Violence of Democracy tracks the rise of India’s divisive politics through close examination of decades-long interparty confrontations in Kannur district of Kerala.
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork amongst workers of political groups in the region and extensive archival research, Ruchi Chaturvedi investigates the unique character of the conflict between the parties on the political left and the right. This conflict, she shows, contradicts all explanations centering on religious, caste, class or ideological differences. It offers, instead, new ways of understanding how everyday interparty competition can produce vengeful political communities.
Rival political parties mobilize practices of disbursing care and aggressive masculinity in their struggle for electoral and popular power, a process intensified by a criminal justice system that reproduces violence, rather than mitigating it. Chaturvedi traces these dynamics from the late colonial period to the early 2000s, illuminating the larger relationships between democratic life, majoritarianism and antagonistic politics. The task of re-imagining a more equal, just and humane political life, she suggests, is premised on such an interrogation.
This book will appeal to scholars of politics, sociology, anthropology and legal studies.
I Pastoral Power, Masculinity, and Interparty Conflict
1. Containment and Cretinism: The Early Democratic Decades
2. The CPI (M) and the Making of an Antagonistic Political Field
3. Care, Connectedness, and Violence in Hindu Right Communities
II Judicial Responsibility and Subterfuge
4. Law’s Subterfuge: Affording Alibis and Bolstering Conflict
5. Individuating Responsibility: The Problem of Intention, Injustice, and Justice
About the Author: Ruchi Chaturvedi is Senior Lecturer of Sociology at the University of Cape Town.