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Ajay Verghese
The Colonial Origins of Ethnic Violence in India

The Center for Ideas and Society presents a book talk with Ajay Verghese, Assistant Professor of the Political Science Department. “The neighboring north Indian districts of Jaipur and Ajmer are identical in language, geography, and religious and caste demography. But, when the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya was destroyed in 1992, Jaipur burned while Ajmer remained peaceful. When state clashes occurred over low-caste affirmative action quotas in 2008, Ajmer’s residents rioted while Jaipur’s citizens stayed calm. What explains these divergent patterns of ethnic conflict across multiethnic states? Using archival research and interviews in five case studies spanning north, south, and east India, as well as a quantitative analysis of 589 districts, Ajay Verghese shows that British colonial legacies drive contemporary conflict.”

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