Advertisement
Friday, Dec 03, 2021
Outlook.com
Review

Riots: A State of Mind

A member of a mob is not only angry, he has a sense of low personal risk

Riots: A State of Mind
Sherwin Crasto/AP
Riots: A State of Mind
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Consider a few of the many assumptions about riots prevalent in our country: economic factors, such as competition between groups for resources, are the underlying cause for ethnic riots. A riot is motivated by an envy of prosperous ethnic groups, such as a trading minority, which are then selected as targets. A riot is organised by manipulative leaders seeking political gain. Increasing prosperity following economic development will lessen the frequency of ethnic rioting.

All the available evidence demonstrates that these assumptions are hoary myths which are likely to lead efforts at controlling ethnic violence seriously astray. There may indeed be the involvement of economic rivals within the violence but such economic rivalries are not the cause of a riot. Similarly, politicians may use the riot after the fact and may try to organise it in advance but usually find that the rioting mobs will not act according to their plans. With few exceptions, the target group for violence meets one or more of the following criteria: it has a history of a long-standing enmity with the other group even if the level of enmity is sometimes vastly exaggerated, it is perceived as aggressive, constitutes a political threat or is one whose domestic strength appears to be augmented by its extra-territorial affinities, as is the case with the Tamils in Sri Lanka, Bengalis in Assam and Muslims in much of India.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Kashmir Statehood: Omar Abdullah Goes All Guns Blazing In Jammu Road Shows

Kashmir Statehood: Omar Abdullah Goes All Guns Blazing In Jammu Road Shows

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah hit the road and held multiple rallies in Jammu in a first since the abrogation of Article 370 despite no elections in sight in J&K.

Beasts Of Burden: Why Maharashtra Farmers Are Abandoning Their Cattle

Beasts Of Burden: Why Maharashtra Farmers Are Abandoning Their Cattle

With farmers in Maharashtra reeling under crop failures and mounting debts, rearing milch cattle has not remained a profitable option.

Mumbai Test: Kohli Returns But India Face Selection Conundrum

Mumbai Test: Kohli Returns But India Face Selection Conundrum

With Virat Kohli making a return and rain forecast in Mumbai, India will be forced to make changes. Here's a look at India's likely XI.

Maharashtra Farmers Look For 'Love' Amid Continued Woes And Degrading Social Status

Maharashtra Farmers Look For 'Love' Amid Continued Woes And Degrading Social Status

Maharashtra’s social fabric is undergoing a tough change. While the sons of farmers are finding it an uphill task to get brides, their sisters do not want farmers as husbands.

Advertisement