Under The Sun

Thursday, January 08, 2004


"Democratic politics have to find a way of accomodating communal feelings, and Nehru's lofty disdain for all faiths, except "scientific socialism", helped to provoke the kind of religious extremism that is now causing so much damage. A man who saw religion as nothing more than "senseless and criminal bigotry" was not best placed to understand the concerns of Muslims who feared the domination of Hindus in the struggle for independence. His advice to a Muslim friend that he should read more Bertrand Russell was typical of his own background and taste, but perhaps not the most useful counsel he could have given. And the aggressive secularism of Nehru's Congress Party, though intellectually appealing, was unable to contain the religious chauvinism of a rising Hindu middle class."
--Ian Buruma, reviewing Shashi Tharoor's Nehru: The Invention of India in the NY Times Book Review

I noticed this because it's case in point for the argument I was trying to make to my family over dinner, about how liberal humanism in the US ended up producing Dubya. My family doesn't understand the Christian mindset, and therefore can't see why the policies they advocate alienate Christians. And then they wonder why the US is experiecing a conservative religious revival, and electing its President to fit. This is why.

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