Sticks, Stones, and the Secular Bones of Indian Democracy

Monamie Bhadra Haines, Sreela Sarkar


While being inspired by the compelling social protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens in India, the authors of this critical engagement argue that now, more than ever, is time to reflect on the nature of secularism that is being invoked by nonviolent protesters. What can a focus on lathi-wielding and stone-throwing, all low technologies of governance, tell us about the practices and challenges of liberal democracy in India? This piece excavates a brief history of the lathi and stone-pelting to show what kinds of "illiberal" protests are deemed aesthetically pleasing and palatable to elites in India and abroad, which ones are not, and the dangers of this kind of exclusion with respect to new forms of Islamophobia.


India; social movements; Citizenship Amendment Act; Islamophobia

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Copyright (c) 2020 Monamie Bhadra Haines, Sreela Sarkar

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