In recent decades, the world has witnessed the emergence of several protracted violent conflicts and the eruption of ethnic and communal violence in countries such as Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sri Lanka. Riots and Victims challenges the popular academic interpretation of such events as examples of tribal slaughter or spontaneous eruptions, fueled by historic conflict between religious and ethnic communities. This book examines the origins and consequences of the violence that occurred between the Muslim and Hindu communities in pre-partition Bengal, which ultimately resulted in the creation of Pakistan. Gossman argues that communal violence and communal identity were not merely the consequences of long-term animosities, but rather ploys orchestrated by mid-level politicians for their own advancement and aggrandizement. Riots and Victims introduces new analyses of local violence and identity, and explores issues of far-reaching importance.
Preface; I. Constructions of Ethnicity And; Communal Identity; II. Creating a Political Community: The First Partition; Of Bengal; The "Backwardness" Factor and the Legacy of Religious Reform; The Agrarian Context; The 1905 Partition; The Annulment; III. The Function of Violence: Renegotiating; The Status Order 1918-1926; Renegotiating the Status Order; The Plasticity of Identity Symbols; The Rise of Pan-Islamic Concerns; The Calcutta 'Riot' of 1918; The Legacy of Non-cooperation and Khilafat and the Hindu-Muslim Pact; The Praja Movement; The Swarajists and the Hindu-Muslim Pact; The Search for a 'Muslim' Party; The Communal Violence of 1926: Symbols, Elections and Violence; The Calcutta Riots of April-July 1926; The Pabna Riots of July 1926; Conclusion; IV. the Politics of Violence, Part II: Patterns of Organization 1926-1941; The Representation of Violence and Victimization; The Choreography of Violence in Public Spaces; The Dacca 'Riot' of September 1926; The Shivaji Disturbance; The Independence Day 'Riot' of 1930; The Dacca Riot of May 22-30, 1930; The 1941 Dacca 'Riot,'; Conclusion; V. The Muslim League's Struggle for Bengal; The Search for a Muslim Party (reprise); Capturing the Symbols of Agrarian Reform; The 1936-37 Election Campaign; The KPP-Muslim League Ministry; Capturing the Symbols of Victimization; Muslim League Commissions of Inquiry; The Fight for Control of the Bengal Provincial Muslim League; Conclusion; Symbols, Elections and Violence: A 1990 Parallel; Was Bengal Unique?; The Logic of Violence; Bibliography