This valuable collection of essays by KN Panikkar chronicles contemporary South Asia as it has unfolded in the last three decades. His being a historian of modern India has lent to his analysis of contemporary concerns a unique vantage point not available in most commentaries of contemporary South Asia.
The author focuses on the alliance between the neo-liberal policies and Hindu fundamentalism in India, and the vicissitudes of politics in all of South Asia, particularly the rights of minorities and the linkages between religious fundamentalism and the erosion of democracy. He gives special attention to the historical context of the Hindu right wing cultural project and outlines the agenda for struggle against the corrosive influence of this home grown fascism.
The destruction of the educational system through privatization by all political regimes, and particularly its communalization during the NDA regime are shown as major setbacks to the secular and democratic project in South Asia. The significance of history as a site of struggle and contestations over history is a running thread in these essays.
The essays are written in a style that is accessible, and are a wonderful illustration of how those involved in academics can make a larger public participate in the intellectual debates of our times. This book would be useful for those engaged in academics of course, but students, civil society activists and concerned citizens would also gain from it and enjoy it tremendously.
1. History and Historiography
2. National Politics
3. Communal Politics