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

EnlightenmentSubscribe to Enlightenment

Dreaming in English

With the resurgence of nationalism in this age of aggressive globalisation, the call to dream in English is often a demand for conformity with what are declared to be national mainstreams. The demand for unilingualism and conformity is complicated by the idea of dreaming in English as articulated by colonised and subordinated groups in other contexts. What should give us pause, however, is any easy equation of the English language, or Western democracy, with fixed notions of science, rationality, progress and modernity. How might we think through these conundrums and challenges?

In Pursuit of Enlightenment

My hearty congratulations to Meera Nanda for her ‘Case for Indian Enlightenment’ (EPW, July 7, 2001). Though she is correct in criticising Marxists in India and outside for their total neglect even of class enlightenment, her criticism of Marx on the same point is not justified. He had given relatively the most advanced philosophical and methodological tool to Marxists and communists world over to develop and innovate, in order to make it capable of revolutionising their respective societies.

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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