1st Edition

Indian Modernity Contradictions, Paradoxes and Possibilities

By Avijit Pathak Copyright 2024

    Indian Modernity (first published in 1998) acquires a new meaning today. While it critiques a techno-militaristic model of modernization, it visualizes alternative possibilities to give a distinctively new definition to our modernity. It engages the reader in dreaming of a new path to modernity beyond its present contradictions and paradoxes with its lyrical style, philosophic insights, sensitivity to deep religiosity, life-affirming femininity and, most of all, sociological imagination.

    This book continues to hold relevance for social science students and researchers, teachers, and visionaries, despite the passage of time.

    This title is co-published with Aakar Books. Print editions not for sale in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Bhutan)

    Preface to the New Edition


    Introduction—Critical Engagement with Modernity

    I. Sociology and Modernity

    II. Advent of Postmodernity

    III. Modernity and Indian Social Reality

    1. Intellectual Traditions in Modern India

    I. Intellectuals and Their Ideals: A Conceptual Clarification

    II. Birth of Modern Intellectuals: Colonialism and the Vision of New India

    III. Intellectuals and the Project of Modernity in Post-Independence India

    IV. Need for Self-Introspection

    2. Limits to Secular Modernity: Religiosity and its Possibilities

    I. Soft Secularism and its Gains

    II. Beginning of a Militant Agenda: Secularism an Modernity

    III. Religion and its Altered Modes of Functioning

    IV. Discontents of Secular Thinking and Necessity of Spiritual Religion

    V. Religion, Secularism and Contemporary India

    3. Assertion of Femininity: Modernity and its Ambiguities

    I. Cultural Ideals of Indian Womanhood

    II. Imagining a New Woman

    III. Feminist Challenge

    IV. Feminist Journey to Emancipation: Overcoming Communalism

    V. Consumerism: Yet Another Obstacle

    VI. Towards an Alternate Agenda

    4. Culture as an Arena of Struggle: Debates on Tradition, Modernity and Revival

    I. Understanding Culture

    II. Great Cultural Ideals

    III. Onslaught of Modernity

    IV. Globalization, Consumerism and Mass Culture

    V. Colonization of Religion

    VI. Limits to Cultural Relativism

    5. Conflict of Worldviews: Imagining an Emancipatory Vision

    I. Mythologization of Development

    II. Cultural Narcissism

    III. Dalit Assertion

    IV. Emerging Conflicts

    V. Alternative Worldview

    Conclusion—Spiritualizing Modernity



    Avijit Pathak is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.