‘The idea of liberty is and has always been peculiar to the West’, wrote the libertarian economist Ludwig von Mises.
If, in our capitalist economy, homo sapiens is fundamentally homo economicus, what might be the implications of living in a time, and for a protracted period of time, when as human beings we ceased to be primarily economic agents?
The Malay Archipelago, or Maritime Southeast Asia, has long provided a spectacular demonstration of societies deeply invested in the ethos of cultural pluralism, and modern-day Malaysia has laid claim to that inheritance by representing itself as one of the world’s more arresting experiments in multiculturalism in recent decades.
On 26 November 1938, Gandhi published in his journal Harijan a reasonably lengthy statement entitled simply, ‘The Jews’. ‘My sympathies,’ he candidly stated, ‘are all with the Jews.’
What is characterised as Hindu fundamentalism is in fact the everyday ordinariness of a religion such as Islam, and ‘even the slightest spiritual movement among the Hindus is immediately branded by the minority communities as Hindu-chauvinism, Hindu backlash or fundamentalism.’
Years after his death in the autumn of 2003, Edward Said, who had attained the rank of ‘University Professor’ at Columbia University, continues to elicit an equal measure of adulation and vitriolic criticism.