Fundamentalism and modernity

14 06 2010

Editorial note: I’m unavailable until Thursday. Posts will continue to appear, but this blog is on auto-pilot

I highly recommend the article, Rush Hour of the Gods by William Dalrymple (found via the Western Confucian blog). The article makes many counterintuitive points that I think any student of modern religion needs to take into consideration. While his analysis of Islam in south Asia was known to me, his analysis of modern Hinduism was particularly informative. Such an “ancient religion” is really not so ancient all things considered, and modernity has come to shape it just as much as it has contemporary Christianity.

My own exercise here is to compare and contrast what is going on with Hinduism and Islam in India with the long evolution of Catholicism in Latin America. In both cases, nationality, technology, scholarship, and the media are striving to define what Catholicism, Islam, and Hinduism are on a national and international scale, often in contrast with more local manifestations of these faiths.
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Krazzy 4

25 06 2008

On Bollywood movies, the English language, Argentine billboards, little black dresses, strip malls, the Fathers of the Church, and the role of language in religious discourse

One of the vices that AG has introduced me to is the joy of Bollywood movies. Since India is a poorer country and movie-goers have to get more bang for their buck, Bollywood films have to be over-the-top spectacles that boggle and overstimulate the mind into a complete entertainment stupor. The story lines are contrived, the plot twists barely worthy of belief, the dance sequences long, the women pretty, and everyone has a good time doing what they do best: dropping everything to dance and sing (or more often than not lip synch) at a moment’s notice. Here is an example from “Dhoom 2”, that AG and I recently watched:

 
(No, seriously, this movie is way cool. You should watch it.)
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