Anth142summary2 - Alam Reading Summary Tradition in India...

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Alam Reading Summary Tradition in India Under Interpretive Stress I. This paper is a response to a growing trend in Indian social and political thought which maintains that secularism is and will remain ungrounded in Indian social reality. Alam’s emphasis in this paper will be on analyzing whether and how far tradition has been or can continue to remain a resource for people in India. First, the persuasiveness, or rather, resonance, of the anti-secularist argument lies precisely in its appeal to tradition, or the inherited symbolic systems among the people Second, one cannot intellectually defend secularism in relation only to India Critics seem to suggest that the tradition in India is such that the social order can easily draw upon its resources to do for Indian society what the ascendance of the secular did for the West The anti-secularist argument is flawed- there is a systematic ambiguity and is deeply embedded in Western presuppositions The traditions have always been very tolerant to whatever one says but can become extremely intolerant towards whatever is viewed as deviant behavior. Tolerance, in Indian traditions, has to be viewed in a rather nuanced way rather than as a generalized assertion as is often done by its votaries What may rather be required of the secular is its proven ability to provide for pragmatic utility in the realm of social living The main problem: the ground of the existence of tradition, how and in what ways it has been negotiated and reworked in India, and the changed modes of its interpretations in the last 100 years or so Bifurcation (came about in the last 100 years) – fills the public sphere of politics or intellectual
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Anth142summary2 - Alam Reading Summary Tradition in India...

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