ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Narasimha Rao government and the Mandal-Mandir issue (1991-1996) (tentative title)


Leone fabio - University of Bologna, Department of Political and social sciences, Bologna, Italy


39 – Citizens at Risk: Caste, Violence and State Institutions in India


 In the first half of the 1990s India found itself at a crossroads: severe economic crisis; high level of political violence; threats to the integrity of the nation; the international context thoroughly changed.  Nevertheless, by 1996 India had achieved significant economic  liberalisation, new improved relations, and separatist threats had been defused. All these critical achievements were accomplished under the government of Narasimha Rao (1991-1996). The Rao government attempted to deal with the so-called Mandal and Mandir issues. The Rao government addressed the caste-based violence. Similarly, Rao government also dealt with the Hindu fundamentalism (Hindutva) and the BJP (as its political wing). However, both these attempts were not entirely successful.The paper will try to investigate the ambiguities that have marked out the relations between Narasimha Rao (and his government) and the Hindu fundamentalism, and anti-Muslim violence (sketching the Rao role, for example, in the anti-Muslim violence after the intra-community riots of 1947 in Hyderabad as well as in the Babri Masjid crisis of Ayodhya).At the same time, it will try to investigate the ambiguities in the relations between Rao and the caste-based violence.The inquiry of these ambiguities of so significant political actors and within of so important historical moments can help to understand the persistence over time of both the Hindu fundamental and the caste-based violence.