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Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India

Ashutosh Varshney (Author)
Synopsis In the backdrop of the recent spate of ethnic violence in India, this volume is a timely and significant contribution towards investigating the factors that cause Hindu-Muslim riots. Ashutosh Varshney examines three pairs of Indian cities—one city in each pair with a history of communal violence, the other with a history of relative communal harmony—to discern why violence between Hindus and Muslims occurs in some situations but not in others. The book focuses on the networks of civic engagement that bring Hindu and Muslim urban communities together. These networks may take the form of associational interaction or they may be everyday forms of engagement. Both forms, if intercommunal, promote peace but the capacity of associational forms to withstand events, like the partition of India in 1947 or the demolition of the Babri mosque in December 1992, is substantially higher. Strong associational forms of civic engagement such as integrated business, organizations, trade unions, political parties, and professional associations, are able to control outbreaks of ethnic violence, says Varshney. Vigorous and communally integrated associational life can serve as an agent of peace by restraining those, including politicians, who would polarize Hindus and Muslims along communal lines. Varshney’s findings will be of strong interest to scholars, politicians, and policy-makers of South Asia, but the implications of his study will have practical relevance for a broad range of multiethnic societies in other areas of the world as well.
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About the author

Ashutosh Varshney

Ashutosh Varshney is Professor of Political Science, and was until recently, Director, Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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Bibliographic information

Title Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195672429
length ii+xxvi+382p., Tables; Figures; Appendices; Notes; Index; 22cm.