By A. Valiani
Bargains readers a telling glimpse of the social global within which militants are made, explaining how crew actual education and technico-ethical experiments with it have created a robust spiritual nationalist flow in Gujarat that has been held answerable for undertaking fabulous episodes of ethnic detoxification opposed to Indian minorities.
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Additional resources for Militant Publics in India: Physical Culture and Violence in the Making of a Modern Polity
These sessions often became animated as volunteers interjected with accounts of encounters with Muslims, whether the experiences were nonviolent or not, based on stories that circulated within the volunteers’ families. In one predominantly Hindu neighborhood of Ahmedabad that I call Rampuram, in which an important segment of my fieldwork took place, the conversations that were transacted during baudhik were a prism through which members understood their uneasy relations with a small Muslim community that resided across a nearby main road.
For the teacher and branch members, this association located me favorably within an envelope of upper- caste purity even though I was Muslim, a fact about which they were fully aware. The second was that I was a native speaker of “unadulterated” Gujarati, the language—falsely perceived—to only be spoken by higher-caste and/or educated Hindus, which therefore situated me in a cultural-moral zone that my informants privileged. Although my poor aptitude for mastering the techniques of physical training ensured that I did not become an exemplary volunteer, among other reasons, the combination of these “qualities” made me a candidate for provisional branch membership and it provided me with an analytically valuable opportunity to understand the regular practices and ethical investments that sustain violence from within this militant movement— a perspective that is largely absent in the study of Hindu nationalism.
As competition over resources like employment, entrepreneurial opportunities, and property in the locality has intensified, partly because of the introduction of neoliberal economic policies in Gujarat, local perceptions of the causes of scarcity have increasingly acquired a communal character in Ahmedabad. According to many Muslim and Hindu residents whom I interviewed, a wide variety of resources in the city are seen to be monopolized by the opposing community. For branch members and (Hindu) nonmembers, the “conf lict” between Hindus and Muslims confirmed both the historical characterization of Muslims as archrivals of Hindus and the purported advantage that this minority acquires from their apocryphal internal cohesion.