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[OPIRG-EVENTS] SAP Canada Presents: Indian Secularism Under Trial: Emergence of Militant Hinduism & the Future of Indian Democracy




South Asia Partnership Canada presents

INDIAN SECULARISM UNDER TRIAL: 

THE EMERGENCE OF MILITANT HINDUISM AND THE FUTURE OF
INDIAN DEMOCRACY

WITH 

SIDHARTH BHATIA

When:12-2 pm, Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Where: 1 Nicholas St. Ottawa, 2nd floor Conference
Room

Sidharth Bhatia is a Toronto-based columnist for
Indian and international newspapers; a television
producer, filmmaker, teacher and Associate Press
Fellow at Cambridge University, U.K. He will discuss
the following issues:

	What are the reasons behind the emergence of
militant Hindu chauvinism? 
	From whom does militant Hinduism get support? 
	What are the implications for a secular, democratic
India if militant Hinduism is not checked?

Background: Sectarian riots in the western Indian
state of Gujarat claimed hundreds of lives in early
2002. Following an incident in which 59 Hindus,
including women and children, were burnt to death in a
train compartment, Hindu mobs sought revenge,
selectively targeting Muslim homes and commercial
establishments. Most of the people killed in the
upsurge of violence that followed were Muslim.
Commentators have called the riots pogroms and even
ethnic genocide.

Communal riots are not new to India, but the Gujarat
riots were different due to: 

	The clinical nature of the killings and the
systematic selection of targets, a relatively new
phenomenon. 
	The Hindu rioters included people from comfortable,
middle-class backgrounds 
	Most important of all, the state, instead of
guaranteeing the security of Muslim and Hindu citizens
alike, actively sided with the Hindu rioters and
allowed the killing of the Muslims to go on unchecked

The Gujarat violence therefore needs to be analyzed
within the framework of a larger socio-political
context: 
the emergence of militant Hinduism in India. Extremism
by the majority is dangerous in any multicultural
society. In a diverse country such as India, an
extremist majority puts at risk social harmony, the
stability of the state and democratic and secular
values.

For more information please contact Veena Gokhale,
India Program Manager at vgokhale@sapcanada.org; Ph:
613-241-1333 ext. 231

PLEASE RSVP: Wendy Schoots at wschoots@sapcanada.org 
Ph: 613-241-1333 ext. 221


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