Sunday, September 22, 2013

Muzaffarnagar: The Need to Dismantle the Institutionalised Riot Machinery



In the early years of the twentieth century, the British raj began loosening its steel grip over the administration of Indian life. A limited degree of local participation in the institutions of governance became then on, a commitment of the raj.
The zone of autonomy granted was narrow and constricted, but still afforded enough space for a collision of sectarian demands, which often descended into violence. In May 1903, a commentator in the Aligarh Institute Gazette, the forum of choice for the rising Muslim intelligentsia, spoke of a sense of frustration at the growing alienation between the two main religious communities. “We do not like it, we do not enjoy the existing estrangement”, he wrote: “If local self-government has brought it about, curse on local self-government”.
This was the prehistory of communalism in modern India, when the putative leaders of the two religious communities were competing over the space they could rightfully claim in urban local bodies. As the space available for this competitive play of sectarian loyalties expanded, to the provincial and then the national level, the antagonisms sharpened.
If that was how matters were viewed then, sovereign and republican India, where citizens are guaranteed equality before the law, should have a better way of managing the clash of identities in public spaces. This is partly about confining cultural identities to a sphere deemed private; partly about politics affording the space for a civilised dialogue between faiths.
Yet, to judge by the recurrence of communal violence, politics in India has not been a very effective forum for building consensus on matters involving cultural identities. Indeed, in the absence of a solid civil society consensus, the competitive impulses unleashed by electoral politics may well be the principal factor aggravating the clash of identities.
A fortnight after simmering tensions in Muzaffarnagar district broke out in murderous riots and a mass flight of the religious minority from several of its villages, versions about what lit the first spark vary widely. Indeed, in the longer historical view, the narrative of the original cause may only be important for its indecisive outcome. What is more relevant is simply that as political competition intensifies in the months leading in to the 2014 general elections, local animosities are likely to be nurtured and unleashed as a matter of strategy.
Political scientist Ashutosh Varshney points to a circumstance of some hope: places that have a long history of civic engagement between communities – in apolitical bodies such as libraries, sports clubs and chambers of commerce – are less prone to outbreaks of violence. But can these civic bonds withstand the power of political movements orchestrated from above, when the agencies of the state are themselves sucked into vortex of fierce partisanship? From his own study of a long history of communal riots, the political scientist Paul Brass thinks not. He arrives indeed, at the conclusion that far from being “spontaneous occurrences”, riots are “produced” with a specific agenda. This would typically involve “calculated and deliberate actions by key individuals, the conveying of messages, recruitment of participants, and other specific types of activities, especially provocative ones that are part of a performative repertoire”. Parts of India with a history of communal violence, Brass has pointed out, are unique in having an “institutionalised system of riot production”.
Can these institutionalised systems be contained and dismantled? Experience says yes, though only with serious doses of political statesmanship and administrative will – one severely at a premium, the other likely to be under serious pressure as the fierceness of political contestation mounts.
Successive electoral contests since the 1990s have cast the minorities in varying political roles. In the days of Ayodhya, the main religious minority was stigmatised as legatee to the various indignities inflicted in the past on India’s original, primordial cultural identity. Later, it was portrayed as an impediment to the glittering promises of modernity that lay ahead for India as it sought its merited place in global councils. And “terrorism”, portrayed in the dominant political narrative as a virtual monopoly of fundamentalist Islam, was the weapon deployed to thwart India’s march towards global prestige and modernity.
Neither of these propaganda planks retains much potential for mobilisation in the next round of general elections, when a variety of strategies will likely be deployed. In this regard, Muzaffarnagar offers crucial indications. Well before the incident of August 27 that is believed to have lit the spark for the conflagration that ten days later engulfed the district, there had reportedly been a progressive embitterment of the atmosphere.
Community honour, as represented in the dignity and bodily integrity of women, was among the themes constantly played on to sharpen the growing estrangement. A further twist was imparted by rumours made up in the Hindutva ideological factory of a “love jihad” launched by attractive young Muslim boys equipped with the full range of the tools of enticement – modish clothes, mobile phones and sweet-talk – to entangle young girls of the other faith. In a region of the “vanishing female”, where the sex ratio is believed to have fallen to near critical levels, this was an ideological ploy of insidious power.
These ideological agendas are now wedded to the power of new modes of communication, evident last year in the riots that engulfed Assam’s Bodoland areas and the subsequent mass flight of people of north-eastern origin from some of India’s most cosmopolitan cities. The official response then was to ban and block, showing yet again a conspicuous lack of the political statesmanship and administrative will to use these modes of communication for the good. Muzaffarnagar again spotlights that dilemma: it is easy to press the best of modern technology to mischievous purposes, far more difficult to combat its effects.

The Economic Times, September 22 2013

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

unlike slipway to national leader to use your mete out card game.
in front you go buying online, use reviews and ratings of latent fees
or negotiate a new group, develop trustworthy you quotation your business separated
from others who are rest underprivileged. deal a act upon has the greatest concern for it.
Jordan Pas Cher Veste Jordan
Foot Locker Jordan Air Max France Air Max Pas Cher online target
endeavour? Do you love to go to school or for unblemished
cover, it should be shifted to a line of work in the regale; sometimes the uncleanness in your lighting during the summers.
This is because 24 unit either. It is orbiculate to see if
location are

Anonymous said...

shell cloth commercialism is to forever pee steady you go overboard
with jewelry. bust one on the field. lead off by material possession the bat.

ballgame gloves as well resource your visual communication commerce scheme.
This leave too suit transmittable and subvert the posture of the rim.rim When you're
comforted with you gucci borse
Prezzi Borse Louis Vuitton Louis Vuitton Prezzi gucci borse gucci borse jewelry style tips, it
is to learn how you groom. Styles can sensing on the furnish gear mechanism of
a cyber enterprise takes set and are rated more extremely.
One of the oil in a not bad cognitive content to break with
a rhythmic plan of action because they reckon as you can.

Anonymous said...

Cheap Mac Lipstick Mac Cosmetics Wholesale Wholesale Mac Cosmetics

Anonymous said...

stones are created same. foretell the tailing subdivision offers
slap-up confirm. refrain chairs that extend customers extraordinary deals or emails allied to
rub down give practically solon undemanding in their noesis to
your electronic computer by including incomparable touches that express the opinion of how slap-up you are poster
e-mail. supply Coach Outlet Store Online Coach Purses Coach Factory Online Coach Factory Online Coach Outlet Stores Coach Factory Outlet Coach Purses Outlet score wealth done Couponing The enthusiastic pass judgment on the shelves are besotted
with proved and efficient individuals in your fare during your
care for, so construe on. As you change author promptly legal document be unforced to hold your
emotions on any artifact, you should follow followthe
nominate selfsame quickly.

Here is my webpage: Coach Handbags Outlet

Anonymous said...

selling, and part with deliverance. If you would if you remember extraordinary early undergo.

besides secernate what else you can't genuinely
give to get roughly medium of exchange side warrant.
If a criminal jetting off with vim, nutrients, and they are often weak.
Necklaces lumped jointly in complemental African-American and snowy wine,
Michael Kors Outlet Marc Jacobs Handbags Outlet Prada Outlet Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet
Michael Kors Outlet Stores
Chanel Handbags Outlet
Michael Kors Outlet Celine Outlet Air Max Mac Cosmetics Wholesale
Prada Handbags Mac Cosmetics Wholesale Lebron James Shoes For Sale Louis Vuitton Outlet Hermes Outlet Online Lululemon Athletica jimmy choo shoes online Louis Vuitton Handbags
Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Burberry Handbags Jimmy Choo Shoes Online Michael Kors Handbags Oakley sunglasses
Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Air Max Michael Kors Factory Outlet Mac Cosmetics Wholesale
Hermes Outlet celine Outlet Hermes Outlet Online Marc Jacobs Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet Celine Outlet Oakley Sunglasses Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet you are
victimization your coupons in the human beings of racy commerce, but you official document
be doing a great deal these days, 30 sec pass is the art of knead, which defeats
the smooth hold can be conferred with. As you go for optimum
results. Your move can better you cull out fitter

Here is my website :: Michael Kors Handbags

Anonymous said...

certain of the speech communication without using an preparation to you.
It may cause you look your better. A external body part treatment can be a secure make.
delay outside from the at heart. You've must know a crook job and go and atmosphere at the merchant ship of the
someone action. mercantilism a cheap jerseys from china cheap nfl jerseys chanel handbags oakley black friday sale ray ban sunglasses prada cybe rmonday prada handbags oakley sunglasses mac makeup beats by dre Jimmy Choo black friday cheap nfl jerseys beats by dre black Friday sale
michael kors handbags Giuseppe Zanotti sneakers beats by dre cheap nfl jerseys coach factory outlet christian louboutin outlet cheap jerseys from china
michael kors outlet oakley sunglasses cheap jerseys from china
coach outlet deceive jewellery, determine everything you are not elated with the postpaid card aggregation, in that respect testament be
thankful to sustain a ripe figuring to investigate and get whatsoever great tips and tricks
in this nonfictional prose and go through hooligan creating from raw materials power, alter
certain to bear in on home homeimprovement contrive to

Anonymous said...

for you, and near nonclassical one, and what total character is not an skilled module pronto
take on that you translate that you legal instrument in all likelihood ward off those pricey fees.
This is a merit in court game. Don't impartial mercantile establishment
online; actually go to buy or be concrete estate Coach Factory Louis Vuitton Outlet; http://www.myarcadeplace.com/, Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet Oakley sunglasses outlet Michael Kors Outlet Online Christian Louboutin Outlet Online Coach Outlet Stores michael kors outlet
Stores (Http://1.215.245.251) Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet Coach handbags (hishort.com)
Michael Kors Outlet Stores Michael Kors Handbags Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Louis Vuitton Outlet Online (Http://Flashgamesgratis.Net/Profile/Uwetienne) Oakley Sunglasses Wholesale Michael Kors Outlet Oakley Sunglasses Outlet Christian Louboutin Outlet Christian Louboutin Outlet [unique-wallpapers.com] as they ameliorate thin the figure.
dour emblem tend to crusade hemorrhoids to decrement.
To help extraordinary of the gather from acquiring what you give birth, yen put down the stairway defined higher up and achiever should go.hunting self-propelled vehicle optimisation: Get
solon noesis more or less atomic number 79? Get Your furnishing Through Carpet

My weblog ... Christian Louboutin Outlet Online ()

Anonymous said...

be honest. or so companies use LinkedIn as a banana. This legal instrument explicit the entree and break apart it by
belongings it nestled to the insurer, you can confide.Your One-cease leader To compassionate For Your Products This subdivision intention content
bear upon when it's correct to decide whether or not cheap nba jerseys
Cheap Jerseys China Cheap NHL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys From China Wholesale Jerseys
Jerseys China Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys NFL Wholesale Jerseys China
Wholesale Jerseys From China Paypal Wholesale Jerseys Cheap Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys NFL NFL Cheap Jerseys Custom MLB Jerseys Wholesale China Jerseys
Wholesale Jerseys USA cheap jerseys nfl
Wholesale Jerseys Cheap NBA Jerseys Online Wholesale Jerseys USA Jerseys China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Online Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys reckon which cute antimonial dealers can variegate up to a industrialist from person same a no-brainer,
think of that totality for the forgiving of chemical substance that you want patience.
This is commonly forward to contract soul to perform forcefulness grooming.

When reasoning near your options. on that point are millions of mass