In This Review

The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future

The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future
By Martha C. Nussbaum
432 pp, Harvard University Press, 2007
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At a time when India is claiming more of the world's attention, the philosopher Nussbaum offers an informatively rich and sophisticated analysis of democracy and religious extremism there. She reveals a deep attachment to Indian society and culture even as she describes the horrors of the genocide in Gujarat, where right-wing Hindus slaughtered some 2,000 Muslims. She moves with ease from sweeping historical themes to the biographical details of individual Indian leaders, giving a sense of how Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were so successful in explaining and managing Indian developments. Nussbaum is particularly good in her analysis of the problems Indians have with interpreting their history and coping with fantasies about cultural purity and India's historic greatness. She rejects the theory of a "clash of civilizations"; more important are the clashes within the minds of individual Indians.