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Riot Politics: Hindu-Muslim Violence and the Indian State

Price : $16.75
ISBN # : 9788129123756
Author : Ward Berenschot
pages: 252
Edition : Hardcover
Volumes : 1
Publisher : Rainlight Rupa
Published : 2013

On 27 February 2002, fifty-eight people died when a coach of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire just outside a small-town railway station in Gujarat. The incident sparked the Gujarat riots, one of the worst outbursts of Hindu-Muslim violence in recent history. Based on an extensive ethnographic study of Gujarat s local politics, Riot Politics offers a novel approach to understanding the processes that foster outbursts of communal violence in India. Berenschot argues that the difficulties faced by poorer citizens when dealing with state institutions underlie the capacity and interests of political actors to instigate and organise communal violence.

As the reader is led into the often shadowy world of local politics in Gujarat, the author reveals how the capacity and willingness of various types of rioters ranging from politicians, local criminals, fundamentalist groups, to neighbourhood leaders and police officials to organise and perpetrate violence is closely related to the different political positions these actors hold.

The book explores how communal or ethnic riots are meticulously planned and executed even though they appear to be spontaneous outbursts of violence.

Focusing on Ahmedabad, it unravels the Gujarat riots from a grassroots level, exploring and analyzing the role played by small time neighbourhood agents who worked for the government.

Provides a completely different perspective to looking at riots and how they can be contained in time. Since communal tension is a reality in India, the relevance of this book cannot be overstated.

Since this book provides new insights about the Gujarat riots which has been the subject of endless media scrutiny it will be picked up and reviewed widely in the national media.

Author Bio: Ward Berenschot is a political scientist and a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden. He specializes in identity politics, citizenship and local democracy in India and Indonesia.

Review: [Riot Politics] is a remarkable addition to the literature on communalism in India.

Source: Christophe Jaffrelot, Senior Research Fellow, CNRS, CERI

Review: This volume provides a rich ethnographic account of the modus operandi of grassroots political actors in communal (ethnic) violence. Berenschot provides an insight into everyday politics and the state in Gujarat, India. Highly useful for students of Indian politics and society.

Source: Ghanshyam Shah, National Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Study Ghanshyam Shah, National Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Study

This book was added to South Asia bookstore on Monday 07 January, 2013.

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