The Minority Conundrum
Living in Majoritarian Times
The second volume in the Rethinking India series explicates what it means to be a minority in majoritarian times. The contributors identify vulnerabilities that encumber the quest for the realization of substantive citizenship by minority groups. The essays deal with educational attainments, employment prospects in a liberalized economy, possibilities of equal opportunity, violence of the state and vigilante groups, emerging questions of citizenship and employment, linking language with the material life of its speakers, and the receding political voice of minorities amidst a majoritarian upswing.
Also examined is the concept of minority being inextricably bound with two allied ideas equally foundational to the vision of the Indian Republic: secularism and nationalism. The three together form a conceptual whole to the extent that none finds its manifestation without reference to the other two. The take-offs of the minority question in India include the archetypal nationalist's disapproval of the very endurance of the subject post-Independence. The secular-modernists and the Hindutva nationalists converge in prescribing assimilation-one into a modernist project, the other into a national culture defined by Sanskritic Hinduism-while the pluralist vision, tolerant of divergent practices, follies in assuming cultures and religious observances as frozen. This, along with several allied issues, forms the heart of this thought-provoking volume.