Heroes in the Bedroom? Iconoclash and the Search for Exemplarity in India
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AbstractThis article addresses the issue of violent, controversial attacks on artists and works of art in India, which have been increasing with the rise of religious nationalism since the 1990s. It argues that understanding the attacks solely on the basis of religious and political ideologies, though demonstrable, may not be adequate, for it overlooks the most important agent of action: the individuals who lead the attacks and indulge in violence. I argue that a common theme that defines the microsociological make-up of this violence is the choice for glory through a collective imagination, a personal take on the cult of the hero.