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Violence in the Making of Indian Democracy

Violence in the Making of Indian Democracy
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  Indian Democracy Origins, T[aj ectories, Contestations Edited byAlf Gunvald Nilsen,Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Anand Vaidya PLUro r[ PREss  First published zorg by Pluto Press 345 Archway Road, London N6 5AA www.plutobooks.com Contents Copyright @ Alf Gunvald Nfüen, Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Anand Vaidya zorgÁ.cknowledgements vll The right ofthe individual cont¡ibutors to be identified âs the authors of this work has been asserted by them in acco¡dance with the Copright, Designs and Patents Act r988. I ntroduction. Tiaj ectories and Crossroads : I ndianDemocracy at 7o Álf Gunztald Nilsen, Kennetlt Bo Nielsen øndAnand Vaidya r. Democratic Origins I: India's Constitution and the Missing Revolution Søndipto Dasgupta 2. Democratic Origins II:The Minority Qrestion in South Asia Å.nupøma Røo 3. Democratic Origins III: Violence andlin the Making of Indian Democracy Sunil Purushotharn 4. Democratic Origins IV: Comment z{jøy Skaria 5. The State andlof the Media in Modi's India S i d d b ar th [/ara d araj an 6. Writing Counter-insurgency, Conflict and Democracy Nandini Sundar and Dolþ Kikon I British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British LibraryISBNISBNISBNISBNISBN 978 o 74y 38y 4 978 o 74y 3892 7 978 t 7868 oq3 4978 r 7868 o44 r 978 t 7868 o4z 7 Hardback Paperback PDF eBookKindle eBookEPUB eBook r.3 z6 39 5r 58 This book is printed on paper suit¿ble for recycling and made from ñrlly managed and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the envi¡onmental standa¡ds ofthe country ofsrcin. Typeset by Stanford DTP Services, Northampton, England v Simultaneously printed in the United Kingdom and United States of America  Iripr¿N Dnuocnecv 7. Democratic Trajectories I: Congressism, Anti-Congressism, and Composing the'People-as-a-Whole' Subir Sinha 8. Democratic Trajectories II: Merit and Caste in Contemporary IndiaAjantlta Subramønian g. Democratic Trajectories III: Ritual Inclusivity in TurbulentTimes Køthinþ.a Frøystad ro. Democratic Trajectories IV: Comment Manali Desøi i r. India's Democracy: Contest for the Nation's CoreKaøitø Krishnan rz. Feminism and the Politics of Gender Rakø Ray and Srila Roy Conclusion. Indian Democrary and Its Prospects: zotg and Beyond Alf Gunvald Nilsen, Kenneth Bo Nielsen andÁnønd Vaidyø z{bout tÌ¡e Editors Notes on Contributors Notes Index  '1 Acknowledgements This book is based on an international symposium held in Oslo, Norway, in October zar7. The symposium was tided'Democracy and Its Trajectories: India at To' and broughttogether a group ofleading scholars, activists and public intel- lectuals in a critical dialogue on the srcins, trajectories and contestations of India's democracy. We would like to thank the Norwegian Research Council, the University of Bergen,and the University of Agder for their generous support for the event, and Sentralen in downtown Oslo for hosting us.Thanks also to Pamela Price and Guro W. Samuelsen for chairing and moderating the discussion, and to the participânts for incisivecomments, questions and critique. It has been a pleasure working with Pluto Press to finalise this book. We thank David Shulman for his interest in this rather unconventional project, and the anon)¡rnous reviewers for their input and suggestions on how to organise the conver- sations. Thanks also to Mishta Roy for the fitting conferenceposter design based on Javed Iqbal's photo; to Pixel and Kon- sertsystemer for the AV recordings of the symposium; and to Mirko Rastic, Bojan Kanizaj and MarioJankovic for designingand developing the symposium's webpage. The interventions, perspectives and conversations presented in this book are edited versions of the presentations made atthe international symposium mentioned above. Of course, such textualised versions of the spoken word never do justice to the real thing, nor do they capture the spirit of the lively conversa- vll 87 102 rr4 f27r33 I5I f70 r78r8o t8z r87  Iupr¡N DBvrocnecy tions that as a nrle ensue. To preserve and convey this spirit wehave made high-resolution video recordings of the presenta- tions available at this beautifirliy designed webpage: indiaTodemocracy.net In addition to containing raw and unpolished versions of the contents of this book, the video recordings also contain the firll and unedited q&A sessions that followed in the wake of each set of presentations.These sessions substantially added to the presentations and we hope that readers will take a few minutes(or hours) to check out the site. vlu Introduction Trajectories and Crossroads: Indian Democracy at To Álf Gun,uald Nílsen, Kenneth Bo Nieken andAnand Vøidya 'Long years ago we made a tryst with destin¡ and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge,'JawahadalNehru, India's first Prime Minister, declared in his speech to the country's Constituent Assembly as the midnight hour approached on 14 August rg47.The following day,India was to enter the ranks of sovereign nations, having been subordi-nated to British rule since 1858. Nehru went on to outline a grand vision for the country, now free ofthe colonial yoke: Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and oppornrnity to the common man, to the peasants and workers oflndia; to fight and end poverty andignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political instiflrtions which will ensure justice and flrllness of life to every man and woman.' Needless to say, in Nehru's eyes the stakes were tremendously high: 'We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for anyone of us till we redeem our pledge in firll, tillwe make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be.' I  INot¡N Dsl{ocnecy timisation unleashed by a vicious circle of spectacular violenceand consequent stigmatisation, aided by pliant state forcesl Do these shared strategies for survival and sustenance constitute a politics of livelihood? Does building solidarity require acknowledging the different ways in which each community has addressed and organised (historical) difference? Is the universalism of labour, or the ethicisation of difference (caste, religion) the most relevant frame to work through here? One could argue that the identities of Dalit and Muslim are in flux again, and that each is being politicised in response ro the sanctioned violence of caste Hinduism. Where the rule of law tilts towards dominant groups - and thus becomes akin to absolutism -political expression goes underground,and a society of rumour becomes the black mirror of a society of spectacle. And where a national context tilts towards absolutism, inter- nationalising the problem wili surely become more important. 3 Democratic Origins III: Violence andlin the Makitg of Indian Demo cracy Sunil Purushothøm Much of the commentary marking the seventieth year since r g47 has focused not on the achievement of freedom or national liberation, but on the violence of Partition. Conventional narratives have associated Indian democracy with non-violence, in terms of both Gandhi's leadership of the freedom struggle, rtnd with the unexpected durability and success of parliamen- tary democracy after ry47.Yet rather than completely displace these conventional narratives, this association of ry47 with violence raises questions about the historical role played by violence in the transformation of the Raj into the Republic.In this chapter, I suggest that violence was foundational to certaintrajectories of Indian democracy. As fruitful as it has been to approach Partition as an ongoing l)rocess and unresolved trauma, we have much to gain by rupproaching it as a discrete event, out of which key trajecto- ries of Indian democracy developed. An event is not just one specific moment in time and space. Rather, it has its owninternal rh¡hm: a set pattern is disrupted, a period of dislo-cation and insecurity follows, and ultimately a new pattern is cstablished. An event results in durable structural transforma- 3839
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