Contents: Prologue. In Search of India: The Inner Lives of Postcolonialism. Avatars for Lost Dreams: The Land of Lost Dreams. Introduction. Avatars for Bionationalism: Tales from (An)Other Enlightenment. Avatar #1: The Story of Uruvam. 1. Home and the World: The Modern Lives of the Vedic Sciences. Avatar #2: The Story of Amudha. 2. Colonial Legacies, Postcolonial Biologies: The Queer Politics of (Un)Natural Sex. Avatars #3: The Story of Nadu and Piravi. 3. Return of the Native: Nation, Nature, and Postcolonial Environmentalism . Avatar #4: The Story of Neram. 4. Biocitizenship in Neoliberal Times: On the Making of the “Indian” Genome. Avatar #5: The Story of Arul. 5. Conceiving a Hindu Nation: (Re)Making the Indian Womb. Avatar #6: The Story of Kalakalappu. Conclusion. Avatars for Dreamers: Narrative’s Seductive Embrace. Notes on the Mythopoeia. Epilogue. Finding India: The Afterlives of Colonialism. A Note of Gratitude and Appreciation. Notes. References. Index.
Behind the euphoric narrative of India as an emerging world power lies a fascinating but untold story of an evolving relationship between science and religion. Evoking the rich mythology of comingled worlds, where humans, animals, and gods transform each other and ancient history, Banu Subramaniam demonstrates how Hindu nationalism weaves an ideal past into technologies of the present to imagine a future nation that is modern and “Hindu.”
As in many parts of the world, India is witnessing a hypernationalism on multiple fronts. Through five illustrative cases involving biological claims, Subramaniam explores an emerging bionationalism. The cases are varied, spanning the revival of Vaastushastra, the codification of “unnatural” sex in IPC Section 377 (which the Indian Supreme Court recently struck down), the unfolding debates around the veracity of Hanuman and Rama Setu, debates on the geographic origins of Indians through genomic evidence, the revival of traditional systems of Indian medicine through genomics and pharmaceuticals, the growth of and subsequent ban on gestational surrogacy, and the rise of old Vedic gestational sciences.
Moving beyond a critique of India’s emerging bionationalism, Holy Science explores generative possibilities that the rich traditions of South Asian story telling practices offer us.
This book will be of interest to scholars of science and technology studies, history of science, gender studies, sexuality studies and cultural studies.