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Home > Dissident Left Archive > India: Communal politics and the language of numbers

India: Communal politics and the language of numbers

by Dilip Simeon, 24 March 2015

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This paper is appearing in: Communalism in Post-colonial India Changing Contours Edited by Mujibur Rehman; Routledge India (forthcoming, 2016)

[short excerpt] "Introduction It is difficult to judge which is the more grievous of our predicaments: the acceptability (for a large number of Indians) of mass murder as a fact of life; or our unwillingness to understand communalism outside of a communal lens. To put it differently, many people consider the theft of money to be a greater evil than the assassination of large numbers of people; and even when we try to understand genocidal events, most of the time we end up with a variant of the proposition that ’my murderers are better than yours.’ And in a country where even atheists are cast as Hindu, Muslim or Sikh etc, an obsessive awareness of religious identity tends to colour all discourses, even theoretical ones, about communalism — ’my communalists are not as bad as yours’, or even, ’my communalists are not communalists at all, yours are.’ Despite the terrible tragedies that have convulsed South Asia over the past century, it appears we are no closer to an understanding of the most intractable issue in modern Indian history than we were seven decades ago. [. . .]" .
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The Philiosophy of Number by Dilip Simeon
appearing in: Communalism in Post-colonial India Changing Contours Edited by Mujibur Rehman; Routledge India (forthcoming, 2016)

P.S.

The above paper is reproduced here for educational and non commercial use