Violence has moved to the “center stage of Indian public life,” according to Thomas Blom Hansen, an anthropologist at Stanford University.
He was perplexed as to why ordinary Indians appeared to “tacitly endorse or actively participate” in public violence. “This development signals a deep problem, a deformation and pathology that may pose a threat to the future of democracy,” Prof Hansen wrote in The Law of Force: The Violent Heart of Indian Politics, published in 2021.
Amit Ahuja and Devesh Kapur, two political scientists based in the United States, disagree. They argue in their upcoming book, Internal Security in India: Violence, Order, and the State, that large-scale violence in the country has actually decreased. To put it more precisely, “aggregate levels of violence in India – public and private – have declined in the first two decades of this century compared to the previous two decades”.