New Book: Hindu Majority Bad, Non-Hindu Minority Good, Yawn. . .

This is an excerpt from a brief Znet interview with Angana Chatterji about her new book Violent Gods, which according to her is “an exploration of Hindu nationalism in India today.”

[Question:] What are your hopes for “Violent Gods”? What do you hope it will contribute or achieve, politically? Given the effort and aspirations you have for the book, what will you deem to be a success? What would leave you happy about the whole undertaking? What would leave you wondering if it was worth all the time and effort?

[Answer:] At the release of the book in Orissa in April 2009, I was asked if the book would provide solutions for undoing Hindu militancy and dominance in India. Books, if we are so fortunate, complicate matters further. I remain hopeful that “Violent Gods” will energize discussion, debate, contemplation about India’s present and future, the role and violence of majoritarian states and groups globally, about privilege and subalternity, security, rights, and entitlements, about freedom and dissent. I remain hopeful that the many and powerful subaltern voices and narratives in the text will compel reflection.

Chatterji, Angana. “Violent Gods: A Znet Book Interview.” 31 Jul. 2009. ZNet. 1 Aug. 2009 <>

Some comments: In the interview, it is interesting that she describes her book as a “Foucauldian history of the present.” I think it is significant that she would employ a Foucauldian theoretical perspective, which by its nature is unable to imagine an objective position from which to critique the (so-called) Hindu majoritiarian “other.” I also think it interesting that intellectuals like Chatterji automatically assume that “majority” means “oppressor.” Evidently, in her universe, oppression flows from Hindus to, basically, everyone who is not a Hindu. Since you know what she is going to say, you probably don’t need to read her book. If anything is going to discredit secularism in the short term, it will be the mere banality of secularist arguments.


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