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Violence / Non-Violence: Some Hindu Perspectives

Denis Vidal (Editor) Gilles Tarabout (Editor) Eric Meyer (Editor)
Synopsis How do we understand those ascetics who have developed an extremely elaborate martial tradition and yet have taken strict vows of non-violence, especially when, for some ascetics today, that tradition has been put at the service of the most extreme forms of Hindu militancy? And how is that tough union leaders can, with conviction, share the same ideas as Gandhi, or that Brahmins scarcely hesitate before using the stick, even though they loudly and insistently advertise their faith in non-violence? These ways of acting may in fact allow us to reconsider the understanding of the concepts of violence and non-violence in Hinduism, for there are many aspects of Indian society and culture which effectively contradict ideas, often taken for granted since Gandhi, about the role of violence in it. In reality, how the concepts of ‘violence’ and ‘non-violence’ are defined in different aspects of the Hindu tradition cannot be understood if they are dissociated from each other. Rather, as the articles in this volume show, violence very frequently legitimates itself in the name of non-violence as well.
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About the authors

Denis Vidal

Denis Vidal, Ph.D. in Social Anthropology, is currently working and teaching about the visual anthropology of south Asia. He is the author of Violence and Truth; a Rajasthani Kingdom Confronts Colonial Authority, Delhi; Oxford University Press, 1997 and he has co-edited two other volumes in India: in collaboration with Philippe Cadene: Webs of trade; Dynamics of Business Communities in Western India, Delhi: Manohar, 1997; in collaboration with E. Tarlo and V. Dupont: Delhi; Urban Space and Human Destinies, Delhi; Manohar, 2000. He is a research fellow at the Institute for Research in Development (IRD) and a member of the Centre for Indian and South Asian Studies.

Gilles Tarabout

Gilles Tarabout, Ph.D. in social anthropology, has specialized in the study of Kerala’s society and popular religious practices. Apart from his own publications in the field, he has co-edited volumes bearing on various themes; Islam and Christianity in India, Religious Possession in South Asia, Conceptions of the Body in Hinduism. Currently senior fellow (CNRS) at the Centre for Indian and South Asian Studies, Paris, he is also in charge of the Indo-French Cooperation Programme in Social Sciences at the ‘Maison des Sciences de I’Homme’ (Paris).

Eric Meyer

Eric Meyer, historian, is focusing on the interaction between colonial capitalism and rural society in south Asia with particular reference to peasants, planters and the Sate in modern Sri Lanka. Recent developments in Sri Lanka led him to analyse the historical background of the present crisis and its socio cultural implications. He has recently published: Sri Lanka. Entre particularismes et mondialisation, Paris, La Documentation Francaise, 2001. He is Professor of History at the French Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations (INALCO) and a member of the Centre for Indian and south Asian Studies.

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Bibliographic information

Title Violence / Non-Violence: Some Hindu Perspectives
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2003
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173044716
length 328p., Index; 23cm.
Subjects History