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Inclusive Imagination: A Comment On Religion And Culture In India

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Chapter Summary

The rise of religious intolerance is one of the nightmares of the present. It has narrowed perceptions of inter-religious life and perverted social relations. Norms of political responsibility oblige us to reflect on the dangerous problem of religious fundamentalism or communalism, as it is commonly termed in public discourses in India, and imagine ways of overcoming it. The secularist critique of communalism, which is deeply anchored in concepts of western liberalism, such as individual rights, majority rights, minority rights, to name a few, has limited appeal to the popular ethical imagination in India. To help render illegitimate the fundamentalist desires to defend and protect Hinduism, Indian philosopher Ramachandra Gandhi recalls an episode from the life of Swami Vivekananda, the famous nineteenth-century Hindu religious reformer.

Keywords: communalism; inclusive imagination; India; inter-religious life



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