Violence as Method and Ideology

Julia M. Eckert

in The Charisma of Direct Action

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195660449
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082001 | DOI:
Violence as Method and Ideology

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This chapter addresses the idea of combativeness and role of public violence within the internal dynamic of the Shiv Sena, and its effect on the movement's interaction with its environment. The Mumbai riots of 1993 are discussed, with the two competing explanations—that they were a case of spontaneous eruption and that they were planned as a pogrom—being analyzed in some detail. The author suggests that the riots were ‘the orchestration of spontaneity.’ How riots have been a means of mass mobilization for the Sena is also discussed. The author goes on to analyze the ideology of violence itself, what justifies its choice, and how it works as a means of power which can demand compliance and prevent sanctions. The Sena's reasons for legitimizing violence are revenge, and the claim that violence is essential for the defense of the community. The chapter concludes by a discussing of how the empowering of women—often called in for gheraos and rasta roko agitations—by the Mahila Aghadi has served as a legitimization for violence.

Keywords: public violence; combativeness; spontaneous eruption; planned pogrom; riots; gheraos; rasta roko agitations; Shiv Sena; Mumbai riots; Legitimization of violence; power; defence; empowering women

Chapter.  15372 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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