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Violence of Democracy: Interparty Conflict in South India
by Ruchi Chaturvedi
Duke University Press, 2023
eISBN: 978-1-4780-2460-6 | Cloth: 978-1-4780-2001-1 | Paper: 978-1-4780-2077-6

In Violence of Democracy 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 Bharatiya Janata Party. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and extensive archival research, Chaturvedi investigates the unique character of the conflict between the Marxist left and 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 violence rather than mitigating it. Chaturvedi traces these dynamics from the late colonial period to the early 2000s illuminating the broader relationship between democratic life, divisiveness and majoritarianism.

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