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Heinz Werner Wessler {*}

India's Unity in Diversity

Between Traditional Multiculturalism
and Modern Nationalism


From: Stimmen der Zeit, 2006/10, P. 667-679
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


The abstract motto "Unity in Diversity" has been and is in many cases used as identity-political formula with a double meaning: It recognizes the actually existing diversity and at the same time maintains the unity that is in a complementary relation to it. Unity and diversity, so the thesis and at the same time also the imperative associated with it, are therefore not contradictory but complementary: Difference is not to be negated but has to be transcended. The perception of the other person oughtn't to lead to his/her exclusion but to an inclusive identity oriented in the light of a higher unity and rooted in the depths of man. In other words: "Unity in Diversity" is for the "common faith" [Gemeinsamkeitsglauben] in the sense of Max Weber a quite important 'performative' formula - hence not only a descriptive one - for every solidary community ("soziale Verkehrsgemeinschaft"); it welds together individuals into groups.

How is that to be understood in India against the background and as an element of a non-occidental culture? Certainly, the formula is sufficiently abstract and as such comfortable from the point of view of national policy. But about what is it in concrete terms? Is there a genuine Indian view of the relationship between identity and difference, homogeneity and diversification according to religions, ethnic groups, languages and cultures? Does India in all its complexity completely differ from the Occident?

In India the politically modern application reads in this sense either in English "Unity in Diversity" or, in the exemplary Sanskrit Hindi, "vibhinnata mem ekta". It is about the classical affirmation of the Indian composite culture, of which for instance the regulation for the development of Hindi in the Indian Constitution speaks (§ 351)

"The union state is obligated to promote the propagation of Hindi and to develop it, so that it can serve as language for all elements of the composite culture of India."

Hindi: rather pityingly described as "khicri zaban" - for: "Lenten fare", a not very delightful mixed dish of rice and lenses -, but also a term that refers to the intercultural character of the language and to the collective memory coded in it. India as "composite culture" {1} and this composite culture with constitutional rank: a vision with a polemic point that practically



has been and is activated by all (modern) political camps, particularly for the fight against the so-called communalism, i.e. the priority identification with a defined social group and its ideologization, in contrast to the identification with the public interest of the secular nation as a whole.

Certainly, you have only to exchange or slightly modify a few words, then the formula "Unity in Diversity" can also be claimed for instance for Indonesia, the People's Republic of China, yes, even for the old Soviet Union with its using the rich folklore of its different nations ["Folklorisierung"] and its nationalism within the Union. The formula "Unity in Diversity" is popular in a whole set of modern Asian states, particularly when the evidence of unity seems not sufficiently secured - but also as a performatory element in a long-term strategy of national and cultural centralization: the compulsory homogenization of minorities with the supposedly state-carrying ethnic group, even if it happens under the signs of the enlightened commonwealth, the domestic integration debate, the emerging nation, the equalizing of the citizens.

"Unity in Diversity" is not at all per se a formula for tolerance: How is for instance a representative of West-Papua to react to the statement that the Indonesian central government pursues a policy of Unity in Diversity, which in the end will also in his province find expression in the progress in enlightenment and development and economically pay off? How is a Sindhi in Pakistan to react, who is worried about the supremacy of the Panjabis in his state? How will a politically conscious Tibetan react, when he is assured that the cultural difference of Xizang is by no means endangered by Lhasa's recent connection to the Chinese railway network? From the view of minorities the assertion "We are all one family!" has understandably often a bitter smack. Indian examples can easily be given here. Think only of the tribal cultures in the Indian northeast, which feel economically, culturally and religiously threatened up to the marrow by Bengalis and Assamis.


Basic Structures of the Indian Interpretation Approaches

An Indian characteristic is certainly the reference to religion-philosophical patterns. The idea of a unity of the (religious) truth beyond the borders of one's own religious school tradition is indeed one of the leading ideas of modern Hinduism of the entire spectrum between liberalism and traditionalism. Before all other references the Rigvedian mantra "Ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti" ("There is only one truth, the scholars explain it in various ways", Rigveda 1.164.46) is regarded as classical evidence from tradition.



That formula is theologically to be understood rather in an inclusive than in a pluralistic sense. For it refers the plurality of interpretations to a transcendental unity lying behind the concept of truth.

The proof by authority - often quoted and interpreted by neo-Hindu philosophers of the 19th and 20th century - starts from the assumption that the one truth, and above all the religious truth, remains always the same in history, and that the Hindu history of religion represents a kind of interpretation history of that one truth. In the inner-Indian discussion this is reflected for example in the debate about the constitutional interpretation of the official secularism. According to the preamble of the Constitution, which by the way gets along completely without any reference to God, India is a "sovereign socialist democratic republic" - understood as "dharmani rapeksta" ("indifference toward religion in general") or as "sarvad harmasambhava" ("equality of the position toward all religions"). Behind it is the neo-Hindu idea that not only all Hindu school traditions ("sampradya") but at bottom all historical religions turn out to be different approaches to the one truth - it's true though that that approach is absolutely disputed also within Hinduism. In the Neo-Hindu philosophy of religion and the "Praxeologie" [practice] of tolerance associated with it Islam, Buddhism and Christianity are then bundles of "sampradayas", analogously to the ecumenism within Hinduism.

But that opening of the religious concept of truth toward a total religious inclusion - as appealing as it may seem - at the same time takes away the basis for the question about the nature and truth of Hinduism from the inner-Hindu argumentation. The question about the actual identity of Hinduism is absolutely also according to Hinduism's conception of itself not only a mere cultural question but above all a question about the concept of a 'truth' that differs from [that of] other religions. Can there be an identity of Hinduism, when its concept of 'truth' is programmatically postulated as inclusive and as counter thesis to any exclusivism?

From the perspective of an enlightened dealing with tradition first the modern thesis of the unity of Hinduism on the basis of a trans-historical concept of 'truth' is an open question. Indisputably "Hindu" and "Hinduism" are names originally won from an external perspective. In the tradition one was a follower of a certain god respectively a certain school tradition or of a charismatic guru - or one simply followed the religious tradition of one's own caste {2}. But with Ram Mohun Roy ( 1833) a renewed conception of oneself set in that tries to interpret the diversity of Hinduism as manifestations of an underlying monotheism.

In research in the last decades that unity of Hinduism is increasingly questioned. In the German speech area for instance the retired Tübingen indologist and religious scholar Heinrich von Stietencron in a series of



articles invited to an interpretation of Hinduism as unity of several different religions: According to it Vishnuism, Shivaism, Shaktism etc. are independent religions and not only different traditions within one and the same religion, which intensively interact with other Hindu religions (in plural) but have, in a similar way as the individual "Abrahamitic religions", retained a distinct definable identity. It is correct that the internal Hindu ecumenism - the community of denominations within Hinduism - consists of a multiplicity of theologically many and diverse schools of thought {3}.

The assertion of Hinduism's unity has its historical and also its factual starting point in the colonial age's apologia for Hinduism, particularly regarding the Christian anti-Hindu polemic. In parallel to it the romantic thesis that India from ancient times was one nation, was of central importance for the Indian political liberation movement, whereas the assertion that India consisted of an unbridgeable diversity of nations was the thesis that legitimized the rule of the colonial power. In the colonial perspective India covered a diversity of nations in an explosive mixture, and the foreign colonial power represented here the moderating force {4}.

That has moulded the discourse in India up to this day: According to the Constitution the people of the state consists of one nation and not, as for instance in China, of a diversity of nations and also not of two nations with reference to the Hindu and Muslim identity - a definition that was adopted by the Muslim League in the famous Lahore Declaration of 1940 and which then in 1947 led to the origin of the state Pakistan, out of the estate of the Crown Colony.

But "Ekam sad vipra bahudah vadanti" can also, beyond the rather narrow apologetic intentions, be transferred to the entire history of religion throughout the world: According to that "Sat", the so-called 'truth', is the ideal content of religion standing above all historical religions. The concept of 'truth' developed in that way tends to go beyond all borders up to the total mystical inclusion, and to the total de-legitimization of separate identities and of 'exclusion' as a religious category in general.

The classical interpretation of aforementioned the Vedi mantra is found in a speech of the probably most important promoter of an intellectual Hinduism in view of the challenge by colonialism, modernization and Christian mission, namely Svami Vivekananda (1863-1902). It is published under the title "Vedi Religious Ideals" in the first volume of the complete edition. "And it is a great explanation, one that defined the topic for all following conceptions in India, and one that will become the theme of the whole world of religions: - Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti" {5}. He continues the same train of thought somewhat later in the same text:



"We have still to learn that all religions, under whatever names they appear - be it Hinduism, Islam or Christianity, have the same God." {6}

In that connection Vivekananda refers also to the image of an "infinite variation" with regard to theological thought in the historical religions - rivers flowing into the ocean of true religion {7}.

Vivekananda does not directly see the critical point and the occasion for the morally risen forefinger in the contrast between 'exclusivism' and 'inclusivism' of religion. For him it is about the difference between narrowness and wideness of religious identity, between the narrowness of the historical religion bound to its own surroundings and the wideness of the true transcendental religion. His key parable is the parable of a frog that knows only the well in which it lives. When by chance another frog that knows the sea falls into its well, it asks it about the sea and comes to the following result: "Nothing can be larger than my well; ... this comrade is a liar, kick him out!" {8} With it the from the religious point of view quite central question remains open whether the religious human being has perhaps a conceptional approach to realities which cannot sensually be experienced out of the narrowness of one's own horizon; or whether, to pick up Vivekananda's picture, from the frog's perspective in the well the wideness of the ocean might nevertheless be suspected as a result of an appropriate development of the amphibious sensibility.

In his first speech before the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago - on 11 September 1893 of all days, exactly 108 (the holy number of the Hindus) years later, on the same day the twin towers of the World Trade Centre should bury thousands of dead - he directly mentions what his interpretation of the Bhagavadgita and of the entire Hindu tradition aims at:

"Sectarianism and bigoted behaviour, and its terrible descendant fanaticism have dominated this beautiful earth for a long time. They filled the earth with violence, have often enough soaked it with human blood, destroyed civilization and driven whole nations to despair." {9}

The unscrupulous plots 108 years later seem to prove the topicality of Vivkananda's prophetic appeal. This is, as it were, the material by which the Indian interpretation of the slogan of "Unity in Diversity" is thoroughly penetrated. The theological antidote against religious fanaticism is the irenic creed: "The aim is the same".



Religious Inclusivism, National-Religious Exclusivism

In a discourse dominated by inclusivism the existence of exlusive (non-inclusive) claims to truth and of missionary ambitions is a scandalon. The first systematic data gathering on the Indian people (Census 1872) and the realization of the percentile proportions of the religious communities and castes to one another had direct effects on the construction of collective identities in India. "Fuzzy" identities became "enumerative" identities - so the interpretation approach developed by Dudipta Kaviraj. Intercultural and inter-religious phenomena - think e.g. of the often quoted inter-religious Indian practice of the veneration of Sufis' burial places -, in the sense of Yoginder Sikand's "traditions of common faith in India" {10} - are pushed aside by a modern block thinking of the individual religions {11}.

Changes of the statistics or risks which lead to a numerical weakening of the communities - above all one's own community -, are noticed as a problem, to be precise primarily the individual or collective conversion, secondly the different fertility rates of the ethnic groups. In addition especially Islam got the label 'religion of violence': Islam as brutal invasion power into an intact Hindu territory, which by force or also by tricks brought about the conversion of the originally Hindu population. These labels are essentially modern ideas. The traditional 'multiculturalism' does not share that timidity - at least not so comprehensively.

Only the modern age regards India as the natural territory of Hinduism and the existence of other religions as aberration. "Cuius regio, eius religio", this principle is, seen throughout the world, fully effective also in other modern connections: in the sense of bundling national and religious resp. denominational identities. A Croat who converts to Islam automatically becomes a Bosnian; if he converts to Orthodoxy he will become a Serbian. Likewise the times are not so long past, when for instance in Germany the patriotism of the Catholic population was seriously doubted, and therefore the Prussian dominated Second Empire in the seventies of the 19th century staged the Kulturkampf. The reproach of "cosmopolitanism", in particular against the Jews in the final stage of Stalin's rule basically follows that line of reproach against unreliable fellows.

Similar linkages of religious and national identities can be found in many places of today's Asia. Can you as Hindu, Christian, or Parse and as citizen of the Islamic republic Pakistan be a Pakistan patriot? Can you - apart from the conversion question - be an Afghan Christian or Muslim Tibetan? "We Hindus are a nation, not only a religious community". {12}



That means, Muslims are likewise a national and not only a religious community - so tells the myth of Pakistan's foundation too - and have therefore in India at best guest status. But guests must behave.

India knows these national-religious questions and the collective temptations associated with them. Muslims are questioned whether they are actually real Indians. When during cricket games spectators show solidarity with the Pakistan team, then this becomes the factual proof of the existing threat to the security of the state. Then the step towards physical force is soon taken, as the slogan of the violent mob shows: "Babar ki santan - jao Pakistan ya kabristan" ("Descendants of Babur - founder of the Mogul dynasty in India 1526: Go to Pakistan or to the cemetery!"). In view of the two visits of Pope John Paul II Indian Catholics saw themselves subject to the reproach well-known from the European history: they were more loyal to the Pope than to their nation and the state belonging to it - a reproach reminding of the Prussian-German Kulturkampf polemic. Arun Shourie and other Hindu hard-liners suggest the adoption of the Chinese religion politics of the "Three-Selves-Doctrine": From its point of view it is not acceptable that the Vatican can influence the Catholic hierarchy in India. The Catholic church of India should break with the Pope. With it religious 'inclusivism' is hierarchically bound to a nationalistic exclusivism.

What follows is the interpretation of Indian Christianity as a factor from outside, the conversion to Christianity as proselytizing, as result of unfair machinations, as total surrender to the enemy. Here too Hinduism presents itself from a position of power as the natural religion of South Asia. This identification of territory and religion makes mission in general illegitimate. From it also the legal prohibition of conversion follows, as it is valid law in several Indian Federal States, and has time and again been demanded on union level.

With it the fact is faded out that the Hindu religions in their history definitely had a propagation- and conversion history. They did missionary work in different ways: on the one hand within India by conversions, for example from Shivaism to Vishnuism or from Buddhism to Shivaism, but also outside India. This for instance led to the historical expansion of Hindu religions as far as to Samarqand in the west as well as to Vietnam and Indonesia in the south-east, and within India to the 'Sanskritizing' (Sanskritisierung) of the tribal cultures of South Asia. But also the individual conversion is by no means an invention of modern times. In the Vishnu tradition for example the narration of the conversion of the Muslim pasha Raskhan to Krishnaism belongs to the prominent conversion stories. He then became a famous and highly emotional Krishnan poet {13}.



Criticism of Religion or Use of the Resource Religion?

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), who used to call himself "sanatani Hindu" - i.e. an orthodox Hindu without any direct sectarian connection, writes in his classic "Hind Swaraj" (1914) about "Indian self-government":

"It is my firm conviction that India is suppressed not so much by British soles, but by modern civilization ... Religion is very dear to me, and my primary complaint is that India is becoming irreligious. In this connection I think not so much of Hinduism, Islam or Parsism, but of the religion on which all religions are based." {14}

With Ghandi religion is always a resource for criticism of modernity, with (the help of) which he time and again opposes the in India also today common interpretation that he was a disguised modernist in a traditional garment. In the hierarchy of values criticism of modernity has here a higher rank than criticism of colonialism. Ghandi gets openness for other religions and their ambitions from his orthodoxy, not from his no matter how conditioned "modernity" {15}. Ashis Nandy's interventions on the topic secularism e.g. side with it, particularly in his "Anti-secularist manifesto" published in 1985 and in the debate triggered by it, which give the responsibility for the Indian communalism to the block thinking of the modern secularists, who for their part had become completely estranged from tradition.

The central question asked by Ashis Nandy - who by no means belongs to the Hindu nationalistic camp - is the following: Is secularism (as political creed) with its universalistic demands, which are insensitive to cultural diversity, at all capable to conceive religious pluralism otherwise than as a residue of reactionary ideas? Is not secularism rather to be understood as a modernistic counter conception to a participatory religious pluralism? Isn't the ambitious object of secularism to deprive - by means of turning religion into culture - the traditions of their power and of their ability to motivate the many different religious communities to live together peacefully [Multikommunitarismus], is it?


Relativism and Universalism: From Theory to Practice

With dissociating oneself from others always a reform agenda of one's own collective identity is connected. In connection with it certain collective characteristics of identity are bundled and linked with each other, others excluded. What you are determines what you are to do; the designed identity {16} defines the cultural and social standard. The description has a prescriptive focus for one's own social collective - whether it is the family, the religious group or the state. Conformity compulsions follow which are effective with different intensity - partially unconsciously or subliminally but also quite massively enforced by the social community with the threat of social excommunication or violence.



The modern state admittedly always approves in principle of diversity and looks for ways to enable minorities to identify with the state as much as possible. That is the same also with us: Equal rights for women in the higher educational system - as for instance at universities - are not already guaranteed by the fact that the Basic Law reads: the dignity of man is inviolable. Discrimination is often a discrete reality: For instance as a result of the fact that a family with children and practicing one's profession are compatible only with difficulty, also with us above all women are disadvantaged - men much less. In order to get disadvantaged groups of the population into the mainstream of society a deliberate policy of affirmative action is necessary.

Basis for the construction of a collective identity is always the distinction of one's own reality and the reality of others. Some authors hold that this distinction between one's own and other people's identity is a constitutive characteristic of human social action and of the way of thinking linked with it. Bob Altemeyer sees in it even a kind of man's genetic predisposition to violence against other groups {17}.

Here the double question follows that is central for the discourse on unity and diversity of mankind: If it is true that the social, but also the personal identity can only be formed by dissociating oneself from other people, how can this 'exclusion' be constituted as a non-discriminating distinction? In other words: How can we build identity, theoretically and practically, in the framework of a diversity of identities, without having either to bring other people into line or to eliminate them?


How to Include the Other Person?

For the missiologist Theo Sundermeier "Konvivenz" [living together] {18} {18} is a position that tolerates the difference of other people, includes it into drafts of existence, and lets itself be brought into motion by it. With it Sundermeier sees the theological depth dimension in Christ himself, whose life he understands less as "Pro-Existenz" [living for others] than as "Kon-Existenz". With it on the one hand the difference of the other person - his/her being not identical with me, with us - is not relativized, for instance by the recourse to a reality that reveals itself as hidden behind the difference but as nevertheless recognizable identity. On the other hand 'Konvivenz' does not leave one's own identity unaffected. Identities change by exposing themselves to other identities and by getting into relationship with them.

Sundermeier here expressly refers to Emmanuel Lévinas {19}. The French philosopher opposes to the world as object of my thinking the epiphany of the other person. The face of one who is looking at me cannot be objectified. Ethics has its basis not in general sentences, not in the hegemony of Logos, but in the human encounter that stands by difference, for which identification is destructive.



Universal versus Nationalist Unity and Diversity

For India the important question remains in what the diversity consists that Neo-Hinduism tries to interpret, and the deeply structured unity of which it tries to expose. The methodical problem is, that Neo-Hinduism considers only the Great Tradition, and from here the master tales of the religious tradition from the Rigveda over the Upanischads up to the great philosophers and founders of school traditions, as well as perhaps the vernacular "bhakti" of the late Middle Ages - in other words: the predominantly Brahman perspective.

But in the last decades also the tales of the other India increasingly articulate themselves: the India of the regional identities, the India of the subalterns: of the Dalits (without caste) and of the members of low castes, of the decidedly heterodox traditions and of the history (tales) of women. While the Brahman Hinduism radicalizes itself national-patriotically, develops its own forms of militant exclusion and at the same time wants to further the internal Hindu 'inclusivistic' ecumenism with its goal to homogenize the different religious communities, Dravidas reconstruct South India's history of resistance to the Aryas, women the history of the patriarchate, Dalits the history of the Brahman apartheid between touchable and non-touchable people, the tribal populations their fight for cultural and economic autonomy. The agenda of the day shifts noticeably, for "The De-brahamization of History" - so the title of a book by Braj Ranjan Mani - becomes a central topic of intellectual discourses {20}. In connection with the social movements in India Martin Fuchs speaks of a new collective semantics in India, named by him "Fight for Difference" {21}, and of the demand to acknowledge different cultural identities outside the framework of Braham master tales of the Indian culture- and religion history, which in the end leads to an affirmation of the existing social apartheid.

In his interpretation of "Ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti" Vivekananda writes: "Truth alone is my God; the entire world is my country" {22}. Also Rabindranath Tagore is on this line, who on the one hand during the war of liberation declared his solidarity with the demand for self-government and finally political independence, but on the other hand wanted to stick to it that India does not conceive itself as "nation", in the Hegelian, Western sense of the word,



and so basically gives up its ability to its own, indigenous conceptions of political government - beyond an identification of indigenous terms with western concepts of political economics, which then outwardly appear as indigenous but are, as regards content, subjected to the semantics of western political economics. A classical example is here for instance the identification of terms like "quam" and "rastra" with the Hegelian conception of state nation.

Such approaches refuse to have something to do with a forward nationalist Hindu interpretation. In the national-religious conception a vision of modernity is expressed that out of the traditional multicultural India preferably wants to produce a mono-cultural Hindu block. In a certain way, India threatens to go with it exactly the opposite way of Europe: Whereas Europe goes a difficult, but inevitable way from mono-cultural social systems to a multicultural reality, a modern Hinduism in India presents itself as victim of secularism, and at the same time of the Islamic invasion {23}.

Such opinions, which are exactly within the new middle classes popular, withhold that India in the course of its history time and again unfolded new creativity exactly at the points of fracture between the different cultures. To mention only some examples from the inter-religious sphere: Shankara's monistic philosophy (traditionally dated 788-820) is understandable not only from the Hindu tradition but also against the background of his argument with the Buddhist "sunyata"-doctrine. The popular poetry under the name of the Muslim weaver Kabir in the fifteenth century can only be understood against the background of Hindu-Islamic interaction. The Neo-Hinduism of the nineteenth and twentieth century developed as reform impulse, and as new interpretation of its own tradition against the background of the Christian missionary claims.

India's traditional multiculturalism, which came into being in the pre-modern context, is probably the most important resource for a political and cultural vision of "Unity and Diversity", beyond the categories of progression and regression. The traditional interculturalism - the interaction between the different subcultures - subversively dodges the modern national-religious camp thinking, also and especially in its postcolonial version, which regards the state nation as the substantial modernization factor, the royal way to development and progress, but tradition above all as an obstacle to development. Thoughtful voices also from the secular camp, like that of Yoginder Sikand with his book about "Traditions of Common Faith", try to take up those depth layers of Indian religiousness, but are little heard {24}.



Rabindranath Tagore and also Svami Vivekananda, in spite of their perspective being an expression of their time, are looking at the global connections, strive to transcend the European concept of nation, and so also in the 21st century represent valuable indigenous resources for the search of alternatives to the "clash of civilizations" - a concern that meets with the goals of arts, which try to prove to be a critical and self-critical ambassador between the cultures.



{1} Composite culture of India and national integration, edited by R. Khan (Simla 1987).

{2} See W. Sweetman, Mapping Hinduism., Hinduism and the study of Indian religions 1600-1776 (Halle 2003).

{3} See e.g. H. v. Stietencron, Art. Hinduismus, in: TRE, Bd. 15 (1986), 346-355); more in detail in: the same, Hinduism: On the proper use of a deceptive term, in: Hinduism reconsidered, edited by G.-D. Sontheimer and H. Kulke (Delhi ²1989).

{4} M. Gandhi, The collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, Bd. 10 (November 1909 - March 1911) (Ahmedabad 1963) 27.

{5} The complete works of Vivekananda (1907). Mayavati memorial edition, volumes 1-8 (Calcutta 91955), here volume 1, 347.

{6} ibid. 349.

{7} ibid.389.

{8} ibid. 3.

{9} ibid.2.

{10}Y. Sikand, Sacred spaces. Exploring traditions of shared faith in India (New Delhi 2003).

{11} Cf. Living together separately. Cultural India in history and politics, edited by M. Hasan and A. Ray (New Delhi 2005); Religions pluralism in South Asia und Europe, edited by J. Malik and H. Reifeld (New Delhi 2005).

{12} An example for this often stated opinion is V. Sundaram in: News Today, 1.7.2006 ( "a) As Hindus we are a nation, not only a religious community. We must be firmly convinced that our national identity is Hindu ... g) We are still a suppressed and enslaved nation".

{13} The biography of Raskhan is for example given in the Legenda Aurea of Krishnan Saints, "Do sau bavan vaisnavan ki varta".

{14} Gandhi (N. 4) 24. Relativizing is said in chapter 18 ( ibid. 57): "India will never be irreligious. Open atheism has not any chance in this country."

{15} Cf. G. Viswanathan, Outside the fold. Conversion, modernity, and belief (Princeton 1998).

{16} In the meaning of "imagined identity" see B. Anderson, Die Erfindung der Nation (Frankfurt 1988).

{17} B. Altemeyer, Enemies of freedom. Understanding right-wing authoritarianism (San Francisco 1988).

{18} Th. Sundermeier, Konvivenz u. Differenz. Studien zu einer verstehenden Missionswissenschaft (Erlangen 1995).

{19} Cf. E. Lévinas, Die Spur des Anderen: Untersuchungen zur Phänomenologie u. Sozialphilosophie (Freiburg 1983).

{20} B. R. Mani, Debrahmanising history: dominance and resistance in Indian society (New Delhi 2005).

{21} Cf. M. Fuchs, Kampf um Differenz. Repräsentation, Subjektivität u. soziale Bewegungen. Das Beispiel Indien (Frankfurt 1999); cf. J. Habermas, Die Einbeziehung des Anderen. Studien zur politischen Theorie (Frankfurt 1996).

{22} Vivekananda (A. 5) Bd. 7, 193. Amiya P. Sen interprets Vivekananda as reactionary and as forerunner of the political Hinduism (Hindu revivalism in Bengal 1872-1905. Some essays in interpretation, Delhi 1993), whereas Tapan Raychaudhuri ("Svami Vivekananda's construction of Hinduism", in: Svami Vivekananda and the modernization of Hinduism, edited by W. radice, Calcutta 1998, 1-16) sees him as nationalist rich in nuances, and as philosopher with a social agenda.

{23} Cf. Sundaram (N. 12) ibid.: "The Hindu culture is our national culture. The Hindu society is our national society."

{24} Sikand (N. 10) 19: "Reared with the idea that religion is 'Opium for the People', the secularists block a serious debate on religion, and so leave the entire sphere of religion to fundamentalists (armed with trident and Ak-47) and (to the) bloodthirsty theocratic terrorists."


    {*} Is India's religious and cultural diversity unfashionable? The multiracial state moves between traditional multiculturalism and modern nationalism. HEINZ WERNER WESSLER, scientific collaborator at the Institute for Oriental and Asian Studies of the University of Bonn, investigates before the background of those tensions the slogan "Unity in Diversity".