Advertisement

Dealing with the Intimate Enemy: Civil Society and Ethno-Religious Conflict in Contemporary India

  • Sarbeswar Sahoo
Chapter

Abstract

Civil society, once boasting its democratic contribution, is now undermining the secular-democratic culture of India. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this chapter examines the role of Rajasthan Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad (RVKP), a Hindu nationalist organization, among the Bhil tribes of Rajasthan. The chapter argues that the RVKP has implemented several developmental projects as a medium to gain people’s trust. By claiming to represent tribal interests, the RVKP has established itself as a “counterforce” against local Muslims and Christians and projected them as the “threatening others”. In this regard, it has received economic and politico-legal support from the state of Rajasthan, which is governed by the Hindu nationalists. The chapter concludes that the exclusivist politics of the RVKP and the Hindu nationalist state in Rajasthan have not only created a insecurity amongst the religious minorities; they have also radically polarized the public life and threatened the secular-democratic ethos of Indian society.

Keywords

Hindu nationalism Religious violence Threatening others Civil society Politics of development India 

References

Bibliography

  1. Anonymous. 2002. Investigation: A Communal Cult. Islamic Voice, January, 15-01 (181). Accessed 18 October 2006. http://www.islamicvoice.com/january.2002/investigation.htm
  2. ———. 2007. Christian Preacher Attacked in Jaipur. The Hindu, 30 April. Accessed 20 April 2017. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/Christian-preacher-attacked-in-Jaipur/article14756890.ece
  3. ———. 2008. Religious Freedom Bill Passed in Rajasthan. The Hindu, 21 March. Accessed 20 April 2017. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/Religious-Freedom-Bill-passed-in-Rajasthan/article15188629.ece
  4. Bates, C. 2007. Subalterns and Raj: South Asia since 1600. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Berman, S. 1997. Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic. World Politics 49 (3): 401–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beteille, A. 1999. Citizenship, State and Civil Society. Economic and Political Weekly 34 (36): 2588–2591.Google Scholar
  7. Bhandari, L, and M. Chakraborty. 2015. Some Elements of  Spatial Poverty in Rajasthan. Live Mint, 9 February. Accessed 24 November 2016. http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/NnbnMlJYLlPoehSEpepbFL/Some-elements-ofspatial-poverty-in-Rajasthan.html
  8. Bordia, D. 2015. The Ethics of Des Seva: Hindu Nationalism, Tribal Leadership and Modes of Sociality in Rajasthan. Contributions to Indian Sociology 49 (1): 52–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chandhoke, N. 1995. State and Civil Society: Explorations in Political Theory. Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 2001. The ‘Civil’ and the ‘Political’ in Civil Society. Democratization 8 (2): 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chaturvedi, R. 2011. ‘Somehow it Happened’: Violence, Culpability, and the Hindu Nationalist Community. Cultural Anthropology 26 (3): 340–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coleman, J. 2008. Authoring (in)Authenticity, Regulating Religious Tolerance: The Implications of Anti-Conversion Legislation for Indian Secularism. Cultural Dynamics 20 (3): 245–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deo, N. 2007. Structure and Strategies: Two Faces of Civic Activism in India. Journal of Civil Society 3 (2): 137–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diamond, L. 1999. Developing Democracy: Towards Consolidation. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Freedom House. 2015. Freedom in the World. New York: Freedom House Publications.Google Scholar
  16. Ghassem-Fachandi, P. 2012. Pogrom in Gujarat: Hindu Nationalism and Anti-Muslim Violence in India. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Gupta, D. 2000. Culture, Space and the Nation-State. New Delhi: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  18. Hansen, T.B. 1999. The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hardiman, D. 2006. Healing Bodies, Saving Souls: Medical Missions in Asia and Africa. Amsterdam: Rodopi.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harriss, J. 2002. Depoliticising Development: The World Bank and Social Capital. London: Anthem Press.Google Scholar
  21. Jaffrelot, C. 1996. The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s. London: Hurst & Company.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 2011. India: The Politics of (Re)Conversion to Hinduism of Christian Aboriginals. In Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion: Volume 2, ed. P. Michel and E. Pace, 197–215. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  23. Jayal, N.G. 2001. India. In Governance and Civil Society in a Global Age, ed. Y. Tadashi and K.G. Ashizawa, 116–153. Tokyo: Japan Centre for International Exchange.Google Scholar
  24. ———. 2007. The Role of Civil Society. In The State of India’s Democracy, ed. S. Ganguly, 143–160. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kanungo, P. 2010. Hindutva’s Discourse on Development. In Religion, Community and Development, ed. G. Mahajan and S.S. Jodhka, 83–101. Delhi: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Kaur, R. 2005. Mythology of Communal Violence: An Introduction. In Religion, Violence and Political Mobilization in South Asia, ed. R. Kaur, 19–45. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  27. Kaviraj, S. 2001. In Search of Civil Society. In Civil Society: History and Possibilities, ed. S. Kaviraj and S. Khilnani, 287–323. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Krygier, M. 1996. The Sources of Civil Society. Second Richard Krygier Memorial Lecture, Melbourne, 29 August. Accessed 20 April 2017. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/the-sources-of-civil-society/3563756#transcript
  29. Lodha, S. 2004. Rajasthan: India Shines as BJP Trounces Congress. Economic and Political Weekly. December 18: 5456–5462.Google Scholar
  30. Mallampalli, C. 2004. Christians and Public Life in Colonial South India, 1863–1937: Contending with Marginality. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. McCauley, C., and S. Moskalenko. 2008. Mechanisms of Political Radicalization: Pathways toward Terrorism. Terrorism and Political Violence 20 (3): 415–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Menon, K.D. 2003. Converted Innocents and their Trickster Heroes: The Politics of Proselytizing in India. In The Anthropology of Religious Conversion, ed. A. Buckser and S.D. Glazier, 43–53. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publisher.Google Scholar
  33. Mudgal, V. 2004. Losing a Winning Hand. Seminar, No. 534. Accessed 20 April 2017. http://www.india-seminar.com/2004/534/534%20vipul%20mudgal.htm
  34. Neumann, P., and S. Kleinmann. 2013. How Rigorous is Radicalization Research? Democracy and Security 9 (4): 360–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Putnam, R., R. Leonardi, and R.Y. Nanetti. 1993. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  36. RSS Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh. 2008. 30 January. Accessed 20 April 2017. http://orkut.google.com/c2623078-t79cf390aecbe35ef.html
  37. RVKP. 1994. Bappa Rawal. Udaipur: RVKP Publications.Google Scholar
  38. ———. 2006. RVKP Booklet. Udaipur: RVKP Publications.Google Scholar
  39. ———. 2011. Bappa Rawal. Udaipur: RVKP Publications.Google Scholar
  40. Sahoo, S. 2013a. Civil Society and Democratization in India: Institutions, Ideologies and Interests. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. ———. 2013b. Doing Development or Creating Dependency? NGOs and Civil Society in India. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 36 (2): 258–272.Google Scholar
  42. ———. 2014. Civil Society and Democratization: A Counter-Case from India. Democratization 21 (3): 480–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. ———. 2016. Religious Violence and the ‘Developmental State’ in Rajasthan. In Perspectives on Violence and Othering in India, ed. R.C. Tripathi and P. Singh, 175–194. New Delhi: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sheth, D.L. 1995. Democracy and Globalization in India: Post-Cold War Discourse. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 540: 24–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Singh, D.K. 2004. Rajasthan: Draws Adivasis into the Hindu Fold. Communalism Combat, 11 (102).Google Scholar
  46. Sridhar, V. 1999. A Numbers Game. Frontline, 16 (25).Google Scholar
  47. Thachil, T. 2011. Embedded Mobilization: Nonstate Service Provision as Electoral Strategy in India. World Politics 63 (3): 434–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Valini, A.A. 2010. Physical Training, Ethical Discipline, and Creative Violence. Cultural Anthropology 25 (1): 73–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vandevelde, I. 2011. Reconversion to Hinduism: A Hindu Nationalist Reaction against Conversion to Christianity and Islam. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 34 (1): 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Weisgrau, M. 2013. Rajasthan: Anthropological Perspectives on Tribal Identity. In The Modern Anthropology of India, ed. P. Berger and F. Heidemann, 242–259. London, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. Wilkinson, S.I. 2007. Introduction. In Religious Politics and Communal Violence, ed. S.I. Wilkinson. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Wolf, R., and F. Heidemann. 2014. Indigeneity, Performance, and the State in South Asia and Beyond. Asian Ethnology 73 (1–2): 1–18.Google Scholar

Interviews

  1. Interview 1. RVKP activist in Kotra, 20 September 2006.Google Scholar
  2. Interview 2. Teacher at the Modern School in Kotra, 23 September 2006.Google Scholar
  3. Interview 3. RVKP activist in Kolyari, 25 October 2006.Google Scholar
  4. Interview 4. Pastor in Jhadol, 26 November 2006.Google Scholar
  5. Interview 5. Journalist in Kotra Interview, 29 January 2007.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarbeswar Sahoo
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Technology DelhiNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations