India is the second largest country in the world with regard to population, the world’s largest democracy and by far the largest country in South Asia, and one of the most diverse and pluralistic nations in the world in terms of official languages, cultures, religions and social identities. Indians have for centuries exchanged ideas with other cultures globally and some traditions have been transformed in those transnational and transcultural encounters and become successful innovations with an extraordinary global popularity. India is an emerging global power in terms of economy, but in spite of India’s impressive economic growth over the last decades, some of the most serious problems of Indian society such as poverty, repression of women, inequality both in terms of living conditions and of opportunities such as access to education, employment, and the economic resources of the state persist and do not seem to go away.
Now available in paperback, this Handbook contains chapters by the field’s foremost scholars dealing with fundamental issues in India’s current cultural and social transformation and concentrates on India as it emerged after the economic reforms and the new economic policy of the 1980s and 1990s and as it develops in the twenty-first century.
Following an introduction by the editor, the book is divided into five parts:
- Part I: Foundation
- Part II: India and the world
- Part III: Society, class, caste and gender
- Part IV: Religion and diversity
- Part V: Cultural change and innovations.
Exploring the cultural changes and innovations relating a number of contexts in contemporary India, this Handbook is essential reading for students and scholars interested in Indian and South Asian culture, politics and society.
Table of Contents
Introduction Contemporary India: Foundation, Relations, Diversity and Innovations Knut A. Jacobsen Part I Foundation 1. Dreams, Memories and Legacies: Partitioning India Pippa Virdee 2. Symbiosis and Resilience: The Dynamics of Social Change and Transition to Democracy in India Subrata Kumar Mitra 3. Foundations for a Sustainable Growth: India’s Constitution and its Supreme Court Ananth Padmanabhan 4. Economic Foundation of India Kunal Sen 5. Equity, Quantity and Quality: The Precarious Balancing act in India’s School Education Vimala Ramachandran 6. Agriculture and the Development Burden Rajeswari S. Raina Part II India and the World 7. Politics, Security and Foreign Policy Rajat Ganguly 8. Is India a South Asian or an Asian Power? Manjeet Pardesi 9. India's Role as an International Development Actor Emma Mawdsley 10. Dispersals, Migrations, Diversity of Communities and the Notion of an Indian Diaspora Brij V. Lal and Knut A. Jacobsen 11. Yoga and Physical Culture: Transnational History and Blurred Discursive Contexts Mark Singleton 12. Modernised Ayurveda in India and the West Warrier, Maya Part III Society, Class, Caste and Gender 13. Politics of Economic Reforms in India Diego Maiorano 14. Divided We Stand: The Indian City after Economic Liberalisation Nandini Gooptu15. India’s Middle Classes in Contemporary India Leela Fernandes 16. Caste: Why Does It Still Matter? Surinder S. Jodhka 17. Corruption and Anti-Corruption in Modern India: History. Patronage, and the Moral Politics of Anti-colonialism William Gould 18. Regional Perspective: Gujarat and the Contradictory Co-existence of Economic Enterprise and Political Illiberalism Harald Tambs-Lyche and Nikita Sud 19. Intimate Spaces of Struggle: Rethinking Family and Marriage in Contemporary India Mallarika Sinha Roy 20. Adivasis in Contemporary India: Engagements with State, Non-State Actors and the Capitalist Economy Uday Chandra Part IV Religion and Diversity 21. Myth as History and History as Myth: The Instructive Case of India Gerald James Larson 22. Matters That Matter: Material Religion in Contemporary India Vasudha Narayanan 23. Hindu Pilgrimage Sites and Travel: Infrastructure, Economy, Identity and Conflicts Knut A. Jacobsen 24. Ambedkar's Life and His Navayana Buddhism Eleanor Zelliot 25. Religion, Identity and Empowerment: The Making of Ravidassia Dharm (Dalit Religion) in Contemporary Punjab Ronki Ram 26. Muslims in Contemporary India: Socio-religious Diversity and the Questions of Citizenship R. Santhosh 27. Religious Violence, Crime Statistics and India’s Muslim Minority Marika Vicziany 28. Christians in India: Living on the Margins with a Diverse and Controversial Past John C. B. Webster Part V Cultural Change and Innovations 29. Combative Constructions of Femininity in the Late Twentieth Century Narratives of India Nandita Ghosh 30. The New Indian Male: Muscles, Masculinities and Middle-Classness Michiel Baas 31. Changing Food Habits in Contemporary India: Discourses and Practices From the Middle Classes in Chennai (Tamil Nadu) Michaël Bruckert 32. Coping with the Diseases of Modernity: The Use of Siddha Medical Knowledge and Practices to Treat Diabetics Brigitte Sébastia
Knut A. Jacobsen is Professor of Religion at the University of Bergen, Norway. His previous publications include Yoga in Modern Hinduism: Hariharānanda Āraṇya and Sāṃkhyayoga, and Pilgrimage in the Hindu Tradition: Salvific Space. He is the editor in chief of the six volumes Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism.
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"Routledge continues to make a remarkable contribution to South Asian studies through its journals, monographs, and edited books. This is another volume that South Asianists will embrace. Jacobsen and his international, five-member editorial board have divided the 32 chapters into five sections: "Foundation", six chapters on various topics from partition to the economy and the constitution; "India and the World" (six chapters); "Society, Class, Caste and Gender", eight chapters on topics large and small; "Religion and Diversity", eight chapters, including coverage of Hindu pilgrimage sites, Ambedkar, Muslims, and Christians; and "Cultural Change and Innovations", whose four chapters deal with femininity, the "new Indian male", food, and Siddha medical knowledge. In short, topics that appeal strongly to postmodernists and postcolonialists, written in language using terminology that appeals to them. The editor's introduction summarizes the volume's contents and writes about population and economic growth. [...] this is a major contribution. Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." R. D. Long, Eastern Michigan University, CHOICE