Author: Ram Puniyani
Publisher: Sage Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0761996672
Communal politics and violence have been the bane of Indian society right since 1947. These disturbing trends have become more pronounced in the recent past with the result that social and political discourse is now firmly in the grip of communal fervour to the exclusion of all else.
This lucid and absorbing book explores many facets of communalism and its growing threat to the social fabric of the nation. Ram Puniyani argues that one of the main reasons for the ascendancy of communal politics is the misconceptions and distortions spread by those bent upon constructing an identity based on suspicion and hatred. These misconceptions (or myths as the author calls them) are drawn from different arenas such as history and culture and are built upon a partial projection of events and facts combined with a skewed assertion of the norms and practices of the other community. A mountain of hatred, says the author, is then built upon these totally selective facts which misinform and mould common perceptions.
This book unravels the truth behind some of the more dominant misconceptions including:
The projection of ancient India as a golden period
The tragedy of partition and who was behind it
The Kashmir imbroglio
The appeasement of minorities
The dispute over the Babri Masjid
The debate over secularism
The nature of Islam
Overall, this fascinating book dispels, in a novel and logical manner, many distortions which have created an external or enemy image of religious minorities and the socially disadvantaged. It will attract a wide readership among students and scholars of history, politics and sociology while being of equal interest to social activists, journalists and the average citizen concerned about contemporary India.
List of Tables and Boxes
Ancient India: Was it a Golden Period?
Medieval India: Dark Era or Foundations of Syncretism?
Gandhi and Godse: Nationalism, Hindutva and the Freedom Struggle
The Partition: Who was Responsible?
The Kashmir Imbroglio: How Green is the Valley?
The Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi Dispute:
Abode of Ram or House of Allah?
Minorities in Secular India:
Appeasement or Maltreatment?
Crime and (No) Punishment: Communal Violence, Inquiry Commissions and Deliverance of Justice
Spreading the Word: Conversions and anti-Christian Violence
Ram Rajya: Religious Nationalism or Secular Democracy
Hindutva: Fanatical Faith or Political Tool?
Unmaking the State: Rewriting the Constitution
God Willing: Genesis of Terrorism, Motives of War and Islam
The Gujarat Experiment: Programmed for Pogrom
About the Author