Communalism in Postcolonial India : Changing contours book cover
2nd Edition

Communalism in Postcolonial India
Changing contours

Edited By

Mujibur Rehman

ISBN 9780367734206
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge India
338 Pages

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Book Description

This book reconceptualises the idea of communalism in independent India. It locates the changing contours of politics and religion in the country from the colonial times to the present day, and makes an important intervention in understanding the relationship between communalism and communal violence. It evaluates the role of state, media, civil societies, political parties, and other actors in the process as well as ideas such as secularism, nationalism, minority rights and democracy. Using new conceptual tools and an interdisciplinary approach, the work challenges the conventional understanding of communalism as time and context independent.

This second edition includes a Foreword by Romila Thapar and an Afterword by Dipesh Chakrabarty, along with a new Introduction which revaluate the trajectory of communal politics in contemporary India, and question how secularism has come to be understood today. This topical volume will be useful to scholars and researchers in South Asian politics, political science, history, sociology and social anthropology, as well as the interested general reader.

Table of Contents

Foreword. Preface. Introduction to the Second Edition. Introduction 1. Reflections on Secularism and Communalism in Constituent Assembly Debates and Beyond 2. Institutional Communalism in India 3. The Philosophy of Number 4. Tracing the Trajectory of Communalism and Communal Violence in India 5. The Diaspora Community 6. Gandhi and Religious Fanaticism 7. Communal Violence in India: Ending Impunity 8. Conflict and Attrition in the North-east: Identity, Impunity and Inequality 9. Role of Intellectuals and Hindu-Muslim Divide 10. Indian Christians: History and Contemporary Challenges 11. Politics of Anti-Christian Violence in Kandhamal, 2008 12. United Progressive Alliance (I) and India’s Muslims: Redefining Equality of Opportunity? Afterword. Bibliography

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Mujibur Rehman teaches at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India. He has received graduate research training at the University of Texas, USA; the University of Heidelberg, Germany; and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on Politics of India’s Economic Reform (1991/92-2004). He has edited Rise of Saffron Power: Reflections on Indian Politics (2018). He is presently working on two book projects on Indian Muslims, and on the politics of anti-Christian violence in India.


‘This rich collection of essays . . . brings together several theoretical and empirical approaches to the problem of communalism and secularism; at times disturbing the analytic and political slumber . . . This timely collection ought to invite serious social debate and political action.’Upendra Baxi, University of Warwick, UK

‘Communalism, and associated violence, has been a feature of India since the colonial period. This important collection of essays examines the phenomenon especially towards the end of the twentieth century.’Francis Robinson, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

‘Through new theoretical approaches and case studies, these . . . essays pursue the restless and mercurial spectre of communal conflict that continues to haunt Indian society.’Nile Green, University of California, Los Angeles, USA