Author: Madhu Kishwar
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195657993
This collection of essays by the prominent activist Madhu Kishwar discusses various issues relating to religion, religious sectarianism and nationalism. One of Kishwar's dominant concerns is the criminalisation of Indian polity.
Written between 1984 and 1996 in response to specific situations of ethnic violence and conflict, most of these essays were published earlier in 'MANUSHI', the well-known journal which Kishwar edits.
One of Kishwar's dominant concerns is the criminalization of Indian polity. Through four essays dealing with the November 1984 Sikh pogrom in Delhi, the explores the reasons for the spread of ethnic violence and the nexus between criminals and people in power. Analyzing the origins and frequency of communal massacres in India, Kishwar investigates the increasing legitimation of these brutal acts.
The essays point to those in positions of power as the main perpetrators of ethnic hostilities. Kishwar argues that the confused concept of democracy—as a synonym for majoritarianism—combined with the idea of a 'national identity' based on religion, language, color or caste has been a prime cause of communal riots. While traditional Indian communities worked out rules of co-existence through a consensual process, the large-scale adoption of Western national ideologies, which do not allow for complex heterogeneities, has given rise to the current communal conflicts.
In this impressive body of work Kishwar re-opens important debates that have been smothered by piety or rhetoric.
Argumentative in tone, hard-hitting and intensely provocative, this collection of polemical essays is characterized by an urgency and passion stemming from Madhu Kishwar's extensive field and archival work. Essential reading for all those concerned about the growing ethnic violence in India.
1. Gangster rule: The Massacre of the Sikhs
2. ‘This is the Guru’s House. . . .’ : A Day in the Longowal Gurudwara
3. Changing the Rules of the Political Game
4. Need to Re-establish Links : Some Discussions with Sikh Communities in
5. In Defence of our Dharma
6. Criminalization of Politics
7. Safety is Indivisible : The Warning from Bombay Riots
8. Ways to Combat Communal Violence : Some Thoughts on International
9. Pro-Women or Anti-Muslim? The Shah Bano Controversy
10. Breaking the Stalemate : Uniform Civil Code versus Personal Law
11. Stimulation Reform, not Forcing it: Uniform versus Optional Civil Code
12. Religion at the Service of Nationalism : An Analysis of Sangh Parivar Politics
13. Kashmir and Kashmiriyat: The Politics of Language, Religion and Region
14. Voices from Kashmir
15. To Sign or not to Sing : The National Anthem Controversy