Globalisation and the Predicaments of Shared Cultural Spaces: Neoliberal Reforms and the Status of Indian Muslims

By H.M. Sanjeev Kumar.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies

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This article attempts at situating the contemporary cultural politics in India, which symbolises a fractured social space, engineered by political maneuverings based on issues relating to the sharing of socio-cultural spaces and the management of cultural differences. Home to the largest Muslim population in South Asia, with Hindus having the demographic edge, the question of the status and identity of Muslims in India has been a particularly contested one. The problemetique of specifying the cultural space of Indian Muslims got complicated with the issue of profiling a terrorist, which assumed significance in the wake of growing regional and internal security challenges posed by Islamic terror outfits operating in the realm of the subcontinent and further exasperated by the global upsurge of Islamic extremism in recent times. All this not only imparted broader connotations for the Indian Muslims but has also aptly fitted into the political agenda of a section of the majority Hindu community, who have sought to radicalise the idea of a ‘Hindu Nation’ and associated its achievement by engaging in fierce cultural propaganda of the Islamic evil demonology. This has matured together simultaneously in a temporary parallel development of the twin phenomena of a rapidly globalising economy and an increasing liberalisation of the cultural sphere. So, the precariousness of Indian Muslims has considerably deepened as they are demonised by a hegemonic majoritarian order and with this, the very idea of India as a homeland for them produces horrific geo-cultural images. In light of this, the paper discusses the place of Indian Muslims in an overtly expanding Hinduised public domain which has dehumanised Muslims to such an extent that a large populous has been reified into accepting that a Musalman is a distinct other.

Keywords: Indian Muslims, Hindutva, Hindu Nation, Identity, Globalisation, Liberalisation, Cultural Space

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 370.240KB).

Dr. H.M. Sanjeev Kumar

Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences, South Asian University, Delhi, Delhi, India

His area of specialisation is Democratisation in South Asia, India-Pakistan Relations and Subcontinental Security; Nuclearisation of South Asia; and Globalisation and identity of the Muslims. His areas of interest also include Contemporary issues involving Multi-Culturalism; World Order post-9/11; the Role of Political Parties in Shaping India’s Foreign Policy, etc. He has published extensively in these areas in journals of international repute, such as South Asian Survey, Third World Quarterly, India Quarterly, EPW, TJP, EJEPS, etc. Currently, he is availing the prestigious UGC Inter University Centre’s Research Associateship in Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla, where he is working on ethno-political conflicts in South Asia. He teaches Comparative Politics and International Relations of South Asia.