Mythscapes of Communal Expressions
Narratives, theorizations and interpretations of communalism and communal violence are abundant in disciplines of political science, sociology, history and cultural studies. There are numerous writings from the field on how communal violence has been systematically crafted and perpetrated against certain communities. The frequency of communal conflagrations, the spread and its manifestations often assuming unbelievable forms of violence in practically every zone of India especially during the last two decades have provided different vantage points for such theorization and interpretation. However, communalism as an experience and that too in overtly peaceful contexts needs further explorations to see how multiplicity of myths, half truth and manufactured collective memories shape the daily life of people particularly from the minority communities. Beyond the narratives of exclusion, beyond the stories of violence, there is a need to capture varied forms of expressions of communalism which are presented, propagated and normalized through multiple means to appeal to a larger public. Thus communal expressions as a concept is aimed to bring together lived experiences of communities who are subjects of violence, both physical and structural, on account of their identity. Communal expressions are manifestations of communal consciousness which articulates, communicates and operationalise elements of exclusion and hatred against member of a particular religious community ranging from antagonistic attitudes, stereotypical images, strained relationship and direct violence. It also includes any process involving denial of blocking of rightful share of development experience and social justice cither by the state and its varied machineries or by any non-state and its actors against the members of a particular community on account of their socio-religious identity. On a closer look at the communal expressions of modern times, it can be discerned that much of the argument are founded on a set of myths and half truth about history, culture and religion. The rich narratives of collective and individual experience of discrimination and marginalization presented in the book provide a frame of mythscapes of contributes in the creation of a collective memory to appear as real and authentic. The book explores the production, propagation and perpetuation of communal expressions in the city of Mumbai and its suburbs. This book is the beginning of a search for a new conceptualization of communal expressions to understand, analyse and may be to explore means of engaging with one of the most serious challenges of contemporary Indian polity by walking through the lanes and by-lanes of the mythscapes of communal expressions. The book also tried to explore the possibilities of manipulating and uncovering such mythscapes to promote peace and communal harmony. The idea is to explore the possibility of nurturing an Inclusive Community System.
About The Author
P.K. Shajahan is a faculty member with Centre for Community Organization and Development Practice, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai. He teaches community organization, social action, disaster management, conflicts and peace at TISS. Having Ph.D. degree from the University of Delhi for his work on Communal Expressions in Mumbai, he specializes in minority rights and peace processes. He is a passionate advocate for due space to issues of conflicts and peace in social wor