Breaking the Spell of Dharma and other essays

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In four celebrated and controversial essays Meera Nanda connects religious fundamentalism with fascism and talks about the responsibility of intellectuals. She examines the link between Hindutva and reactionary modernism, argues for linking rationalism and science for the cause of social justice and provides a detailed critique of anti-rationalist and anti-secularist currents dominant in several academic and research circles in India. This little book is a timely reminder to all those who believe in the necessity of intellectual and moral intervention in the present affairs of society and culture.

Whereas the Hindu right is busy claiming the products of modern science and technology as a part of its own heritage, the postmodernist and postcolonial intellectuals have sought to insulate non-Western cultures from modern science, which they see as alien and oppressive. The essays in the book simultaneously defend the enterprise of modern science and secularism and call for deploying scientific knowledge as a cultural weapon against the neo-traditionalist as well as reactionary modernist understanding of the world.

Meera Nanda

Meera Nanda is an independent scholar based in the United States. She has been a John Templeton Foundation Fellow in Religion and Science (2005-2007), and is currently in India as Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali. Her essays in various academic and popular journals have been widely read and discussed. She is the author of Prophets Facing Backward: Postmodernism, Science and Hindu Nationalism; Postmodernism and Religious Fundamentalism: A Scientific Rebuttal to Hindu Science; The God Market.