Final Project – A Dual India

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This picture, drawn using colored pencils, reflects a broken India, split in half by politics (quite literally).  On one half are Muslims, reflected by the Arabic symbol for Allah, and on the other is the likeness of Lord Ram, the Hindu god over whom much controversy was sparked in the 1990’s when the notion started circulated that a mosque had been built long ago over his birthplace.  This is in response to the article “Modern Hate,” by Susan and Lloyd Rudolph.  In a very literal manner, the drawing represents the “us versus them” mentality that has been brought about in recent years due to the politicization of religion, particularly in a place like India.  As the article explains, modern hate does not necessary stem from “ancient hatreds,” as Bill Clinton suggested in a comment  regarding ethnic tensions in then-Yugoslavia, but rather modern hatred is often very much contrived in the modern day.  A large part of this is due to the spread of mass media and the need for people form an identity, an “us,” and in order to do that, one needs an “other.” I found that Ram was a particularly apt symbol for the side of the Hindu’s, as the aforementioned controversy over the site of his birthplace, and the ensuing demolition of the mosque on that site by Hindu extremists, is a perfect example of religious tensions that can be politicized to a point where real damage and violence can occur.

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