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

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Civilisation Mongering and Right-wing Culturalism

Hindu–Muslim Relations: What Europe Might Learn from India by Jörg Friedrichs, Routledge India, 2018; pp 152, 695 (hardcover).

 

The book asks in its title, “What Europe might learn from India” regarding Hindu–Muslim relations? Jörg Friedrichs analyses that “native Europeans and Muslim minorities are rather inexperienced in dealing with one another” (p vi) and that “we” should learn from “how India, throughout its history and without losing its soul, [has] been able to maintain its unique civilisation.” He concludes that “the European suppression of civilisational awareness is part of the problem” and that Europe needs a “raison de civilisation” to survive (p 11).

Friedrichs takes up a highly relevant question and talks to interesting prota­gonists about different aspects of it. While there are certain thought-provoking insights, ideas and concepts brought up by both the interviewees and the author, there are rather fundamental problems with the book making it very difficult to appreciate those. With its arguments, choice of words and references, the book fits perfectly into the narratives of the right. For the critical reader to indulge and open one’s mind to think the arguments through, the analysis of the book is not good enough and it is too hard to see what his main conclusion is based upon empirically.

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Updated On : 18th Feb, 2021

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