Thursday, May 17, 2007

Indian Democracy: the clash within civilizations

Martha Nussbaum writes about the challenges of democracy within ethnically and religiously diverse India. She offers a hopeful analysis of the situation there and what it means for other democracies, especially in the face of religious extremism, ethnic friction and political manipulation of these tensions.

"The real "clash of civilizations" is not between "Islam" and "the West," but instead within virtually all modern nations — between people who are prepared to live on terms of equal respect with others who are different, and those who seek the protection of homogeneity and the domination of a single "pure" religious and ethnic tradition. At a deeper level, as Gandhi claimed, it is a clash within the individual self, between the urge to dominate and defile the other and a willingness to live respectfully on terms of compassion and equality, with all the vulnerability that such a life entails."
-Martha Nussbaum
Section: The Chronicle Review
Volume 53, Issue 37, Page B6

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"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster