Kian Tajbakhsh

Social Change, 48(1), March 2018


In both Iran and India, many social and cultural obstacles to authentic and humane social development are often traced to complexities caused by an encounter with Western modernity. In this essay, I explore what the Iranian reception of modernity might gain from the Indian conversation on Hind Swaraj. I show that Gandhi’s thought contains two different critiques of modernity. The first radical option entails the rejection of modernity and its core institutions such as the nation-state; the second proposes adapting traditions, including religions, within the framework of a pluralistic democracy so as to craft alternative versions of the nation-state. The objective of the essay is to examine those aspects of the latter strand of Gandhi’s thought that may be compatible with Iranian realities. A further goal is to put Iranian and Indian voices together in a constructive dialogue with one another.

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