UNDER RECONSTRUCTION -- Our new beautifully-designed, fully responsive site will soon be unveiled...

Community Warriors

State, Peasants and Caste Armies in Bihar

Ashwani Kumar

Community Warriors

A thorough and cogent analysis of society, politics and violence in the Indian state of Bihar.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9781843317098
March 2009 | 240 Pages | 234 x 155mm / 9.2 x 6.1
PRICE:  £25.00  /  $40.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com

About This Book

'A brilliant theoretical construct and iconoclastic exposition of contemporary reality in Bihar. The reason for emergence of Caste Senas and their diabolic ramification has not been researched so thoroughly earlier.' —Shaibal Gupta, Member Secretary, Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Patna, India

'‘Community Warriors’ offers an incisive and novel analysis of the rather distinct phenomenon of private caste armies in the Indian state of Bihar. Hindu extremists, predatory politicians, Maoist revolutionaries, brutal landlords, peasants and other subalterns mingle together in this riveting narrative of oppression and resistance in a land characterized as much by its 'feudal' social structures as by immense political vitality.' —Vinay Lal, Associate Professor of History, University of California at Los Angeles, USA

This book dissects the politicization of caste massacres and provides a provocative portrayal of the private caste armies operant in so-called ‘barbaric-Bihar’. Mediating between predatory politicians and radical Maoists, Kumar argues that these caste armies act as both a surrogate arm of the state and a violent defender of their community’s self-perceived purity. His focus on vicious agrarian conflicts and the increasing powerlessness to deal with these conflicts challenges transcendental notions of the state’s autonomy and the legitimacy.

‘Community Warriors’ is anchored in historically and politically constructed notions of identity, power and ethnic allegiance. The book’s lucid narrative style facilitates a seamless passage through the sociocultural history of post-independence Bihar and unravels the disturbing aspects of the march of democracy in this much feared and also promising ‘heart of India’. Kumar addresses the issues of the process of democratization, ethnic conflict, state power, social movements, Dalit politics and peasant unrest, providing a key to understanding contemporary India.

Readership: Scholars and research students in the field of Indian history and politics.

Author Information

Ashwani Kumar is Associate Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and is also associated with Global Governance Research Network at German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; The Emergence of Private Caste Armies in the State of Bihar: Divergent Approaches; (Un)Civil Society of Land, Caste and Social Violence; Political Power Struggles and Fractured State Power; A Tale of Caste Senas: Surrogate Arms of the State; The Ranvir Sena: Political Entrepeneurs or Community Warriors?; Conclusion; Appendix; Notes; Glossary; Index