Authors : Jesani, Amar
Published Year: 1996
14th International Conference on the Social Sciences and Medicine Peebles Hotel Hydro, Scotland, 2-6 September 1996, 8 p.
The mainstream social sciences in India have largely ignored the fact that India is a very violent society. Although the investigation and documentation of political violence was started in a systematic manner by many small voluntary groups and the media much earlier (the 19 months of State of Internal Emergency in the mid 1970s provided impetus to it), the mainstream social sciences had not taken sufficient interest in the phenomenon. The other forms of social and political violence, viz. gender, caste, communal etc. were also analysed inadequately. However, the decade of 1980s has heralded some change. For example, three edited volumes by Prof. A.R. Desai (1986, 1990, 1991) and in his recent study of Gujarat (with D’Costa, 1994) have brought together collection of documents and writings on the political violence and violation of democratic rights which would have otherwise found less recognition in the social science discourse. Similarly, social scientists have also started paying attention to the communal violence and violence against women. For example, the works of Asgharali Engineer, Veena Das (1992), Flavia Agnes (1990, 1992), Chhaya Datar (1992), Vibhuti Patel and many others have done much needed conceptual and empirical work on the subject. Due to their work certain types of violence which suffered from social taboos, such as rape, wife beating, child abuse etc have now found a place in the social science discourse and in the campaigns of concerned organisations. In fact, these concerns have altered the political agendas of many social and political movements. At the same time this has brought in its wake more concern for the victims and survivors of violence.