Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Communal violence in Gujarat: Rethinking the role of communalism and institutionalized injustices in India
by Peer, Yasmeen, M.A., American University, 2007, 275; 1452645
Abstract (Summary)

Five years have passed since Narendra Modi's, Bharatiya Janata Party state government unleashed an ethnic genocide/pogrom against the Muslims in Gujarat. This thesis explores communal violence between Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat, uncovering its history and impact on inter-communal relations, as well as approaches to prevention. The causes of communal violence are assessed by examining conflict theory, communalism, and communal violence in India through testimonies and interviews of victims/survivors of communal violence. The state government's institutionalization of communalism and communalization as a process, as well as their impact on society are analyzed exposing and outlining communalist tactics in an effort to understand its advocates' strategic successes. Resistance to the communalization process is also examined through interviews with members of the anti-communalization movement and a discussion of their respective programs and activities in order to determine the latter's type and level of impact on the occurrence of communal violence. Recommendations on approaches to preventing communal violence include: (1) initiating a process through which justice and reconciliation can be sought by and for victims/survivors and perpetrators, (2) resisting further communalization and polarization of society, (3) implementing mechanisms of early warning and detection of genocide,1 and (4) promoting a culture of social justice, human rights, and equality of all citizens. The lessons learned through the case of Gujarat are important for assessing other conflicts of deeply divided societies by highlighting the integral role of the state, as well as individuals or movements who have vested interests or benefit directly from conflict as units of analysis. Thus, this study calls on scholars of peace and conflict resolution to incorporate a particular lens or paradigm into their methodology by asking: Who is benefiting from this conflict? How can conflicts become less profitable?

1For the purposes of this paper the terms genocide, massacre, pogrom, and carnage will be used interchangeably to refer to the genocide that took place in Gujarat in 2002. In Chapter 3 Theoretical Approaches to Inter-Communal Conflict, the case for how the violence that took place in Gujarat, in 2002, was genocide according to international legal definitions of genocide.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mertus, Julie, Abu-Nimer, Mohammed
School: American University
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 46/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian History, International law, Ethnic studies, South Asian Studies
Publication Number: 1452645
ISBN: 978-0-549-51753-5
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