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Violence Across Borders and Boundaries


T. Ananthachari

TERRORISM: PATTERNS OF INTERNATIONALIZATION
By Jaideep Saikia and Ekaterina Stepanova
Sage, Delhi, 2009, pp. 266, Rs. 695.00

DECODING INTOLERANCE: RIOTS AND THE EMERGENCE OF TERRORISM IN INDIA
By Prateep K. Lahiri
Roli Books, Delhi, 2009, pp. 276, Rs.395.00

TERROR, TERRORISM, STATES AND SOCIETIES: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Edited by Samir Kumar Das and Rada Ivekovic
Women Unlimited, Delhi, 2010, pp. 300, Rs.595.00

TROUBLED REFLECTIONS: REPORTING VIOLENCE-MEDIAS SYMBOTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH VIOLENCE-ETHNIC VIOLENCE
Edited by Gobind Thukral
Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla, 2009, pp. 214, Rs. 495.00

VOLUME XXXIV NUMBER 8 August 2010

The four books under review written by authors belonging to a variety of disciplines, have addressed the burning problem of violence in its various manifestations. Together they throw up a number of ideas and issues which no doubt help understand and interpret violence and in the process, offer for a discerning scholar, possible direction in which action to counter violence could be taken. While ‘violence’ manifests itself in different contexts, it has nonetheless, a ‘destabilizing political effect’. While, by and large, communal riots are confined to the domestic scene, terrorism based on religious-fundamentalism has, over the years increasingly assumed international dimensions. However, one cannot afford to overlook the fact that in both the varieties, religion and religious sentiments play a crucial role and this basic aspect can make even a domestic issue vulnerable to international manipulations. According to Jaideep Saikia, ‘Of all forms of modern armed violence, terrorism is the one best suited to serve’ the purpose of ‘causing broader destabilizing political effect’ and ‘terrorism is also tailored to satisfy a certain political context to maximize the political effect’. It is significant that a similar sentiment is echoed by Prateep K. Lahiri in the context of the impact of domestic communal violence. Journalist Gobind Thukral observes, ‘violence had deep roots in the politics of the State … Any study of Punjab Press would reveal the hand of some newspaper proprietors in the communal politics and the consequent violence.’ Samir Kumar Das and Rada Ivekovic have brought in the academic content to the discourse on terrorism and violence by embarking upon a historical and philosophical perspective. The authors trace the relationship between ‘violence’ and ‘terror’ on the one hand and political concepts like democracy, liberalism, sovereignty and the rule of law on the other. This would help understand in the right perspective, the relationship between ‘violence’ and ‘politics’ commented upon by the other authors. The books under review offer the combined wisdom of ground realities and first-hand personal knowledge on the one hand and a well reasoned out (with authentic references to back up) and convincing theoretical framework to offer acceptable explanations. These attributes put the readers of these books to practical advantage. Prateep Lahiri, a long time civil servant with first hand knowledge of communal riots, some of which he handled personally, has undertaken a full fledged anatomical peep to create a better understanding of the underlying causes which precipitate Hindu-Muslim ...


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