Breaking the Spell of Dharma and other essays

A Case for Indian Enlightenment

Second Edition, Revised and Updated

Subjects: Religion, Social studies,

ISBN(s) 81-88394-09-2
Pub. Date March 2007
Pages XII, 164 pages
Dimensions 8.5 x 5.5 in.
Rights All rights available
  India Elsewhere
Paperback 81-88789-55-0
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In four celebrated and controversial essays Meera Nanda connects religious fundamentalism with fascism and talks about the responsibility of intellectuals. She examines the link between Hindutva and reactionary modernism, argues for linking rationalism and science for the cause of social justice and provides a detailed critique of anti-rationalist and anti-secularist currents dominant in several academic and research circles in India. This little book is a timely reminder to all those who believe in the necessity of intellectual and moral intervention in the present affairs of society and culture.

Whereas the Hindu right is busy claiming the products of modern science and technology as a part of its own heritage, the postmodernist and postcolonial intellectuals have sought to insulate non-Western cultures from modern science, which they see as alien and oppressive. The essays in the book simultaneously defend the enterprise of modern science and secularism and call for deploying scientific knowledge as a cultural weapon against the neo-traditionalist as well as reactionary modernist understanding of the world.

At a juncture when India is seeing an intensification of neo-liberal globalization and the rise of Hindu nationalism, this book serves as a timely warning.

First published in 2002, this book has gone on to become a classic.

Contents

Preface to the Second Edition

Introduction

  1. DHARMA AND THE BOMB
  2. A ‘BROKEN’ PEOPLE DEFEND SCIENCE: Dewey meets the Buddha of India’s Dalits
  3. BREAKING THE SPELL OF DHARMA: A Case for Indian Enlightenment
  4. HOW MODERN ARE WE? Cultural Contradictions of India’s Modernity

Cover: Outskirts, 1969 by Philip Guston (The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy McKee Gallery, New York, and with special thanks to Musa Mayer).

About Meera Nanda Read full profile ›

Meera Nanda is an independent scholar based in the United States. Her education has been in both science and philosophy, and her research interests include the history of science, Hindu nationalism and the subversion of scientific temper,... Read more

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