- The political theology of violence in contemporary India
- South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal
- Sp. Iss. 2
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
What are we to make of the fact that most violence in India rarely has any visible or clear actors? Why is most violence represented as 'pure events' without identifiable actors - but as 'mobs', as spontaneous combustion, as spontaneous rage that arises from perceived collective grievances and insults? Why in a country saturated in political rhetoric is it that acts of violence have acquired their own semiotic register, a singular form of 'political communication'? Fire and incidents of arson are at the heart of this naturalization of violence, as events without actors. Fire is not only one of the densest cultural signifiers in India, it also is at the heart of the transgressions, the exceptions, the taboos, the sacrifices, the agency, the sense of communitas that unfold in times of heightened conflict and violent clashes with the state or other communities. Drawing on examples from Mumbai and elsewhere, the paper attempts to theorize and elaborate the nexus between fire, violence and collective sentiments.
- on-line academic journal of South Asian studies edited in Paris
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