ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Communal Violence in Muzaffarnagar

Agrarian Transformation and Politics

The scale of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar in August-September 2013 was unprecedented in the villages of western Uttar Pradesh after partition. It happened due to what Paul R Brass conceptualised as the institutional riot system, which until the Muzaffarnagar riot was understood to be primarily an urban phenomenon. The growth of the IRS, a post-green revolution phenomenon, that is, since the 1980s in western UP, was on account of the emergence of new classes in the villages, and changes in the nature of rural-urban relations. The Lok Sabha elections of 2014 provided a suitable context for the rural IRS to operate.

This paper is an integrated version of presentations made at the Centre for the Multi-level Federal Studies, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi in November 2013; Academic Committee’s Discussion Forum, School of Social Sciences, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi in August 2014; and in Doon University in February 2015, Dehradun. I thank Balveer Arora, S V Reddy, Nandini and an anonymous referee for their helpful comments and suggestions.

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