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

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Stories of Endemic Violence

My Son’s Inheritance: A Secret History of Lynching and Blood Justice in India edited by Aparna Vaidik, New Delhi: Aleph Book Company, 2020; pp 173, Rs 499.

This is a book of our times. The Black Lives Matter movement in the United States (US) has reignited the discourse around White privilege and fragility which lead to institutional discrimination and violence. Closer home, Dalit Lives Matter, though in its nascent stage, is enabling conversations that do not end up ghettoising the caste identity around Dalits. Exposed to endless cycles of violence and failure of systems of governance, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is hard to shake the apathy. Aparna Vaidik’s book, released in early 2020, comes at an apt time. Des­pite living in a country where violence against Dalits, women and Muslims is incessant, the essence of Indian culture gets associated with non-violence. By ref­lecting on her Marwari caste identity, Vaidik corrects this popular misunderstanding. She shows how violence is ende­mic in Hindu religious myths and stories that are passed on from one generation to the other.

Sitting comfortably between an engaging prologue and epilogue are eight clearly defined chapters. The chapters take the reader through the stories Vaidik inherited from her grandfather, her historicisation of these tales by focu­sing on the Arya Samaj and cow protection movement, the invisibility of violence endemic in religious myths, the counter- narrative presented through non-Aryan utopias and the sense of victi­mhood internalised by majoritarian communities. The book is deeply political and has been written in an accessible conversational style which makes it an inviting and deceptively simple read.

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Updated On : 22nd Mar, 2021

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