In This Review

Anti-Christian Violence in India
Anti-Christian Violence in India
By Chad M. Bauman
Cornell University Press, 2020, 320 pp.

Bauman enters deeply into the thinking of Hindu nationalists to show that their acts of violence against Christians are motivated not by disputes over doctrine but by an even more basic clash over the role of religion. In the eyes of Hindu nationalists, Hinduism is not a universal creed but a particularistic identity and way of life. They see Christians as the bearers of a foreign, individualistic culture who seek to undermine Indian identity by converting nonbelievers to their faith. Bauman acknowledges that material and political interests also help motivate the violence. For example, most Christian converts are Dalits who are looking for a way out of their disadvantaged status in the caste system. But a major driver of the violence is the scapegoating of Christians for the damage that globalization is doing to traditional values. One wishes that Bauman had considered whether his analysis could also help explain anti-Muslim violence in India and anti-Christian violence in other parts of the world.