ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Shadow of Violence

The 1992–93 communal riots in Bombay scarred the cosmopolitan nature of the city, leading to greater ghettoisation, discrimination, and communal division. Yet the city bears stories of hope and sorrow, of alienation and hurt, all swallowed up in the vigour of eking out one’s daily existence.

The scale of violence in the communal riots in Bombay following the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992 scarred the cosmopolitan nature of the city permanently. It led to greater ghettoisation, divisions and hatred, and a deep distrust and suspicion between Hindus and Muslims. Twenty-five years later, these differences may be papered over and time may have healed some wounds but Mumbai is not the same city it was.

Ever since the 19th century, the city has had a long history of violence and each riot has only paved the way for religion, or so-called religious beliefs, to be used as a basis for violence, distancing the two communities. The first Hindu–Muslim riot in Bombay took place on 11 August 1893 against the backdrop of a nascent “cow protection movement” that was gaining ground in the country. The Bombay Society for the Preservation of Cows and Buffaloes or the Gaurakshak Sabha formed in July 1887, with Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit as president, was pushing for a law to ban the slaughter of cows and buffaloes. There were meetings against cow slaughter and public collections to build cattle shelters. The Muslim community was resentful of such a move. The situation worsened after speeches made by proponents of the ban proclaiming that protecting the cow was akin to protecting the country and its people (Menon 2012: 20–26). Echoes of that sentiment can be heard again in the country these days.

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Updated On : 4th Dec, 2017


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