Monday, July 26, 2004

the hindu right's sexual obsessions

I've long criticized the foreign press for ignoring the outrages of India's Hindu fanatics--which I see as more evidence that the West has a blinding preoccupation with fundamentalist Islam. Fortunately, the same studied ignorance is not true in the academic world, where many western scholars have observed and understood the dangers associated with saffron fanaticism. Case inpoint: this week, the soft-academic magazine Boston Review has published a fascinating essay by scholar Martha C. Nussbaum that investigates why the sexual torture of women was the focus of the violence in Gujarat in 2002. With convincing logic--though some of the language had a layperson like myself creased--Nussbaum links the Hindu fanatics' obsession with the "unclean" female bodies of Muslims to colonial law, German fascism, and Freudian psychology. Definitely worth a read.

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