On The Real Tragedy of Secular Modernity: Anand Vivek Taneja

This is a guest post by ANAND VIVEK TANEJA

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In the discussion around Aarti Sethi’s essay on Remembering Maqsood Pardesi some very important questions arose. As these questions are directly relevant to my work, but also to the larger concerns of the Kafila community, I decided to dwell on them at some length. As these reflections were written in response to the comments of one particular person, I address him directly in what follows below.

Dear Imtiaz,

In your comments on Aarti’s essay, you say the following things about my work:

The tragedy of secular moderns of India is their fascination with Islam… And it appears secular modern Hindus are too busy analyzing jinns of Delhi, which is really sad!

… what do I do with the knowledge of emerging liberal ideologues working for the empire writing enchanting texts about chattan baba or the jinns?

 

I think that your opening statement is profound. But to understand its true depth, we need to revisit the terms “secular”, and “modern”, as well as our understandings of “Hinduism” and “Islam.” As an entry point into these questions, I will address your (rhetorical) question about what one should, and can do with “enchanting” texts about jinns.

For a start, one should read them first. My apologies if I am wrong, but it is seems very clear to me that you have not read my work at all before commenting on it vociferously in a public forum. For my work, in the most straightforward, limited, and obvious senses of the term, is distinctly political. In my one published article on the jinns of Delhi (published in an open access journal), I look at how the realm of politics, the ways in which people interact with and are affected by the post-colonial state, might affect transformations in popular theology. To reduce my argument to its simplest, the theological novelty of jinns emerging as venerated saints in contemporary Delhi cannot be understood without also paying attention to the ways in which the state, haunted by the violence of Partition, continues to erase and deaden Muslim landscapes of memory. In stories told in contemporary Delhi, long lived jinn act as transmitters connecting human beings centuries apart in time. These stories acknowledge the break in human genealogies of memory in the face of the violence of Partition and the cultivated archival amnesia of the post-colonial state. But they also attest to ways in which this break can be and has been surmounted. In petitions deposited to jinn-saints in the ruined medieval palace of Firoz Shah Kotla, medieval Islamic ideas of justice come together with modern bureaucratic techniques. What I call jinnealogy, the supercession of human chains of memory by the long lives of the jinn, brings up other temporalities, political theologies, and modes of witnessing against the empty, homogenous time of the modern state, which wishes to forget all states of affairs, all forms of life, all claims to belonging prior to 1947.

Is this, as in your characterization, an “enchanting” text? I wish that were the case. But it is a text which deals explicitly with questions of enchantment, and its role in public life. Does this engagement with enchanted practices make this text, and my work, any less political? I don’t think so. At the most obviously political level, my article explores how violence perpetrated by Hindutva ideologues in 1947 utterly transformed the secular Indian state’s relationship to the monuments of its Islamic past. Is this irrelevant to our understandings of the ways in which Hindutva ideologues have successfully transformed public discourse and state practices in India, paving the way for our current government? And what do we do with people depositing letters of petition written to Muslim jinn-saints in the ruins of a fourteenth century palace, a ruined space of pre-modern Muslim sovereignty? Surely, if not an evocation of and relation to other forms of life, and other modes of being, even to the most disenchanted gaze, it is a form of critique of the contemporary state and its dealings with its own people. The letters addressed to the jinns, often photocopied, open up an alternative imaginary of how one could relate to the state. This is an imagination of a relation to sovereignty, and to justice, which transcends people’s experiences and expectations of the current state.

If an enchanted form of popular Islam can hold open the potentialities of critique (and not merely “resistance”) to the modern post-colonial state and the limits of its imagination, then what light might this cast on the relationship between Islam and the secular modern Hindus who are tragically fascinated by it?

What does it mean to be “secular” individual, as opposed to a secular state? The common-sense of the term in India is a person who does not differentiate between people on the basis of religious identity. I would certainly hope that I am secular in this sense. But there is another meaning of the term secular, one at which we can arrive via putting the work of philosophers Charles Taylor and Akeel Bilgrami in conversation. To be secular, in this sense, is to inhabit a desacralized world, a world of brute and inert matter, a material world which makes no ethical and spiritual claims on us. To be secular, in this second sense, is to inhabit a posture of disenchantment with regards to the natural world. I would certainly hope that I am not secular in this second sense. But Hindutva ideologues certainly are, as we can see by the kinds of environmental legislation passed by the current government, and the ways in which paves the way for even more ruthless exploitation of India’s natural resources (an exploitation which first needs an understanding of “nature” as “resources”). In my work, I draw attention to how the sacred geography of Delhi, shared by both Hindus and Muslims—a landscape whose sacrality and enchantment was intrinsically tied to both Muslim saints and to local ecology—was systematically destroyed by both colonial and post-colonial governments. The fact that this destruction has passed largely unmourned and unremarked can be attributed in part to the “secular” nature of both Hindu and Muslim reformist thinking, both of which increasingly value transcendent divinity outside the material world and not inherent in it. Given the enormous ecological crisis we are living amidst, not at an abstract remove but as a keenly felt everyday reality in urban India, attempts to revisit and reanimate formerly enchanted life-worlds is certainly not apolitical, or lacking in urgency.

What does it mean to be “modern”? Let me offer a basic minimum definition which most people will not (I hope) disagree with. To be modern is to be conscious of inhabiting a break—epistemological and ontological—from a “pre-modern” past. For many, this break is something to be celebrated. We can call this triumphalist modernity, characterized by a valorization of the present and its achievements, and a denigration of the past. Hindutva ideology is a good example of triumphalist modernity, with the past that it denigrates increasingly assimilated under the sign of “Islam”. But there are other ways of being modern. Walter Benjamin epitomizes a melancholic modernity, a modernity which is skeptical about the triumphalist narratives surrounding the break from the past. This melancholic modernity is acutely conscious of the tremendous destruction of life-worlds and ways of being that accompanies becoming modern. The melancholic modern actively looks for fragments of forms of life from the other side of the break, seeking to revive them, seeking to be revived by them. What does it mean to be a melancholic modern in contemporary India? What forms of life do we revisit? What of our inheritance can we reclaim from the other side of the break? (The term ‘break’ perhaps does not do enough justice to the military and epistemological violence visited upon India in the processes of colonial modernity, violence bookended by the disasters of 1857 and 1947). Certainly not Hindutva, with its need to re-invent Hinduism to be ever-closer to fascist forms of discipline and nationalist mobilization.

What does it mean to be “Hindu”? This is a question to which we might get radically different answers if we think of the millions of Hindus, perhaps not so easily assimilable under the labels “secular” and/or “modern”, who continue to pray at dargahs, Muslim saint shrines, despite over a century of communal polarization and the Hindutva-ization of contemporary Hindu religious and ritual practice. Or if we think of the immense popularity of “Muslim social” films till only a generation ago for a Hindu majority audience. I bring together these two seemingly disparate examples to make the larger point that the cultural memory of Islam continues to inform the ethical, religious and cultural life of north Indian Hindus. This is precisely why the Hindutva-vadis hate Islam so much. Not because it is completely alien to them, but because it is too intimate.

“ Muslimness,” as Aamir Mufti writes, “has an ability to metonymically stand in for the culture of the pre-modern elites of north India… ”. And Muslimness, as Mufti notes, was marked by a deep ambivalence towards the project of colonial modernity. This ambivalence, as Mufti goes on to note, was typically misrecognized in secular nationalism as the sign simply of a lag in development. One of the things Hindutva shares in common with more recognizably “secular” nationalist forms of triumphalist modernity is a deep contempt for Islam, and all that they associate with it, as a sign of backwardness. The other side of the break. And herein lies the tragedy for melancholic moderns like myself. In the North Indian context, if we want to look for forms of life from the other side of the break, forms which have survived the developmentalist state and Hindutva, we are invariably dealing with things labelled as Islamic—the Urdu language being a paradigmatic example. The tragedy is not that we are fascinated with Islam, the tragedy is that our own intellectual, cultural, literary and linguistic heritage is now marked by the sign of otherness and religious difference. In no small measure thanks to Hindutva.

What are we to do with this tragedy? Does studying “Islam” while being identifiably “Hindu” make me a new-fashioned Orientalist, an “emerging liberal ideologue working for Empire” as you say? Or does the brief the brief conceptual history that I have sketched above give all our work a different political urgency, and a different relationship to power? As a comrade who seems to share similar political concerns, especially when it comes to the rise of Hindutva, I eagerly await your answer.

Yours in solidarity,

Anand

[Anand Vivek Taneja is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Anthropology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He is currently writing a book on time, Islam, and enchantment in the medieval ruins of Delhi.]

11 thoughts on “On The Real Tragedy of Secular Modernity: Anand Vivek Taneja”

  1. Aamir Mufti’s Karachi Grammar School background and long years as a desi stowaway on American Scholarships warps his views and renders him meaningless in the context Imtiaz is framing.
    The truth is that both ‘Hindutva’ & Jamaati identity politics is intended to benefit the provincial bazaari middle class by freeing them of the necessity to conform to purely local and subaltern shibboleths- i.e. the sweeper putting ‘nazar’ on you and granny saying you have to skip your shaka or Rotary club meeting to go perform some humiliating ceremony in a stinking ruin. This has nothing to do with ecology or preserving some mythical apocatastatic folk memory of organic unity such that as Savarkar pointed out prior to the creation of the I.N.C, Hindus and Muslims spent so much time hugging and kissing and cuddling each other on the street that they neglected to purchase the dhania their wives had sent them out to purchase which is why all the womenfolk (with the honorable exception of Rani of Jhansi) got very angry and complained to Queen Victoria Ji who immediately constituting ‘Divide and Rule’ policy which involved rape of mother earth due to otherwise how to pry apart them continually cuddling Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and what have you?
    Queer theory explains how like Colonialism and neo-Liberalism and stuff are like a total cock blocker dude and like how can that not be women’s fault? Which man would rape environment if the conga line of Hindu-Muslim anal intercourse continued to wind its way down our immemorial streets? Sarmad and Abhay Chand, Bedil and that Khattri boy he cursed, along with numerous djinns and Pirs and Vir Savarkars & Naokhali’s Husseini Pir would at last achieve not the Miri of mere dominance but Hegemony also.
    In Vikram Seth’s ‘suitable boy’ the son of a Secular ‘Rafian’ Congress Minister has butt sex with the son of a Muslim Nawab. Later, he stabs him? Why? Was it due to Hindutva or Jamaati politics? Was it because he’d learnt nastaliq? No. It was because of cherchez la femme. The Hindu thought the Muslim was trying to get it on with his mistress whereas in fact, as is right and proper and in accordance with Ruswa, the Muslim nawabzada was in fact trysting with the Pakeezah who, obviously, was his own half-sister and the daughter of the Hindu’s mistress who had been raped by his friend’s father while still little more than a child.
    As the Mahatma was wont to say- there is a lesson here all who run can read.
    What is the way forward? It is time for action not words. Only Hindu Muslim Conga lines of continual buggery can resist the Indian National Congress- which is the only truly Fascist party that has successfully taken root (due to cock blocking widows like Indira, Sonia etc) on our soil- and of which Modi sarkar is a merely meretricious and vernacular simulacrum.
    So far, I have only spoken of the responsibilities of genuine intellectuals and engaged academics like you and Mufti Sahib.
    What of ordinary people like me? In the late Nineties and early Noughties, it was our salutary practice to drunk dial Indian Heads of Mission claiming to be Rahul Baba and saying ‘Tell mummy I won’t come home and become PM unless she legalizes it pronto! Ciao, ciao.’
    Now what are we to do? Muril Manohar Joshi, we used to say, murli him but good. But this is not a panacea. Modi has done that dirty deed in Varanasi, but what good will it do? Some say the ‘Swacch Bharat’ toilet building program will be the salvation of India. Yes, if toilets are only used for cottaging. But how to prevent women from banging on the door and passing coarse and hurtful remarks about what you are getting up to?
    Maqsood and Vijay may have found one way out. But it isn’t for everybody, though I do hope you and Aamir will give it a try. Read a bit of Walter Benjamin together. That will put you in the mood.

    1. Indglish,
      You raise an important point. Of course things weren’t all “cuddly” between communities in pre-modern South Asia. There were many, many differences, to make an understatement. But people also had ways of comprehending, accommodating, and living with difference which are impossible to imagine even for us sickulars today. I write about this a little bit here: http://www.chapatimystery.com/archives/homistan/village_cosmopolitanisms_or_i_see_kabul_from_lado_sarai_-_i.html
      However, I am deeply disturbed by the nasty tone of your post. Does disagreement have to be this disagreeable? What am I supposed to do with the homophobia of your frequent and disparaging mentions of anal sex? What do I do with the misogyny of your casual references to rape and cockblocking? I only wish that someone who has the bile and venom to spew in response to a fairly measured post also had the guts to sign off with their real name.

      Anand

        1. As site moderator, yes I deleted your last response. And I will do so again if you continue to respond in this manner. On Kafila we try and keep conversation at a certain level of civility so the blog remains a space where people can feel comfortable talking about stuff that excites/annoys/bores them. The only reason your first comment went through was because Anand is clearly more liberal than I am. We have a house policy against passing comments that are obscene and vicious simply for the sake of being so. You are more than welcome to engage on the posts if you can do so without being awful. Loud, robust, pointed and sharp disagreements are great, but plain nastiness coupled with gratuitous obscenity is not.

          Please do come back and fight, just with classier weapons.
          best,
          Aarti.

  2. I don’t often comment on what I read but I do feel that there is an unacknowledged anti-Muslim bias here.
    Imtiaz Ali raises a serious point. Muslims in India do feel in danger. They ask that secular intellectuals like yourself and Aarti do a proper ‘Bourdieusian’ social anthropology rather than present a mystical and romanticized picture of those aspects of Indian Muslim culture which are anathema to the takfiri.
    My late husband was close to Dr. Fazlur Rahman who returned to Pakistan at Ayub Khan’s behest. The true tragedy of secular modernity, at least for my country, is that he was not allowed to complete his work because of opposition from the sort of ‘Pirzadas’ & power hungry petit bourgeois ‘Barelvi’ nativists whom Iqbal castigated.
    Still, the larger blame must fall on us. We were creating a new country- building it from the ground. We were determined it would be modern and scientific. In a few short years we had overtaken India. We could have been on a par with Korea. But, at some point, we lost touch with the Awam. This is the real tragedy.
    India, of course, is a very diverse country and you have your own beliefs. Still, you should understand the difference between ‘aql’ and ‘naql’ ; tahqiq and taqlid.
    The mistake of the savants is the darkness of the age.
    Please don’t mistake Islam, even the Islam of the poorest and most vulnerable Muslims in your country- as ‘naqli’ and ‘taqlidi’.
    We are all human beings. Islam was made for man, not imposed on him as a burden or inhuman Crucifixion.
    In Pakistan, in the Sixties, we should have reassured and held dialogue with all sections of Society. We failed to do so. Democracy was supposed to be a panacea. It opened the gates to the Hell of a second Partition. We have all lost someone close.
    No doubt, you people in India feel very confident because your economy is growing and America dances to your tune. It won’t last. We saw all that fifty years ago.
    Intellectuals must be with the People. Otherwise, they become exiles and hot house flowers who can only get intoxicated, no matter how much they drink, by uttering the shikva- ‘kuch muhtasibon ki khilwat mein..’

  3. Dear Shiela,
    Just to reiterate, I don’t think there is anything “romanticized” in the picture that I present. If there is a flaw in my arguement, it is that it is somewhat deterministic. If the veneration of jinns as saints emerges as a public practice in post-Partition Delhi, then I link it not to some timeless exotica of jinns, but to the very real and brutal disruptions of the landscape of Delhi during Partition, and after. It is not taqlid, but rather something radically new in the religious landscape of Delhi. Having said that, this subaltern practice is, as I show, is in dialogue with a much wider swathe of the Islamic tradition than is usually allowed within the different maslaks of contemporary sub-continental Islam. I am an anthropologist, and much of my work is based on years of engagement with people–including the poor and working class–in Delhi. This might not be what you mean by “intellectuals being with the people,” but that is a good literal description of what I do.

    1. ‘ veneration of jinns as saints emerges as a public practice in post-Partition Delhi,’- I have not visited Delhi since the time of Prime Minister Gujral. Is such veneration really public practice? Delhi used to be a centre of learning. Now maybe it has become awash with superstitious practices.
      Of course there are Djinn Saints in Pakistan and Iraq and Yemen and East Africa also and sometimes their cultus grows out of all bounds of decency.
      However, we try to combat such superstitious practices.
      As you are a Hindu, you may not be able to understand such things.
      One other point. Rationalisation of Waqf was Qaid’s favourite’s topic. Your paper seems quite confused. What is important is that subsidiarity obtain and democratic voice determine Waqf transactions.
      Perhaps you would have your eyes opened if you did a comparative study of places on both side of border.
      Intellectuals being with people means combatting superstitions and promoting rationality.
      You are a young man. Why are you talking to some elderly reactionaries? Surely, in Delhi, there is some Civil Society movement of Lawyers and Social Workers? Join that and do research accordingly.
      It is very shameful that you are associating ‘jinniology’ and other superstitious practice with the hoard tradition of Indian Islam. Please consult proper authorities before painting such a bleak picture.

      1. Dear Shiela,
        I think we have very different ideas about what being an intellectual means. I don’t think the task of the intellectual is to combat superstitions and promote rationality. Rather, it is to interrogate the very terms “superstition” and “rationality”, and to understand the historical conditions in which they emerge and become part of mainstream discourse, and what their relations to power are. The task of the intellectual is also to be, at very least, sympathetic to worlds and world-views which don’t fit easily with our own. You say that it is shameful that I associate jinnealogy and other superstitious practice with the broad tradition of Indian Islam. When exactly, historically speaking, does it become possible to call such beliefs and practices superstitious and to find them shameful? After all, jinns are mentioned in the Quran at several places, including of course in the Surat al-Jinn. Ibn Taymiyah, beloved of the Salafis, has a whole book/essay on jinns and exorcism. Coming to India, we have ample evidence of practices related to the jinn, including practices of veneration, in the pre-colonial and colonial periods. Take a look at Herklots and Jaafur Shureef’s “Qanoon-i Islam”. Also, the whole world of Rekhti poetry written in pre-colonial India is full of intimacy with and veneration of jinns. This is all part of the broader islamic tradition, from Morocco to India, going back all the way to the Quran. In India, at least, these traditions become labeled as “superstitious” and “backwards” only from the late nineteenth century onwards, after the debacle of 1857, and a need to diagnose “civilizational ills”.The “proper authorities” that you mention inhabit these histories, rather than being aware of them, and hence inherit a very limited version of the Islamic tradition. The ones you characterize as superstitious and reactionary are the ones who have a far broader access to the tradition… which brings me back to issues of power in the definition of “religion” and “superstition”, which are colonial Christian categories that all our religions on the subcontinent, at least the “proper authorities” amongst them, have internalized.

        Best,
        Anand

  4. Interesting! I think such an approach had much traction during the long decade of secular-liberal rule in india (2004-2014). The state pursued people-centric policies (MNREGA, JNNURM etc) and made claims we are with people, we take care of minorities etc.therefore it made absolute sense to read such a research in that framework. Because research showed the state is flattening landscapes, erasing memory, working against its own claims. It all made critical sense! I think if one were to do a research on tribal landscapes, dalit landscapes during the last ten years, one may have arrived at same conclusion as yours. Perhaps!

    Post May 16 however the state has stopped claiming or articulating itself through people centric policies. Now there is a State which draws some inspiration from Savarkar. Savarkar says Muslims are the real enemy, let’s unite! (Love Jehad, national anthem, garba-dandiya etc) and there are other models as well ( the Juhapura Model, Mahudur Rehman report etc).

    The place where you do your day-time labor ie train entry-level workers for the imperial army, corporations, universities and politics, the sovereign happens to be the biggest arms dealer of the world.

    On the other hand the Indian sovereign is smartly projecting himself as the biggest labor contractor of the world (Make in India, Shramey Jayate etc). Now there is an Indian sovereign who says business in my blood. He talks about demography (ie labor) and demand (opportunity) to the world.The sovereign is not market friendly but business friendly. Interest of big-business is slowly becoming the over-ridiing narrative of Indian state.

    The state seems to be saying let’s leave vulnerable citizens alone. State seems to say let them flatten themselves out. We don’t need them anyways. If push comes to shove we could create the right environment to take care of them (Godhra, Muzaffnagar etc). In such an environment to read the conclusion of a research which suggests, the state slowly flattens Islamic landscape through indifference and erases memory, seems pretty obvious. One thinks aloud, shrugs ones shoulders and says yes this is what is happening, so what?

    Post Maharashtra and Haryana a perception that the state will do more of the same is gaining ground. Suddenly given the context of a change in state, the premise of the research appears intelligent but the conclusion ceases to a make critical sense.

    On the other hand there seems to a deep desire to understand the state and allied actors as thoroughly as possible. If one were to understand, for instance, what are the terms of:

    1. Cult of sarshangchalak
    2. Emic categories of the PMO
    3. Right wing ideological networks amongst bureaucrats and big capitalists.
    4. Radicalisation of Hindu youth
    5. Acculturation of right-wing songs, stories and slogans by tribals
    6. Enculturation of Indian state officials in right wing ideology

    one feels the intellectual could fill a narrative vacuum.

    On the other hand if the intellectual tells us that people are suffering, or does some folksy chattan baba thing, or pradesi with a message, or erasure of memory or flattening of geography one is like what to do with white noise? One experiences these things everyday.

    The chattan baba research made sense in an environment when Brahmins like Mani Shanker Ayers were in power and scoffed at OBC aspiration for the top job. Symbolic environment of India has changed. Again the chattan baba conclusion seems remarkably out of time. What insights about lower caste aspirations and upper caste reservations can lead to when the sovereign is an OBC?

    If one were to describe how can, for instance, one interrogate terms, such as those mentioned above, to understand the historical conditions in which they emerge and become part of mainstream discourse, and what is their relations to power, it could make critical sense (Ms. Menon’s work, Mr. Gadate’s work etc on Kafila)

    Maybe now there is an opportunity to sympathise with certain new set of ideas and adjust one’s research compass, I should admit methodology wise the research is pretty impressive.

    otherwise one can very well pursue what one wants to and is passionate about, like those die-hard Keynesian economists who absolutely believed in Keynesian assumptions well into the eighties and nineties long after their research became irrelevant.

  5. Wish to introduce another category of “secularism” that is entirely Indian Sub-continental (Not Hindu) – in a sense that includes ALL religious / philosophical traditions that emerged and/or were established – in large or small measures – within the geographical boundaries of what might today include Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. (this is not an attempt to create an Indian hegemony over this geographical landscape.

    This category of *secularism* is one that admits the role and responsibility of religious and philosophical traditions in the affairs of the State and CONSCIOUSLY recognizes each in an ‘equitable’ – brooking NO prejudice against any religious / philosophical tradition. Which means the the Bible, the Gita, the Koran, the Gurugranth, the Avesta, etc., are ‘equal’ in the eyes of State and have equal status when it comes to the State’s uses of these sacred texts in the affairs of the State.

    This form of “secularism” is entirely distinct from the European notion of modern secularism (although in practice, and hypocritically,, the U.S. president will swear on a Bible only!).

    The next point that I would like to allude to is the role and importance of tolerance within each faith and philosophy. This concept is linked to *modernism* but one that values the “scientific spirit” of hypothesis / problem statement (Vimarsha / Samasya) – investigation / inquiry (Pariksha) – proof (Purva Paksha) – acceptance / rejection (Siddhanta) (without ignoring the role of bias and normativism in any such scientific inquiry).

    In my mind, every faith that demonstrates intolerance towards any form of criticism from within and without (sadly, there may even be ‘violent’ forms of such criticism) ceases to be modern. “Political correctness” has to go hand-in-hand with a healthy criticism and self-criticism of any belief / faith / religious & philosophical tradition.

    If the current Hindutva / Wahabi / extreme-right Christian faiths / etc., demonstrate intolerance then, in my mind, all of them are Talibans. In this sense, the Hindutvavadis in our current Indian political and cultural landscape are as much Taliban as the Wahabis in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. These Hindutvavadis are also promoting an entirely false and concocted image and values of the vast and variegated Indian philosophical traditions. The current rise of Hindutvavadis is a threat to all that is valuable within the thousands of years of Indian philosophical traditions. Especially threatened within our Indian philosophical traditions are the Lokayata Traditions that have – in the past – challenged Indian Idealism and obscurantism, and had laid the foundations for ‘modern’ scientific inquiry, that goes as far back as the Nyaya Sutra of 2nd century AD and later reinforced by Gotama & Vatsyayana during the 5th century AD.

    In conclusion (and only in this sense), “modernism” needs to be treated as a category that defines / demonstrates an attitude rather than a temporal phenomenon. In other words, Vatsyayana is as modern as Rabindranath and Vivekananda, while the current Hindutvavadis are as archaic as the Wahabis and the extreme-right Christians.

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