The Philosophy of Number
NB: This paper is due to appear in a volume entitled Communalism in Post-colonial India Changing Contours; Edited by Mujibur Rehman; Routledge India (2015). It was completed in 2013, and discusses why our understanding of communal politics is constrained from the outset by the faulty concepts we use, which only serve to re-inforce communal ideologies. DS
- Hilary Mantel
The answer was symptomatic of the leftist common sense about communalism. He replied that if the Party had done so, the ‘people would have assumed we were siding with one community against the other.’ For this theoretician, the issue was (by implication) not one of upholding lawful government or the constitutional obligation to protect historical monuments; rather, what was happening was a conflict between communities. It did not call for a defence of democracy against mob violence, or an exposure of the claims of communal groups to ‘represent’ entire communities, it was a Hindu-Muslim issue, and the best way out of it was to get ‘community leaders’ to sort it out amicably. Since the communist position on bourgeois democracy is deeply ambivalent, its position on fascism is equally compromised. However, Indian communists have not theorized fascism at all, so the comrades’ position reflected the stance of an entire spectrum of left opinion on communalism.
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