Pogrom in Gujarat: Hindu Nationalism and Anti-Muslim Violence in India

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Princeton University Press, Apr 8, 2012 - History - 335 pages

In 2002, after an altercation between Muslim vendors and Hindu travelers at a railway station in the Indian state of Gujarat, fifty-nine Hindu pilgrims were burned to death. The ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party blamed Gujarat's entire Muslim minority for the tragedy and incited fellow Hindus to exact revenge. The resulting violence left more than one thousand people dead--most of them Muslims--and tens of thousands more displaced from their homes. Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi witnessed the bloodshed up close. In Pogrom in Gujarat, he provides a riveting ethnographic account of collective violence in which the doctrine of ahimsa--or nonviolence--and the closely associated practices of vegetarianism became implicated by legitimating what they formally disavow.


Ghassem-Fachandi looks at how newspapers, movies, and other media helped to fuel the pogrom. He shows how the vegetarian sensibilities of Hindus and the language of sacrifice were manipulated to provoke disgust against Muslims and mobilize the aspiring middle classes across caste and class differences in the name of Hindu nationalism. Drawing on his intimate knowledge of Gujarat's culture and politics and the close ties he shared with some of the pogrom's sympathizers, Ghassem-Fachandi offers a strikingly original interpretation of the different ways in which Hindu proponents of ahimsa became complicit in the very violence they claimed to renounce.

 

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Contents

List of Figures
1
Why do you leave? Fight for us
31
Figures
54
Word and Image
59
Frontispiece Indistinction ii
79
Reading Western Times
89
The Gujarat Pogrom
93
Gulbarg Society inner courtyards March 11 2002
108
Split City Body
213
Under Ahmedabad bridges
215
Welcome to the Hindu Nation of Karnavati
224
Permanent police post
230
Adolescent street temple
240
Hulladia Hanuman
244
Destroyed Isanpur Dargah 16th century
245
Magical remainders on traffic island
247

Noorani Masjid Naroda Patiya April 5 2002
116
Jay Shri Ram Incorporation through destruction
117
The Lack of Muslim Vulnerability
123
Surgical strikes
129
Vibrant Vegetarian Gujarat
153
Mr Shahkahari
157
Dark consumption
160
Ahimsa Gandhi and the Angry Hindu
185
Violence Gandhi
186
Nonviolence Gandhi
187
Magical remainders on Relief Road
248
Magical remainders in the way of others
250
Heterogeneity and the Nation
257
Postscript
273
Notes
283
List of Abbreviations
303
Glossary
305
References
309
Index
323
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi is assistant professor of anthropology at Rutgers University. He is the editor of Violence: Ethnographic Encounters.