Violence, History and Politics
Some of the most difficult questions in history and politics concern violence. Riots, rebellions, and revolutions all contain (and perhaps even require) elements of political violence. On the other, this is also the land of Gandhi. Many groups and individuals today believe that their political systems will never respond to their demands. As a result they believe that violence is not only justified but also necessary in order to achieve their political objectives. By the same token, many governments around the world believe they need to use violence in order to intimidate their populace into acquiescence. Scholarly discourse on political history must, therefore, acknowledge the politics of violenceIt is with this intention of understanding the past and the present that we wish to interrogate the idea of violence.
At a more fundamental level, we also want to ask the question- what constitutes violence? What is being expressed when we speak of violence? Will our study of political violence, require us to essentialize a phenomenon that has no essence? It is true that by individualizing each of the periods, each of the events whose causes it seeks to explain, history provides us with the context and legitimacy (or not ) for violence. Moreover, when we examine the role of violence in history, we simultaneously examine the terms of power relations, how power is secured, how it is perpetuated, and how it is controlled. In that way, a study of violence is also a study of social relations. Nevertheless, is there a law of violence?
Prof. Purushottam Agarawal (Member, UPSC), Prof. Pushpesh Pant (Professor,JNU) and Shri. Dilip Simeon (Academic and Eminent Journalist)
Post Lunch Session:
Prof. Nivedita Menon (Professor, JNU) and Shri. Saurav Vajpeyi (Research Scholar, JNU)
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