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Religion, violence and political mobilisation in South Asia

Edited by: Ravinder Kaur Publication: Sage ISBN: 0-7619-3431-6 Price: Rs 280 Pages: 228

india Updated: Oct 28, 2006 17:26 IST

An oft-neglected theme in studies on communal violence is the role of the state, particularly of its institutions of law enforcement and policing.

Recent experience with religion-based violence in South Asia - particularly, the 2002 riots in Gujarat - has brought into sharp focus this relationship between communal violence and partisan state institutions.

These major incidents clearly seem to have done away with the state's assumed role as a neutral arbiter between communities, and revealed instead a more openly ethnicised majoritarian stance.

The seven essays in this anthology - written by eminent authors from diverse traditions of anthropology, history, politics and sociology - critically re-examine the symbolism, scale and nature of communal violence in South Asia in view of the state's changing image. Moving beyond clichéd explanations of riots, the contributors

The Editor

Ravinder Kaur is a Research Fellow at International Development Studies, Roskilde University, Denmark. Her most recent work is Narratives of resettlement: Past, Present and Politics among the 1947 Punjabi Migrants in Delhi.

• Map the contemporary discourse on Hindu-Muslim violence and focus on the causes of communal violence as well as its long-term consequences.

• Situate the nation-state within the incidents of violence - variously termed ethnic, communal and everyday violence - that simultaneously frame and challenge the authority of the state.

• Locate the current discussion on violence and the state in Pakistan, and provide a general thematic overview of religion and state institutions in Pakistan.

• Discuss the specific locality-based socio-economic conditions that contribute to violence.

• Expand various categories of violence to present a South Asian perspective vis-à-vis the current western discourse on 'global terrorism'.

Providing original ethnographic accounts from sites of violence as varied in Karachi, Aligarh, Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Mumbai, this volume emphasizes the comparative local complexities.

This makes it invaluable for assisting a broader understanding of religious violence.