Chapter

Rumours and Religious Riots*

Sudhir Kakar

in Culture and Psyche

Second edition

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780195696684
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080304 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195696684.003.0009
Rumours and Religious Riots*

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This essay examines the role of rumours in religious riots in India, including the 1947 riots that arose when the country was partitioned into the states of India and Pakistan. It analyses the content of the rumours that circulated during religious riots in Ahmedabad and discusses the psychoanalytic ‘theory’ of rumours. Of the 50–60 rumours collected from the Hindu and Muslim areas, roughly half of them are common to both Hindus and Muslims. There are two categories of rumours: fundamental rumours and rumours related to sexual violence. Some rumours can subvert individual identity, while others are related to group identity. On the basis of the ego processes involved, rumours appear to be similar to gossip.

Keywords: India; rumours; religious riots; Ahmedabad; psychoanalytic theory; Hindus; Muslims; sexual violence; gossip; group identity

Chapter.  3028 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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