Violence and Nonviolence at the Heart of Hindu Ethics

Veena Das

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199759996
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Violence and Nonviolence at the Heart of Hindu Ethics


This chapter explores how a certain anxiety around violence might be rendered as integral to the imagination of an ethical life in Hindu texts and practices. It also describes some contemporary examples of violence and non-violence, and addresses how new forms of collective life such as the imaginary of the nation can shape the expression and experience of violence. The figure of the animal is significant in understanding violence. The chapter argues that the link between sovereignty and the subjugation of violence is the dominant theme of any story of sovereignty. It is observed that Draupadi and Gandhari became the causes for the destruction of the Kshatriyas and of Krishna's dynasty, respectively. The voice of the woman becomes the voice that questions the vanities of Dharma.

Keywords: anxiety; violence; Hindu; animal; sovereignty; Draupadi; Gandhari; Dharma; non-violence

Article.  13019 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Hinduism

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