Overview on -Contribution of Anthropology to the study of Regionalism and Communalism- CivilsPrep



[Applause] [Applause] okay so the topic we are going to look at today is called the contributions of anthropology to the understanding of regionalism communalism and ethnic and political movements a very vast topic as you can see so anthropology as we know is the detailed study of a group or a culture which helps us to understand that culture better it involves very often living with the group for at least rather a year sometimes longer and living like the group that is taking on in many ways the ways of life of that group and therefore in some sense entering their worldview entering the way in which that particular group sees the world so the anthropology of regionalism or communalism or ethnic and political movements aim to help us to understand these movements better and what given that this is a very vast topic and you have a very short answer too right based on it what I think the best way to go about it is to look at one example of each of these ideas regionalism communalism ethnic violence political violence so political movements and see what an anthropologist has done or what a particular ethnography is not Rafi is what anthropologists do these are social anthropologists this is what they do what they have done to help us understand these concepts better so the first book that I want to talk about or the first study that I want to talk about under the rubric regionalism is nan de nies wonders book subalterns and sovereigns and anthropological history of buster 1854 to 2006 now as you can imagine from the title itself this is more of a historical and contemporary anthropological study there is something called historical anthropology which actually involves looking at government documents don't know whatever you can find from whatever voices you can find from the past and the reason they're not only looks at the past but also at the present in fact the second edition of the book comes right up to the present and understanding what is happening with the Naxalites in chattisgarh in the bastard region and so on but what does man reason to do in this book she actually looks at various things she looks at the customary law of the tribals and the Adivasi synbuster she looks at how colonial anthropology led to the formation of laws in the region and she looks at the history of those laws and what they have meant for actual people moving from the pre-independence to the post-independence period right up to the present where in fact there's something like a civil war in that region so that's the Bolton's and sovereigns and it's a good example of looking at a region which is the region of western part of the new state in many ways of Chhattisgarh and looking at how the Rd versus understand the idea of region the second book is to look at communalism and does look at communalism and it's by Megha Kumar it's a recent ethnography it's called communalism and sexual violence Amitha bad since 1969 and it's an extremely interesting study that looks at essentially the Gujarat riots of 2002 but also looks at it partly historically partly in the present she studies government reports she studies Hindu nationalist publications she studies civil society consultations she looks she does detailed interviews with both activists and actual write victims so in many ways it's a great example of how does an anthropologist look at the idea of communalism in fact she gives a different shape to how we understand communalism because it enters in many ways the domain as I said as anthropologists do from within ethnic movements for the ethnic ones there's a wonderful book actually when when we think at Nyssa tea in India we always think only the northeast or we think of some separatist idea whereas in fact ethnic movements this particular book that I'm going to talk about actually breaks with these traditional ideas of ethnicity that we have it's a wonderful ethnography by Sara Sneiderman and it's called rituals of ethnicity the thumbing identities between Nepal and India and actually she's not looking only at Nepal and India but also Tibet so it's a kind of a tripartite ethnography it's beautifully done so she looks at the Nepali context which is largely dominated by the Maoists she looks at the gorkel and movement in India and she also looks at the Tibetan movement in autonomous China and tries to understand how the thank me people who are in many ways caught between these three regions understand their own identity and understand ethnicity and they understand diversity through ritual actually so it's a very very interesting study showing that this breaks with traditional understandings of nation hold of boundaries that we are used to but in fact shows that communities live across boundaries and you can see this even in the northeast way lots of its excellent ethnographies in the northeast by people like William van Schendel and so on have shown us that the Northeast is not particularly the states they do not really see themselves in relation only to the Indian nation which is how we understand ethnicity and the nation and how we always trap the Northeast in terms of our understanding and the final ethnography or book that we I want to talk it's not yet a book in fact she's hasn't yet published as a book it's still a series of articles hopefully the book will be out soon is on the question of political movements and it is Bella partitas extraordinary work in Bihar her PhD was entitled Naxalism in central be has some articles are published in the central one M which talk about is the one in economic and critical weekly in 2005 called the Naxalite movement in be hull now be lab heartiest work is extraordinary because actually the Naxalite movement in bihar is extremely fashion alized and the factions are quite violently against each other but somehow Bayla managed to talk to all the factions to try and find out and map in some sense a history of the factions but she also found out far more interesting things that for example we think of the Naxalites when we think of Naxalites in the contemporary moment we think of them as somehow as the state put it the largest internal security threat we see them as violent and as therefore dangerous so talking about side the logic of the state and so on but actually if you look at in bella has studied the Naxalite demands in the Naxalite constitutions and in many ways what they are demanding is very much within the rubric in the logic of the state they're demanding their rights but she also tries to understand what it means to actually have a political movement that is talking about the voices of the poor and she also questions the way in which the Naxalite parties move in relation to the worst of the poor and feels like that in fact they should be run by the poor and what the poor want and what the people of Bihar want rather than rather than what the party of the various party is born so these studies in each of these ideas from regionalism to communalism and ethnic and political movements for areas show us that what anthropology teaches us and what anthropology is great at is giving us an inside of view of movements that we know a little about that we understand a little about it also helps us imaginatively enter another world another world and understand that world as our own almost is the great risky work that anthropologists do and so what the contribution of anthropology is to understanding all of these areas is that it helps us understand them better it helps us understand them intimately and it helps us think about them in non-conventional ways and not in the traditional ways that we are used to thinking about them as we are trained to by the Indians [Applause]




Comments
  1. Great overview Sir… @keep to maintaining the truth.! @if possible pls do survey on state wise …too.

  2. With due respect to your intellect and your interest Sir, i really wanna to be guided by you but on specific issue based topics, like earlier one. I hope you might spare about 20-30 minutes from the busy schedule of your day to teach us on this platform. May you teach us…Hoping to see you soon

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