Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life - Hindus and Muslims in India

Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life - Hindus and Muslims in India

Product ID: 9607

Regular price
Sale price
Regular price
Sold out
Unit price
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Author: Ashutosh Varshney
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 382
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195661168


In the backdrop of the recent spade of ethnic violence in India, this volume is a timely and significant contribution towards investigating there factors that cause Hindu-Muslim riots.

Ashutosh Varshney examines three pairs of Indian cities - one city in each pair with a history of communal violence, the other with a history of relative communal harmony - to discern why violence between Hindus and Muslims occurs in some situations but not in others.

The book focuses on the networks of civic engagement that bring Hindu and Muslim urban communities together. These networks may take the form of associational interaction or they may be everyday forms of engagement. Both forms, if inter communal, promote peace but the capacity of associational forms to withstand events, like the partition of India in 1947 or the demolition of the Babri mosque in December 1992, is substantially higher.

Strong associational forms of civic engagement such as integrated business organizations, trade unions, political parties, and professional associations, are able to control outbreaks of ethnic violence, says Larceny. Vigorous and communally integrated associational life can serve as an agent of peace by restraining those, including politicians, who would polarize Hindus and Muslims along communal lines. Varhney's findings will be of strong interest to scholars, politicians, and policy-makers of South Asia, but the implications of this study will have practical relevance for a broad range of multiethnic societies in other areas of the world as well.


Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life is an outstanding work of social science, one of the most important studies of ethnic violence.
- Samuel Huntington, author of The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

Varshney has taken us a long way in understanding intra-Indian variations in communal violence.
- David Laitin, Stanford University

This is an outstanding book that attempts to grapple with a central problem of Indian politics on the basis of large-scale empirical work. Even those who disagree with Varshney will have to depend either on a reinterpretation of his data or will have to amass equally impressive data to refute him.
- Ashis Nandy Center for the Studies of Developing Societies

South Asian scholars and social scientists will have to read Varshney, they will cite him, and they will learn from him.
- Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, University of Chicago

A landmark synthesis. Varhney's comparison of communal violence and tranquility in urban India is lucid, theoretically self-conscious, original, and empirically convincing.
- James C Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology, Yale University

Varhney Convincingly explains enduring patters of violence and pace in cities, why some cities are more riot-prone than others. The book is richly textured in its methodology and moves at many levels. It is an extraordinary achievement.
- Pratap Bhanu Mehta in Outlook


Preface to the Indian Edition

Why Civil Society? Ethnic Conflict and the Existing Traditions of Inquiry

Competing National Imaginations
Hindu-Muslim Riots, 1950-1995: The National Picture

Aligarh and Calicut: Internal and External Cleavages

Oligarch and Calicut: Civic Life and Its political Foundations
Vicious and Virtuous Circles

Hyderabad and Lucknow: Elite Integration Versus Mass Integration
Princely Resistance to Civil Society
Hindu Nationalists as Bridge Builders

Ahmedabad and Surat: How Civic Institutions Decline
Gandhi and Civil Society
Decline of a Civic Order and Communal Violence
Endogeneity? Of Causes and Consequences

Ethnic Conflict, the State, and Civil Society

Appendix A: Questionnaire for the Project on Hindu-Muslim Relations in India
Appendix B: Data Entry Protocol for the Riot Database
Appendix C: Regression Results: Hindu-Muslim Riots, 195-1995