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

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Rehabilitating Riot Victims

Communal Violence, Forced Migration and the State: Gujarat since 2002 by Sanjeevini Badigar Lokhande; New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2015;pp xii + 215, price not indicated.

Muslims and Others: Anecdotes, Fragments and Uncertainties of Evidence

Against the intensified communalisation of civil society and the emergence of new modes of racism in contemporary India, this essay juxtaposes different histories of the Other through critical insights into the construction and demonisation of the Indian Muslim, along with subaltern performers and indigenous people, among other minorities. Working through anecdotes and fragments, bits and pieces of history, and the backstage life of theatre, this disjunctive discourse on the Other attempts to trouble liberal assumptions of cultural identity by calling attention to the uncertainties of evidence by which ethnic identities are politicised in diverse ways. While critiquing the exclusionary mode of 'othering' minorities, the essay also calls attention to more internalised modes of disidentification and the double-edged benefits of political identity for the underprivileged and dispossessed, whose own assertions of the self invariably complicate official identitarian constructions.

Lessons of Best Bakery Case

The Best Bakery case is another example, typical of cases of communal violence and killings, of shoddy and careless investigation with the sole motive to ensure the acquittal of the accused. In his judgment the fast track court judge has passed severe strictures on the quality of the investigation. Against this background there is a strong case for the other cases arising out of the Gujarat communal riots being tried outside Gujarat.

Gujarat Riots: Rushing to Judgment

Justice Nanavati's comments to the press on the nature of the Gujarat riots last year are premature. His 'clean chit' may result in all-round fear preventing people from coming forward to register their genuine grievances and losses.

Gujarat Violence: A Personal Diary

Some personal encounters in the city of Baroda during the riots and afterwards.

Gujarat Riots in the Light of the History of Communal Violence

The frequency with which communal holocausts have been taking place in India shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with our political system as well as our secular governance. The carnage in Gujarat did not occur suddenly and simply in reaction to what happened in Godhra. The Sangh parivar politically thrived only through hate politics, opposing everything that went in favour of minorities. Over the years it has created a mindset among the Hindus, who question not only the loyalty of minorities towards India but also consider them fundamentalist and fanatical, and the Hindus as liberal and secular.

Narendra Modi's One-Day Cricket

The horrific events in Gujarat early this year have been widely chronicled and extensively televised. But the explanations about why Gujarat should have suffered this fate are complex and not easy to understand. While Gujarat has contributed to our industrial economy, this has not been accompanied by the evolution of modernising and progressive forces in the state. The socio-political history of Gujarat offers some clues about why this has been the case.

Adivasis, Hindutva and Post-Godhra Riots in Gujarat

Though Gujarat has a history of communalism, adivasis were the last to be communalised. This paper attempts to explore the participation of adivasis in the riots that followed the Godhra carnage. It highlights the fact that the character of riots in adivasi areas was different from that in non-adivasi areas and attempts to reconstruct the developmental cycle of communalisation of adivasis from late 1980s onwards. It links this communalisation with the political economy of adivasis whose aspirations and problems are kept distorted and their attention diverted under the garb of religion and party politics.

Culture of Communalism in Gujarat

This article attempts to examine the larger and rapidly spreading communalisation of the Indian polity as a whole and relating it to the extent possible, to similar trends elsewhere in the world, identifying those individuals and groups responsible for spreading this culture of violence within and across regions. It attempts to develop a broader understanding of the rarity of the threat posed by what is happening in Gujarat.

Contestation and Negotiations

The evidence from elections studies suggests that voters are guided by their perception of the performance of the party in power and their evaluation on this count of the contender party, although organisations of political parties and their modus operandi in mobilising voters also play an important role. At this stage the BJP in Gujarat is not in a comfortable position to convince voters about its ability to provide good governance. But that is not enough. The alternative party will have to articulate and highlight vital socio-economic issues. If it fails in doing so,emotional issue will dominate and work in favour of the BJP.

Limits of Tolerance

A modern democracy cannot tolerate matters of faith trumping over matters of citizenship rights. There can be no question of tolerance when citizens are denied their status as equal citizens. With an intolerant secularism that insists on the inalienable rights of citizens and on the due process of the law, it is easier to mount public pressure against minority hunters and sectarian killers. Here we cannot make exemptions, or look for mitigating circumstances, on grounds of being a minority or impoverished and unemployed.

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