Land of My Dreams – Martha C. Nussbaum

In culture, philosophy, politics, sociology on June 4, 2012 at 10:34


Land of My Dreams: Islamic liberalism under fire in India – Martha C. Nussbaum – Boston Review

It was not the first time India’s Muslims have demonstrated a peaceful embrace of the country’s founding values. The personal experience of Mushirul Hasan exemplifies the same commitment. A leader of the community, Hasan has been at the center of controversy for his liberal, secular views and has weathered attempts to force him out of his job as Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, a pluralistic university closely linked to Muslim contributions in India’s struggle for nationhood. His story illustrates three aspects of Indian and Muslim life that concerned Western observers regularly ignore.

First, the values we associate with classical liberalism—such as the defense of the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and procedural due process—are not exclusively Western values. During the independence movement in India, they were reinvented by a colonized people who had seen just how little their Western masters honored such norms.

Second, these values are not tepid and centrist, as we sometimes hear, but rather, truly radical in a world of nations increasingly under pressure both from external violence and from internal quasi-fascist forces.

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