ivan Illich talks about in his Tools of Conviviality (New York: Harper and Row, 1973).

11. Eva Fogelman, ‘Victims, Perpetrators, Bystanders and Rescuers in the Face of Genocide and Its Aftermath’, in Charles B. Strozier and Michael Flynn (eds.), Genocide, War and Human Survival (New Yale: Rowman and Littlefield), pp. 87-98.

12. For instance, Sumanta Banerji, ‘Sangh Parivar and Demo cratic Rights’, Economic and Political Weekly, 1993, 28(34), p. 1715–8.


p. 1 p. 2 Notes

Ashis Nandy, political psychologist and social theorist, is Senior Fellow of the
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi