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The Insurrection of Little SelvesThe Crisis of Secular Nationalism in India$
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Aditya Nigam

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195676068

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195676068.001.0001

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Secularism the Marxist Way

Secularism the Marxist Way

‘High’ Theory and ‘Low’ Practice

(p.258) 6 Secularism the Marxist Way
The Insurrection of Little Selves

Aditya Nigam

Oxford University Press

Drawing on detailed interviews with communist activists, this chapter examines another form of secular practice in India—that of the Marxist left. It argues that actual secular practice on the ground differs considerably from the official pronouncements of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI (M)). It first uses Partha Chatterjee’s notion of political society and then discusses left-radical secularism. It explores the fate of this left-radical secularist project by looking at the experience of the CPI (M) in recent years. It also considers Marxism in the postcolonial world, early Marxism in India, the relationship between the modernizing impulses of radical political elites and the ‘masses’, bilingual politics and radical activists, and the ‘right to exit’ within the context of radical politics.

Keywords:   Marxism, Marxist left, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Partha Chatterjee, political elites, masses, left-radical secularism, radical activists, right to exit, radical politics

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