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Justice Before Reconciliation

Sociologist and writer Prof Dipankar Gupta talks about Gujarat 10 years after the 2002 riots, and states that there is absolutely no evidence that the Muslim victims of violence have been influenced by fundamentalists

In this lecture organised by CCDS’s youth outreach programme Open Space to mark the 10th anniversary of the Gujarat riots, eminent sociologist Dipankar Gupta discusses the role of faith-based organisations in post-conflict recovery and rehabilitation in Gujarat. Their role is critical, he says, but is often overlooked by secular organisations and the state. It is the Muslim organisations that have been most active in constructing homes for thousands of internally displaced families, and they have done this without any pre-conditions. The schools they have set up impart modern/secular education to children. There is absolutely no evidence that those who have suffered violence at the hands of another community, particularly the majority community, are instinctively drawn towards a rigid adherence to their religion and become captives of fundamentalists.

Interestingly, while the majority community that inflicts pain and devastation often does so in the name of being the legitimate "people" of the country, the minority community reacts in the name of being "citizens". It is this tension that needs to be paid attention to.

Dipankar Gupta retired as Professor, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharalal Nehru University in July 2009. He has been Visiting Professor to several universities and has authored and edited 16 books. His most recent book Justice Before Reconciliation: Towards a New Normal in Post-Riot Mumbai and Ahmedabad was published by Routledge India in 2011.

In 2010 he was awarded Chevalier De L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government.