Tuesday, April 3, 2012


What is it about the ideology of religious fundamentalism that allows it to travel so indifferently among such disparate political groups? I believe that it is an incarnation of a demon that has stalked liberal democracy everywhere throughout this century: an ideology that, for want of a better word, I shall call supremacism. It consists essentially in the belief that a group cannot ensure its continuity except by exerting absolute cultural and demographic control over a particular stretch of geography. The fascist antecedents of this ideology are clear and obvious. Some would go further and argue that nationalism of every kind must be regarded as a variant of supremacism. This is often but not necessarily true. The non-sectarian, anti- imperialist nationalism of a Ghandi or a Saad Zaghloul was founded on a belief in the possibility of relative autonomy for heterogeneous populations and had nothing to do with asserting supremacy.
- An except from ‘the fundamentalist challenge’ in The Imam and the Indian by Amitav Ghosh  

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