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18 Sep, 2013

Riots, violence and the power of perception -The Times Of India

Recently a town called Muzaffarnagar in Northern India has been torn apart by what is labeled Hindu-Muslim sectarian violence. Many people are outraged but sadly, behind a lot of the outrage are the calculations of people who already know how they want to view what happened. Therefore the sad fact is that the conversation about who is culpable, who started the violence and who patronised it can never end.

With the kind of technology available today, which of course has so many benefits, fake photos, videos and other material goes viral on the Internet. This has been the case in Muzaffarnagar and no one particularly cares for the truth but only how they can benefit from what happened. On the other hands there are hundreds of photos depicting the mass migration of entire villages, of frightened and teary faces of little girls and boys, of those who survived horrific injuries and of those who have been affected in some way. The problem then is of how we view these photographs and therefore the people depicted in them. The wider issue becomes one of what language to use to talk about them. When you see two young sisters holding hands in the middle of crowd, separated from their families, do you see Muslims, Hindus, Jats, Shias, Sunnis, Dalits, Christians, Buddhists?

Read the rest: Riots, violence and the power of perception by Counterflows : Ali Khan Mahmudabad’s blog-The Times Of India.