Ideological Violence

This morning I realised something. Delhi is probably the most violent metro in the country when it comes to stuff like general rudeness, road rage, sexual harassment and rape, and beatings and brawls. But it has the least ideological violence.

So although Bombay, Bangalore and Chennai are more easygoing in general, they all have these bouts of ideological or political party sponsored violence. In Bombay you have the MNS beating up anybody who isn’t a Marathi manoos, in Bangalore the Kannada Rakshana Vedike goes about rioting against Tams and outsiders, and in Chennai you have regular outbreaks of either caste violence or anti Sri Lanka riots. If you insist on calling Calcutta a metro, they have Bangla bandhs.

Apart from the stain of the anti-Sikh pogrom twenty four years ago, Delhi has mostly been free of organised rioting and violence.

0 Responses to Ideological Violence

  1. sujay says:

    So are you implying that the ‘non-ideological violence’ is in fact an ideal catharsis/ vent to release pent-up frustrations? Because most cases of ideological violence are an expression of the same frustrations, only by a group of wrongly motivated people who coincidentally belong to the same community/ idealogy, no?

    Oh also – Saying ‘Apart from one spike, everything else is blah blah blah’ is like the turkey from the Black Swan book saying ‘Just because I haven’t been eaten by these nice humans who feed me good stuff every day, there’s no reason to believe that my days are numbered’. Just a thought.

    • Aadisht says:

      No, I don’t believe that everyday violence is catharsis that prevents ideological violence and wasn’t trying to imply it. By the way, Delhi does have outbreaks of organised violence every now and then – a whole neighbourhood will burn down a transformer after an hours-long power cut or thrash a guy who’s run somebody living there down. It was just an observation. If you want me to get into reasons or analysis, then my guess is that everyone in Delhi is so tuned into how to beat the system individually that they don’t bother to beat it as an entire bloc.

      The Taleb’s turkey point is a good one. But again my point was more to express relief that we haven’t had anything since 1984 while the other cities had stuff all through the past two years.

  2. Atulya says:

    Ethnically, culturally and linguistically, Delhi is by far the most homogeneous city compared to any of the other cities you mentioned.
    Sure, you have non-Punjew, non-UPite people there too, but not in the hordes that Tams and Gults move to Bangalore; or Bhaiyas, South Indians and pretty much every one else moving to Mumbai.
    Basically, there’s never been a need for organized rioting in Delhi. And on the rare occasion that they did have a need (a la Sikhs vs Hindu Congress I supporters), we all know what happened.

  3. VK says:

    Most policemen in Delhi are from Haryana.. you don’t mess with them, not if you know what’s good for you.

    Of course, when the govt tacitly approves of violence.. everything turns on its head and you see carnage of the sort that other metros haven’t seen.

  4. Jatkesha says:

    The 1984 riots are enough to leave a blemish on the face of Delhi. Whatever happens in Bangalore, Chennai or anywhere else is just minor and can be contained quite easily. In fact, it has been contained quite easily – for e.g. riots during Rajkumar’s death.

    Also, in places like Bangalore, Chennai where “ideological” violence happens, they are least expected. You never know when it happens. In case of a place like Delhi where you hear a rape incident every other day, there is a kind of fear that is developed in you which isn’t the case with the other cities.

    Though I speak fluent Hindi (sans the expletives aimed at one’s mother, daughter and sister), I found life in Delhi quite hard.

  5. You’re right. I’ve given it some thought too. I guess it’s because no one ethnic group can really lay claim to Delhi. As for the Sikh riots – they took place across the country. My husband has memories of them and we had Sikhs fleeing down the road in our small town of UP, their belongings scattered on the roads and their houses on fire.

  6. Manav says:

    Haha, you’ve got the anti-Delhi brigade’s back up, haven’t you, Aadisht?

    Delhi is homogeneous, Atulya? That’s news?

    Also, Bangalore is a metro- Kolkata isn’t?

  7. Bhavya says:

    I love how people south of the Vindhyas accuse TDCs of thinking they’re all madrasis when they in turn think Delhi is “culturally, ethnically homogeneous”. Hypocrites.

    Which part of the Rajkumar rioting was “contained easily”? The city was shut down for 2 days. Because a film star died. Of natural causes. Law and Order EPIC FAIL. Honestly, Delhi bashing goes on way too much and way too easily by people living in what are considerably shittier cities in India.

    Secondly, to VK, the government didn’t “tacitly approve of violence”. Violence was carried out by Congress party workers. This wasn’t spontaneous rioting by the people that the police/government turned a blind eye to; it was instigated and carried out by the ruling party.

    • Aadisht says:

      Monkee, it is your South of Hebbal Flyover racism that makes you think that Delhi is homogeneous. There are several Vaish-Aggarwals, Old Delhi Muslims, and rural Delhi Jats and Gujjars who would like to take the matter up with you.

      VK, the police is brutal all over India. It’s possible that rioters are comfortable with a certain level of brutality but put givvup once it reaches Jat levels. But still…

      Jatkesha, you are smoking Shivji-ka-Prasad if you think that other cities contain violence easily or that it can’t be anticipated. When the court verdict for the Cauvery water dispute was being announced, people had made plans the previous week itself to scarper early to home. Likewise Chhat Puja in Mumbai. When Raj T was arrested, my office was down the road from the Bandra sessions court where he was being brought – there were easily five hundred policemen around to keep the Sainiks in check. The lawyers strike and the anti-Sri Lanka protests shut down Chennai for days.

      the mad momma, Old Delhi ‘aristocracy’ has been laying claim to Delhi and protesting about these vulgar Punjabis (see William Dalrymple). Simultaneously, vulgar Punjabis have been claiming Delhi without ever laying a claim.

      Manav, no Kolkata is not a metro. It is part of the vast rural slum called Bengal where the population density is slightly higher.

      Bhavya, what you said.

  8. […] Alas! Alamak! My post on ideological violence in Delhi and other cities has provoked controversy in the comments, with various people accusing me of […]

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