Violent Gods

Hindu Nationalism in India's Present - Narratives from Orissa

First Edition

ISBN(s) 81-88789-45-3, 81-88789-67-4
Pub. Date March 2009
Pages xiv, 470
Dimensions 8.5 x 5.5 in
Rights All Rights Available
  India Elsewhere
Paperback 81-88789-67-4
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This book is an erudite and elegiac exploration of Hindu nationalism in India today. It offers a revealing account of Hindu militant mobilizations as an authoritarian movement manifest throughout culture, polity, and economy, religion and law, class and caste, on gender, body, land, and memory. Tracing the continuities between Hindutva and Hindu cultural dominance, this book maps the architectures of civic and despotic governmentalities contouring Hindu nationalism in public, domestic, and everyday life. In chronicling concerted action against Christians and Muslims, Adivasis and Dalits, through spectacles, events, public executions, the riots in Kandhamal of December 2007 and August-September 2008, the planned, methodical politics of terror unfolds in its multiple registers. At the intersections of Anthropology, Postcolonial, Subaltern, and South Asia Studies, Angana P. Chatterji asks critical questions of nation making, cultural nationalism, and subaltern disenfranchisement. As a Foucauldian history of the present, this text asserts the role of ethical knowledge production as counter-memory.



One: Memory-Mournings

Text, Counter-Memory
Why Orissa?
HinduCultural Dominance, Hindutva/ization

Two: Dispositif

Nationscapes in Ascendancy

Three: Impunity

Economies of Violence
Struggles Over Land

Four: Erasures

In Jagatsinghpur, Jesus is the Son of a Subaltern God
'Where Is Your God Now?'
Nation's 'Other'
A Collision of Histories

Five: Processions of Violence

Riots in Kandhamal, December 2007
'Violent Gods': Riots in Kandhamal, August 2008


Cover: In the Name of God, 2008. Mixed Media drawing by Arpana Caur.


Prof. Angana Chatterji's study of the communal situation in India stands apart from the existing literature on the subject, both in terms of empirical details and analytical rigour. The extensive fieldwork she has undertaken in Orissa exposes the inhuman and brutal interventions of Hindu communalism and its possible implications for the future. This is by far the most outstanding work on the subject.

— K.N. Panikkar

About Angana P. Chatterji Read full profile ›

Angana P. Chatterji is a feminist anthropologist and historian of the present. Her recent writings include the co-edited volume, Contesting Nation: Gendered Violence in South Asia (Zubaan, 2012), Land and Justice: The Struggle for Cultural Survival... Read more

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