ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Case for Indian Enlightenment

Breaking the Spell of Dharma

This paper makes a fresh case for the renewal of an Enlightenment-style critique of the dharmic understanding of nature and society in India. Challenging the postmodernist and postcolonial critics who reduce the Euro-American Enlightenment to discourses of western imperialism and patriarchy, the author seeks to recover the critical impulse behind it and attempts to find cultural homologues for an Enlightenment-style 'revolt against superstition' in Indian society. By analysing how Hindu dharma naturalises hierarchy and patriarchy, the paper argues for the need for a scientific demystification of the order of nature. Without a critical engagement with the content of Hinduism's sacred tenets, it is argued here, secularisation of consciousness and culture cannot succeed.

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