Ruchi ChaturvediAug 21, 2023
Violence of Democracy
Interparty Conflict in South India
Duke University Press 2023
In Violence of Democracy: Interparty Conflict in South India (Duke UP, 2023), Ruchi Chaturvedi tracks the rise of India’s divisive politics through close examination of decades-long confrontations in Kerala between members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and supporters of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and extensive archival research, Chaturvedi investigates the unique character of the conflict between the party left and the Hindu right. This conflict, she shows, defies explanations centering religious, caste, or ideological differences. It offers instead new ways of understanding how quotidian political competition can produce antagonistic majoritarian communities. Rival political parties mobilize practices of disbursing care and aggressive masculinity in their struggle for electoral and popular power, a process intensified by a criminal justice system that reproduces rather than mitigating violence. Chaturvedi traces these dynamics from the late colonial period to the early 2000s, illuminating the broader relationships between democratic life, divisiveness, and majoritarianism.
Yash Sharma is a PhD student in Political Science at the School of Public and International Affairs, University of Cincinnati. His research is focused on the interactions of political mobilization and anti-minority violence within Hindu nationalist organizations in India. Twitter. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.