Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India

Paperback | December 6, 2011

byJohannes Quack

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India is frequently represented as the quintessential land of religion. Johannes Quack challenges this representation through an examination of the contemporary Indian rationalist movement, which affirms the values and attitudes of atheism, humanism, or free-thinking. Quack shows therationalists' emphasis on maintaining links to atheism and materialism in ancient India and outlines their strong ties to the intellectual currents of modern European history. At the heart of Disenchanting India lies an ethnographic study of the organization "Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti" (Organization for the Eradication of Superstition), based in the Indian State of Maharashtra. Quack gives a nuanced account of the rationalists' specific "mode of unbelief," describingtheir efforts to encourage a scientific temper and combat beliefs and practices they regard as "superstitious". Quack also shows the role played by rationalism in their day-to-day lives, as well as the organization's controversial position within Indian society. Disenchanting Indiaprovides crucialinsights into the nature of rationalism in the intellectual life and cultural politics of India.

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India is frequently represented as the quintessential land of religion. Johannes Quack challenges this representation through an examination of the contemporary Indian rationalist movement, which affirms the values and attitudes of atheism, humanism, or free-thinking. Quack shows therationalists' emphasis on maintaining links to atheis...

Johannes Quack studied Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Anthropology at the Universities of Bayreuth, Edinburgh, and Heidelberg. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe," Heidelberg University and is currently research fellow at McGill University, Montreal.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:380 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 1.1 inPublished:December 6, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199812624

ISBN - 13:9780199812622

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsPrologueIntroductionPart I: Object of Inquiry: Indian Rationalists, Modes of Unbelief and Disenchantment1. Indian Rationalists2. Modes of Unbelief3. Rationalization and Disenchantment4. Methodological Remarks and Research SettingPart II: History: Roots of Organized Rationalism in India5. ''Narrative'' of the Indian Roots of Rationalism6. Evolution of Rationalism in Colonial India7. Influence of the English Rationalist Movement8. Organized Rationalism in 20th Century India9. Recent History of Organized Rationalism in MaharashtraPart III: Ethnography: Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANiS)10. ANiS in Action: The Science-Van11. Organizational Structure and Set-Up of ANiS12. Profile and Agenda of ANiS13. Individual Interpretations and Applications of Rationalism14. Rationalism as a Way of Life15. ANiS in Context16. Impact of ANiSPart IV Theory: The Mode of Unbelief of ANiSBibliographyAppendix

Editorial Reviews

"The book is a rich source of information...It provides the reader with food for thought on complex questions...The narrative is engaging and full of ethnographic detail about personal dilemmas, doctrinal conicts, and rationalist performances. Disenchanting India is a major contribution to andentry point for the study of complex and long-standing problems of Indian society." --H-Net Reviews