Accepted paper:

The "Wazirganj terror attack": local democracy, land development and religious revivalism

Authors:

Raphael Susewind (University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

One spark of violence, multiple readings: the "Wazirganj terror attack" of January 16, 2013, highlights how both vernacularized "democracy" and religious idioms are instrumental in transforming local political economies which rest on implicit (and at times explicit) violence.

Paper long abstract:

Lucknow, January 17, 2013 (Lucknow Shia News): a Shia mourner and a Hindu follower of Imam Husain were martyred late last night at Imambara Deputy Sahib when Wahabi terrorists fired indiscriminately at a Majlis. Lucknow, January 19, 2013 (Indian Express): a land developer and a bystander were shot dead in what sources described to be a business rivalry in the old town. Lucknow, January 21, 2013 (Dainik Jagran): yesterday, the state government appointed a Special Investigation Team to probe the attack in Wazirganj which sparked unrest throughout the old city, since many high-profile persons have been named in the FIRs. One spark of violence, multiple readings: the "Wazirganj terror attack" highlights the complexity of urban North India's contemporary political, economic and religious transformations. After the murderous attack and subsequent sectarian skirmishes, demonstrations were staged, politicians arrested, and religious gatherings reinvigorated. This paper discusses the political and economic micro setting of Wazirganj, its steady religious transformation over the last decades and the social positioning of key actors in order to contextualize the event. It highlights how both vernacularized "democracy" and religious idioms are instrumental in transforming local political economies - economies which nonetheless rest on implicit (and at times explicit) violence.

panel P07
Contemporary Lucknow: life with "too much history"