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

ViolenceSubscribe to Violence

Dalit Women, Vulnerabilities, and Feminist Consciousness

Dalit women in India have faced and are facing violence in myriad forms; they are victims of inhuman treatment, brutal violence and humiliation. Despite this, they have not been mute victims resigned to their plight; they have relentlessly struggled against caste-based social oppression and exploitative material relations, against atrocities and complex and contextual forms of hierarchies. The framework of vulnerability provides a useful lens to understand this violence and powerlessness. It is also important to address the lacuna in conventional feminist movements which do not account for caste-based gender violence, as also to assert Dalit women’s quest for and claim to universal transformative emancipatory practices.

Dancing between Charisma and Politics: An Analysis of Joker (2019)

Joker (2019) is set against an exterior world mirroring the New York City of the 1980s, with its crumbling economy and neo-liberal policies, woven together with the interior world of the rapidly deteriorating mind of its protagonist Arthur Fleck, who has a mental health condition. The article analyses the mild-mannered Fleck’s transition into the slick and charismatic Joker by tracing acts of violence inflicted on him and those that he commits violence upon. Interrogating violent scenes in the film reveals how Joker glorifies and legitimises specific forms of violence, situating the story in a backdrop devoid of historical and political rootedness.

How Real Is the Crime Decline in India?

Since 1991 in India, the crime rates of both property-related crimes and violent crimes, except crimes against women, have fallen significantly. While the decreasing trend is undisputed in Western nations, the perception in India is that the crime data has been manipulated by the police. The examination of constituent units composed of a diverse selection of districts in India suggests that the trends are generally similar across the country and are not an outcome of deliberate police practices. Police practices do not present any evidence of geographical bias in the registration of crime.

Home as the Frontier

In conflict zones, the home–outside binary is often erased in practice as violence enters people’s lives and personal spaces, diluting any distinction between combatants and non-combatants, even as the international humanitarian law and Geneva Conventions highlight the distinction. In Kashmir, a popular armed rebellion against the state, since 1989, has been met with brutal force. Making use of militarised masculinity to inflict violence on bodies and psyches of the people considered to be the “other” has been a norm. In extending the understanding of the front line from the border to homes, actions, bodies, and the everyday trauma that women face, the victimhood narrative is problematised by placing women as frontliners as they witness, survive, and resist.

The 2015 Gram Pradhan Elections in Uttar Pradesh

The 2015 gram pradhan elections in Uttar Pradesh present a distinct picture of local elections as compared to state-level and national elections. Three factors— money, power, and violence with localised overtones— have driven the course of elections lately. Large-scale monetary benefits accruing from the position of pradhani motivate the contestants to make substantial investment in elections. The second important element is power that is primarily based on caste status. Although caste positions have changed, the power of caste remains intact. Middle castes have gained salience but relative empowerment of certain communities within the Scheduled Castes is a notable feature in rural societies. The most visible expression of power assertion is violence which is colloquially referred to as dabangai.

Legal Violence and Its Unacknowledged Terrain in Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court

A critical take on the film, Court, with respect to the legal discourse through which it weaves its narrative of the failure of legal activism. The film is critiqued through a particular branch of critical legal scholarship that associates the activities of the lawyer or legal activist with that of the translator or the interpreter. As activities pertaining to justice and the survival of human beings, acts of misreading and mistranslation are therefore not innocent or incidental to the legal process or legal activism.

Thinking Kashmir

Waiting is so much a part of everydayness, including waiting for peace, waiting for your loved ones to come home, waiting for curfew to end, waiting for the army to go home. Between silence and waiting one can create a narrative of the Kashmir conflict. Unlike the Holocaust or partition, which have the gigantism of epic memories, the sadness of Kashmir is forged, crafted out of thousands of little memories, unwritten diaries merging quietly together. It is this alchemy of memories that is struggling against government policy, which sanitises violence and erases memory to create this strange machine that moves from violence to violence in facile amnesia.

Reflections on the ‘Chalo Nagpur’ Campaign

The ‘Chalo Nagpur’ campaign mobilised thousands of women marchers and drew attention to not only the exploitation and violence suffered by women from the lower castes, classes and marginalised sections but also their efforts to build connections with women engaged in similar aims across the world.

Understanding Violence

Violent Conjunctures in Democratic India by Amrita Basu, Cambridge University Press, 2015; pp 334, price not stated.

10 Years of Khairlanji

Was justice really done in the Khairlanji massacre? Is there any let-up in atrocities against Dalits? More importantly, will the victims get justice given the depressing trend in recent judgments, where perpetrators of violence against Dalits have been repeatedly acquitted?

Democracy and Violence in India

India: Democracy and Violence edited by Samir Kumar Das; OUP, 2015; pp i-viii+258, ₹ 995.

Interrogating the Nation

What is a 'nation'? What does the word 'nation state' connote? Beginning from early debates on nationalism and the nation state, the word 'nation' has shifted, coming to acquire at one and the same time, an expanding meaning and an ambivalence. Literature and the different social sciences, on the other hand, have exposed the nature of evil, depicting the nation as a genre of violence. A study of European and African works shows how the creation of nation has been fraught with a marginalisation of other groups and voices, with pain and suffering. Literature and language, this article suggests, must once again become tools to plumb the banality of evil that is inherent in the nation state. New 'thought experiments' must seek to challenge the politics of the nation, leading to a reinvention and a new beginning.

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