27 September, 2012
At the Confluence of Two Rivers: Muslims and Hindus in South India
By- Jackie Assayag
Relations between Hindus and Muslims are a matter of vital concern in contemporary India. Analysis of the relations between Islam and Hinduism, frequently reduced to stereotypes, is not always accompanied by a thorough consideration of the complexity of the mutual relations of attraction and repulsion which ‘the people of the Book’ and various Hindu castes have maintained for more than a thousand years.
Having evoked the historical and social circumstances of the implantation of Islam in South Asia, the author presents the situation of Muslims in Karnataka, where the dynamics of the cultural forms of pair alterity/identity has seldom been studied. In the framework of an anthropological investigation conducted in the region over a period of several years, the complexity of interactions between Hindus and Muslims fully emerges. Their relations are explored in the village and in the urban milleu, among saints cum-healers or during ceremonies of fakirs, across hybrid cults or within the individual community, in daily life as well as on the occasion of festivals. Finally, the socio-historical study of the rise to prominence of the inter-communitarian conflict in a town of average size reveals how the demarcation of new boundaries, which are nevertheless secular, today heightens a communitarian exclusivism which extends to the core of collective memories. Thus, local knowledge casts light on the destiny of the subcontinent, at the same time as it offers possibilities of comparison.
Jackie Assayag is Director of Research at the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) and affiliated to EHESS, Paris. He has worked extensively on anthropology, sociology and politics in modern India.
ISBN 81-7304-512-7 2003 314p. Rs.650/Pounds 50
Asia Annual 2010: Nationhood and Identity Movements in Asia: Colonial and Post-colonial Times
By- Swarupa Gupta (ed)
This volume tells a new story of Asian nationalisms, moving beyond stereotypical representations of Asia as the exoticized/subjugated ‘other’ of Orientalism. It focuses on the interface between Asian forms of nationhood and identity-movements. Dispensing with Western prisms of looking at colonial/Asian nationalisms, it rethinks the relation between the West and the rest, by returning agency to Asians. Using a multidisciplinary methodology, this volume tracks constellations of unity predating the colonial modern, and sees how these operate within spirals of continuity through change. It traces and compares hitherto unexplored nationalist experiences in West, Central, South, South East and East Asia, gathered under the rubric of an internally-differentiated model of Asian nationalism. This moves beyond sectional micro-studies, connecting intra-regional, inter-regional and transnational/international identities in Asia. Seeing how pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial identities meld in specific contexts, this volume contains original thematic essays which fall into categories of: (1) Nationhood, Place and History; (2) Nationalism and State-Building; (3) Cultural Nationalism and Linguistic Identity; (4) Nationalisms in Eurasia; (5) Transnational Identities; and (6) Gender and Identity-Movements. What emerges is no single, uniform model of Asian nationalism, but different (from Western/European) forms of nationhood. Multiple pathways lead to discoveries of non-Western Asian experiences of nationhood through insiders’ narratives (intra-Asian voices). These make it possible to dream of a new Asia which avoids the snare of post-colonial inevitabilities of fragmentation, fundamentalisms and core-periphery problems. Arguing that the continuation of the colonial into the post-colonial can have positive possibilities, shaping new policies, spatialities, intercultural dialogue/cooperation, and economic/material connections, this volume shows how Asia emerges as a key-player in the history and contemporaneity of nationalism.
Swarupa Gupta, Ph D. (SOAS, London, 2004) is a Fellow at Maulana Azad Inst. Of Asian Studies (Ministry of Culture, Government of India) and Guest Faculty Member, Department of History, Presidency University, Calcutta
ISBN 978-81-7304-960-6 2012 366p. Rs.1150/Pounds 65