~ the production of hindu-muslim violence in contemporary india

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~In memory of my teacher,
ever a source of inspiration, ever a friend
YMCA Library Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi 110 001
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Published in India By Oxford University Press, New Delhi
© 2003 The University of Washington Press Published by arrangement with the University of Washington Press
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ISBN 0 19 566488 4
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Printed by Pauls Press, New Delhi 110 020 and published by Manzar Khan, Oxford University Press YMCA Library Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi 110 001
Abbreviations Used in This Book ix
Maps, Figures, and Tables xi
Preface and Acknowledgments xv
1 / Explaining Communal Violence 5
2, / Aligarh: Politics, Population, and Social Organization 43
3 / Hindu-Muslim Violence in India and Aligarh 60
4 / The Great Aligarh Riots of December 1990 and January 1991 116
5 / The Control of Communal Conflict in Aligarh 132
6 / The Geography and Demography of Riots 149
7 / The Economics of Riots: Economic Competition and Victimization 199
8 / Riots and Elections 219
9 / The Practice of Communal Politics 240
10 / Communalization and Polarization: Selected Constituency-Wise Results for Aligarh Elections 262
11 / Communal Solidarity and Division at the Local Level 286
12 / The Decline of Communal Violence and the Transformation of Electoral Competition 296
13 / Riot Interpretation, Blame Displacement, and the Communal Discourse 305
14 / Police Views of Hindu-Muslim Violence 328
15 / The Role of the Media 344
16 / The Persistence of Hindu-Muslim Violence: The Dynamics of Riot Production 355
Postscript: Aligarh and Gujarat 385
Appendices 393
Notes 413
Index 463
Index of Mohallas 475
ADM additional district magistrate
AMU Aligarh Muslim University
AMUSU Aligarh Muslim University Students Union
BJP Bharatiya Janata Party
BJS Bharatiya Jan Sangh
BKD Bharatiya Kranti Dal
BLD Bharatiya Lok Dal
BSF Border Security Force
BSP Bahujan Samaj Party
CPI Communist Party of India
CRPF Central Reserve Police Force
DM district magistrate
DSP deputy superintendent of police
FIR First Information Report
INC Indian National Congress
ISI Inter Services Intelligence
LA Legislative Assembly
LS Lok Sabha (Indian Parliament)
MLA Member, Legislative Assembly
MP Member of Parliament
~x / Abbreviations Used in This Book
PAC Provincial Armed Constabulary
PUCL People’s Union for Civil Liberties
RPI Republican Party of India
RSS Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
SO station officer
SP Samajwadi Party
SSP senior superintendent of police
SUA standard urban area
U.P. Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces before Independence)
VHP Vishwa Hindu Parishad
India 4
map 1. Aligarh City 151
map 2. UparKot 154
map 3. Location and population composition of mohalla officially designated as communally sensitive, riot-hit, and/or crime-prone 164
map 4. Riot sites, 1990-91 174
fig.2.1. Achal Talab, 1999 52
fig. 3.1. Number of deaths in Hindu-Muslim riots in Aligarh by five-year periods, 1946-95 68
fig. 3.2. Shiv temple at akhara site 91
fig. 3.3. Wrestlers 92
fig. 3.4. Wrestling pit 93
fig. 3.5. Police picket at Phul Chauraha 114
fig. 5.1. Mufti shahar, Aligarh, Upar Kot, December 1984 140

fig. 6.1. Posh new house in the Civil Lines area, March 1999 153
fig. 6.2. Mosque, Upar Kot 155
fig. 6.3. Mosque, Aligarh Muslim University campus, 1962 156
fig. 6.4. Number of deaths and number of sites of riotous activity in Aligarh riots in which there were five or more deaths 161
fig. 6.5. Phul Chauraha 165
fig. 6.6. Lock manufacturing, Sarai Sultani, Aligarh, 1999 187
fig. 6.7. Victim of bomb blast in 1990 riots 195
fig. 6.8. Riot damage, Sarai Sultani, 1999 196
~fig. 7.1. Muslim medical clinic in Sarai Hakim 202
fig. 8.1. Number of deaths in riots by political period 224
fig. 8.2. Vote shares for Congress and militant Hindu parties, Legislative Assembly elections, 1952-96 226
fig. 8.3. Valid votes turnout in Aligarh City Legislative Assembly elections, 1952-96 228
fig. 8.4. Percent interval between winning and runner-up candidates, Aligarh City Legislative Assembly elections, 1952—96 230
fig. 8.5. Correlations for Congress and militant Hindu candidate vote shares with percentage of Hindus and others, 1957-91 238
fig. 8.6. Correlations for militant Hindu party vote shares with percentage of religious/caste groups, 1957-91 238
fig. 8.7. Correlations for Congress vote shares with percentage of religious/caste groups, 1957-91 239
fig. 9.1. Krishna Kumar Navman, November 1997 244
fig. 10.1. Vote shares for two leading parties, 1989 Legislative Assembly election 277
fig. 10.2. Vote shares for two leading parties, 1991 Legislative Assembly election 281
fig. 11.1. Militant Hindu vote share in Aligarh Legislative Assembly constituency and Manik Chauk mohalla, 1957-91 288
fig. 11.2. Congress vote in Aligarh Legislative Assembly constituency and Manik Chauk mohalla, 1957-91 289
fig. 11.3. Vote shares for all militant Hindu candidates and for the Congress, Manik Chauk mohalla, 1957-91 290
fig. 11.4. Militant Hindu party vote shares in Aligarh constituency and Manik Chauk and Sarai Sultani mohallas, 1980-91 293
fig. 11.5. Congress vote shares in Aligarh constituency and Manik Chauk and Sarai Sultani mohallas, 1980-91 293
fig. 11.6. Party vote shares in Sarai Sultani mohalla, 1980-91 294
fig. 14.1. PAC encampment, Aligarh, 1999 332
table 2.1. Population (in percentages) of Aligarh City by religion and caste, 1951-91 47
table 2.2. Mohallas in which particular castes/baradaris/sects are predominant 54
table 2.3. Caste/community of members of the Aligarh municipal corporation, 1995 57
table 2.4. Caste/community of members (in percentages) of the Aligarh municipal corporation, 1995 58
table 2.5. Political identification of members of the Aligarh municipal corporation by caste/community, 1995 58
table 3.1. Riots and riot deaths in Aligarh City, 1925-95 63
table 6.1. Population of Aligarh City wards, 1951 158
table 6.2. Correspondence between 1951 and 1995 wards and the distribution of corporators by new ward number 159
table 6.3. Major Aligarh mohallas not included in the 1951 census 175
table 8.1. Winning party or independent candidate, Aligarh City Legislative Assembly, Lok Sabha, and mayoral elections, 1951-98 222
table 8.2. Winning party in 14 Legislative Assembly contests, Aligarh constituency, 1952-96 225
table 8.3. Comparison of turnout rates in Aligarh and Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections, 1952-96 227
table 8.4. Riots and elections 232
table 8.5. Correlations between votes for militant Hindu candidates and local population composition across Aligarh mohalla in selected elections, 1957-91 236
table 8.6. Correlations between votes for Congress and local popula­tion composition across Aligarh mohallas in selected elections, 1957-91 236
table 10.1. Election results for Aligarh City Legislative Assembly constituency, 1962 263
table 10.2. Vote shares for party candidates in their top and bottom five polling stations, 1962 Legislative Assembly elections, and demographic data for the mohallas included in them, according to the 1951 census 265
table 10.3. Election results for Aligarh City segment of Aligarh LokSabha constituency, 1962 268

table 10.4. Correlation coefficients of party vote shares with percent population Muslim, Hindus and others, and Scheduled Castes, 1962 Legislative Assembly (LA) and Lok Sabha (LS) elections 271
~table 10.5. Election results for Aligarh City Legislative Assembly constituency, 1989 274
table 10.6. Vote shares for party candidates in their top and bottom five polling stations, 1989 Legislative Assembly elections, and demographic data for the mohallas included in them, according to the 1951 census 275

table 10.7. Correlation coefficients of party vote shares with percent population Muslim, Hindus and others, and Scheduled Castes, 1989 Legislative Assembly elections 278
table 10.8. Election results for Aligarh Legislative Assembly constituency, 1991 280
table 10.9. Vote shares for party candidates in their top and bottom polling stations, 1991 elections, and demographic data for the mohallas included in them, according to the 1951 census or 1995 voters’ lists 282
table 10.10. Election results for Aligarh City Legislative Assembly constituency, 1993 284
table 12.1. Election results for Aligarh City Legislative Assembly constituency, 1996 299
table A.1. Demographic data from 1951 census, by Muslim popula­tion percentage, for sensitive, riot-hit, and crime-prone mohallas 395
table a.2. Mohallas and other sites identified as riot-hit in major Aligarh riots, 1956-95 397
table a.3. Vote shares for party candidates in their top and bottom polling stations, 1957 Legislative Assembly elections, and demographic data for the mohallas included in them according to the 1951 census 402
ta ble a.4. The twentieth-century decline in Muslim representation in the U.P. police 402
table c.1. Community and caste composition of three mohallas, 1951 census 408
table c.2. Number and percentage of registered voters by community in Ward 26,1995 410
table c.3. Party vote shares in Ward 26,1995 corporation elections 410
This book follows upon my last two books on collective violence, Riots and Pogroms and Theft of an Idol, published in 1996 and 1997, respectively. Although temporally earlier than this book, many of the ideas contained in them were developed first in my work on riots in Aligarh. It was here, dur­ing my field work in 1983, that I first developed the notion of the “institu­tionalized riot system” as a central factor in the production of Hindu-Muslim violence.
I had originally intended to include my work on Hindu-Muslim riots in Aligarh in Theft of an Idol, but concluded that the material was too extensive to go alongside the other case studies in that volume. My next thought was to produce a book focusing specifically on Hindu-Muslim violence based on my research in several districts of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), including especially Meerut and Kanpur, on which I have collected very considerable materials over the years, as in Aligarh. However, after looking over my interview data in Aligarh over thirty-eight years and digging into boxes of documentary mate­rial and election data that I had collected in the same period, I decided finally on a book in which the city of Aligarh, standing in for so many other cities and towns in India, would form the center. That decision has allowed me to do something that I believe is unprecedented in studies of collective violence, namely, to carry out a diachronic study at a single site, keeping my analysis sharply focused—so I hope the reader will agree—on the same set of ques­tions and problems throughout. Although studies have been done of riot-prone cities (such as, for example, Detroit) that analyze each riot in succession, those I have looked at treat each riot as something new and different from its predecessor. Here, on the contrary, 1 have discovered continuity, exten­sion, and development of what I intuitively felt in 1983 was an institutional­ized system of riot production. I now feel that I have established my case in
~this book and that the findings herein can be generalized to other parts of India and to other times and places in the world.
I first visited Aligarh in the winter of 1961-62 to carry out field research for my Ph.D. dissertation on the Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh. That was a different time in many respects. Aligarh then was a relatively small town with a population around 185,000, now over half a million. The Congress was the dominant party in the district. Many of the prominent politicians I inter­viewed then are now gone. Although party politics then was not lacking in volatility, bitter conflict, and some violence, it appears relatively genteel in retrospect compared to the atmosphere of recent years. During the past twenty years, a new generation of militant Hindu politicians has risen to prominence; I have met most of the leading persons among them. I have also maintained and extended my contact with politicians from all other political parties and organizations in Aligarh, Hindu and Muslim alike, and with members of the faculty of the Aligarh Muslim University. In most of my visits to Aligarh, I have always also interviewed key members of the civilian administration and police, and many subordinate civilian and police officials as well.
Aligarh was very different in 1961-62 in many other respects as well. It was a relatively much quieter and more peaceful place in general, not only with respect to incidents of violence. Persons of prominence from the pre-Independence era were still present in those days, including not only most senior Congressmen, but men like the Nawab of Chhatari, former leader of the National Agriculturalist Party and later a member of the Muslim League, and A. M. Khwaja, a leading so-called nationalist Muslim, and others of sim­ilar aristocratic or landlord backgrounds. Upper-caste and upper-class per­sons dominated in all spheres of life, something that has changed considerably since then with the rise to self-assertion of the middle and lower castes in politics. Most of the senior politicians spoke good English then, fewer do so now. One could breathe the air everywhere in the absence of the internal com­bustion engine, which now pollutes the atmosphere even in this place far from any major industrial conurbation.
The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in the Civil Lines area of the city, like the whole area around it, was then a kind of oasis, a quiet, appealing, and peaceful place, though the AMU simmered internally with conflicts between so-called conservative/communal and progressive/Communist faculty. The AMU now has the appearance more of a fortification, surrounded with high walls in an effort to keep out rowdy, criminal, and other unfriendly elements from the campus. It is at the same time a place of internal turmoil, where confrontation and violence between groups of students, students and faculty,
~faculty against each other, and students and faculty against the vice-chancellor have occurred repeatedly over the years.
I had selected Aligarh as one of five districts for my research in 1961-62 specifically for the purpose of analyzing how the Congress functioned in an environment of Hindu-Muslim tension. As if to demonstrate the validity of my selection of this district for that purpose, my visit, between December 25 and January 20, occurred between the riots of October 1961 and the General Elections of 1962, held in February. I returned to Aligarh again in September 1962 to continue the research on that district in the aftermath of the elections that were influenced decisively in the city by the riots that had occurred the previous October. I did not visit Aligarh again for seventeen years. Since then, I have visited the city and the district numerous times, for short trips during elections when I toured U.P. in connection with several election studies projects, for an extended research period in August 1983, and since then on several occasions when I have returned to India for research, conferences, and workshops. On more than a few occasions in those years, I arrived to find that another riot had recently occurred, or, as in 1990—91, I arrived just as the great riots of December 1991—January 1992 were coming to an end.
My experiences in this latter respect were mirrored in others of the dis­tricts that I have visited repeatedly during the past thirty-eight years. So, dur­ing these later years, I increasingly built in to my research visits to north India more focused and increasingly systematic questions, interviews, and data on the reasons for the recrudescence of Hindu-Muslim violence. I continued this practice during the writing of this manuscript in my most recent visits to Aligarh in November 1997 and March-April 1999.
I have presented earlier versions of aspects of my research on Hindu-Muslim violence in Al’igarh at many universities, conferences, and workshops between 1987 and 2000, far too many to note here. It is more important that 1 note and acknowledge with appreciation colleagues and others who have assisted me in the final preparation of this rather complex manuscript. At the top of the list are two persons who read the entire manuscript in earlier versions. David Laitin read the first version when it was several hundred pages longer and still in preliminary form. Kanchan Chandra read a complete, but still imperfect, second draft. The comments of both were indispensable to me in making the revisions that preceded my submission of the manuscript for review by the University of Washington Press. Elizabeth Mann read sev­eral chapters of the earliest version of the manuscript and her comments also led me to make several changes. Walter Andersen and Richard Flathman gave
me the benefit of their comments on particular chapters. The two anony­mous reviewers for the press and Michael Duckworth, the acquisitions edi­tor, will, I hope, also note that I have taken their criticisms and suggestions seriously. Of course, 1 am alone responsible for the arguments and points of view adopted as well as any errors that may be found herein.
Naresh Saxena facilitated my visits to Aligarh during the past twenty years. Kanchan Chandra and Violette Graff provided me with valuable maps of Aligarh that I had not been able to obtain. Iqbal A. Ansari and Asghar Ali Engineer cleared up in correspondence with me a few details on which I needed information. Several persons have accompanied me to Aligarh over the years to assist me in moving about the city and interpreting when necessary; they include Pallav Kumar, Gyan and Jayati Chaturvedi, Sumit Mehta, and Aftab Ahmad. Arup Singh has been unfailingly helpful to me during all my recent visits to India.
My past practice in citing interviews has been to provide simply the date and place of the interview. I have modified that practice somewhat in this manuscript. I have masked most of my sources for interviews. However, I no longer invariably promise my respondents confidentiality, and carry out the great majority of my interviews with a tape recorder plainly in view. Since so much of my material comprises direct quotes that lose part of their signifi­cance if the identity of the respondent is masked, I felt it important not to do so in such cases where no confidentiality was promised.
I have been engaged more or less continuously in the research and writ­ing of this manuscript for the past four years, that is, since my teaching responsibilities at the University of Washington ended in June 1997. In that period, others also have been extremely helpful to me. They include Irene Joshi, since retired as the South Asia librarian at the University of Washington, and her successor in that position, Alan Grosenheider. Michael Shapiro has helped me from time to time in translating some lines from Hindi newspapers and from my tape-recorded interviews. Jere Bacharach, Director of the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, made available a small grant from Rockefeller funds, which provided partial funding for the drawing of the maps included herein, prepared by Guirong Zhou. Fred Nick, director of the Center for Social Science Computation and Research at the University of Washington, and his staff, especially Dixielynn Gleason, have been a tremendous help to me on countless occasions with computer and software problems of all kinds, including recovery from a total and irretrievable crash of my previous computer ten minutes before the Seattle earthquake of February 28, 2001, that hit just as I was trying to plug my portable computer
~with the backups for this book into the wall under my table. Thanks to the portable computer, a few other backup disks, and Fred’s help in deciding on the purchase of a new computer and getting me through the process of reestab­lishing my work on new software, this book is now presented here.
Susan Halon bore patiently my apparently unending absorption in the details and complexities involved in the construction of this book. She trav­elled with me to India and to Aligarh during my last two visits there and took all but three of the photographs included herein.
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