HYDERABAD: Tanweer Fazal, a professor at the department of sociology, University of Hyderabad, has published a book titled ‘The Minority Conundrum: Living in Majoritarian Times’ (Penguin Random House India Pvt. Ltd.). It is the second volume in the ‘Rethinking India’ series as it explicates what it means to be a minority in majoritarian times. The essays in the book deal with educational issues, employment prospects in a liberalized economy, possibilities of equal opportunity, violence perpetrated by state and vigilante groups, questions concerning citizenship and employment, language and its speakers, and the muffled political voice of minorities amidst a majoritarian upswing.
The book also deals with the concept of minority in the light of the vision of the Indian Republic: secularism and nationalism. The three together form a conceptual whole to the extent that none finds its manifestation without reference to the other two. The take-offs of the minority question in India include the archetypal nationalist’s disapproval of the very endurance of the subject post-Independence. The secular-modernists and the Hindutva nationalists converge in prescribing assimilation-one into a modernist project, the other into a national culture defined by Sanskritic Hinduism-while the pluralist vision, tolerant of divergent practices, follies in assuming cultures and religious observances as frozen. This, along with several allied issues comprise this volume.
Tanweer Fazal as a political sociologist, specializes in the sociology of nationalism(s), community formation and identifications with specific focus on their implications on discourse of rights and entitlements. He is the author of Nation-state’ and Minority Rights in India: Comparative Perspectives on Muslim and Sikh Identities (2015) and Minority Nationalism(s) in South Asia (ed.) (2012). His research inquiry has elements of public policy orientation encompassing the analysis of existing policy instruments while suggesting new modes of interventions. He has taken up the study of the processes of urbanisation in small and medium towns, and examined the role of religion in urban planning in India.