Conventional wisdom says that integration into the global marketplace tends to weaken the power of traditional faith in developing countries. But, as Meera Nanda argues in this path-breaking book, this is hardly the case in today’s India. Against expectations of growing secularism, India has instead seen a remarkable intertwining of Hinduism and neoliberal ideology, spurred on by a growing capitalist class. It is this “State-Temple-Corporate Complex,” she claims, that now wields decisive political and economic power, and provides ideological cover for the dismantling of the Nehru-era state-dominated economy.
According to this new logic, India’s rapid economic growth is attributable to a special “Hindu mind,” and it is what separates the nation’s Hindu population from Muslims and others deemed to be “anti-modern.” As a result, Hindu institutions are replacing public ones, and the Hindu “revival” itself has become big business, a major source of capital accumulation. Nanda explores the roots of this development and its possible future, as well as the struggle for secularism and socialism in the world’s second-most populous country.
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