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Coalition politics, ethnic violence and citizenship: Muslim political agency in Meerut, India, c. 1950-2004.

Tatsuni, Kayoko (2009) Coalition politics, ethnic violence and citizenship: Muslim political agency in Meerut, India, c. 1950-2004. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This dissertation examines the responses of the Muslim community in Meerut city, in western Uttar Pradesh, India, to the rise of militant Hindu nationalism and to the anti-Muslim violence that shook Meerut in April-May 1987. I show how Meerut Muslims engaged in adaptive economic and political strategies in the wake of the 1987 violence and how these strategies culminated in a new style of participatory politics. This emerged under the leadership of the hitherto low status Qureshi (butcher) community. I show how Qureshi political activism has worked to create a Muslim political community which can be mobilised in terms both of civic and Muslim identities. I also demonstrate how Muslim political leaders have engaged in an instrumental politics of vote-trading with Hindu low- caste political parties. Both communities are exploiting new possibilities for representation in an era of multi-party coalition politics at state and national levels. My account of the 'new Muslim politics' in Meerut examines how Islam is understood alongside civic, or even secular, accounts of what it means to be a Muslim in contemporary India. More generally, my discussion of the production of ethnic peace in Meerut since c.1990 allows me to contribute to an ongoing debate on the causes and differential geography of 'communal' violence in India. I do not attempt to adjudicate between the competing accounts of 'votes and violence' offered by Steven Wilkinson, Ashutosh Varshney, Paul Brass and others. Instead, I seek to build on their work by offering a more considered discussion of Muslim political agency in the face of provocative militant Hinduism. Behind concerted campaigns for security and survival, the 'new Muslim politics' mirrors a commitment to the goals of respect and dignity that is also to be found among the region's poorest Hindu communities and the Scheduled Castes (dalits).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General, South Asian Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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