Politics and Spectatorship 1: Viewing Love, Religion and Violence



For me, the recent communal violence in India — specifically the organised, large-scale genocide of Muslims by Hindus belonging to or protected by the Indian state apparatus — is a subject that cannot easily be encompassed by words on a page. Yet in a book about the discursive universes of contemporary Hindi film viewers, it is necessary to reiterate the connections between right-wing discourses on gender, sexuality and religious intolerance in India that inflect both on- and off-screen beliefs and behaviours. The exhortation to Hindu men, in much right-wing Hindu literature circulated by the World Hindu Organisation (VHP) and the RSS, to purge India of Muslims (and now Christians)1 has been shown to be inextricably bound up with Hindutva appeals to Hindus to ‘recover’ their ‘masculinity’ and to ‘punish’ Muslims via sexual humiliation and torture (see, amongst others Butalia 1995; Sarkar 2001 and 2002; Banerjee 2002; Mangalik 2002). Writers such as Purshottam Agarwal, Vasant Kannabiran and Kalpana Kannabiran urge a consideration of such fascist rhetoric side by side with each community’s location of women, and ‘femininity’, as the site of a community’s honour.


Muslim Woman Love Story Young Audience Ethnic Violence Hindu Woman 
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© Shakuntala Banaji 2006

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