South Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Discursive Tremors in the Time of Reconstruction: Making Sense of Swaminarayan Village Rebuilding Projects and their Publics and Counterpublics

Saturday, July 7
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Cypress, New Building

More than half-a-generation after the 2001 Kutch earthquake struck a land long familiar with ruptures of the earth, it is another fissure, arising from this broken geography that concerns this paper.  During Kutch’s reconstruction phase, numerous “stakeholders” came forward to participate in village rebuilding thus playing a role in the re-envisioning of the society to be rebuilt.  Among the Government of Gujarat reconstruction partners was the “BAPS” Swaminarayan Sanstha who, in partnership with international and national agencies and private organisations, constructed fifteen villages and colonies.  In what image did BAPS, a Hindu community, rebuild villages; to whom can the spatial distribution of homes and other village structures be attributed; what is the response of villagers to their rebuilt landscape?


 


That the answers to these questions vary depending on who is asking and who is answering points to tensions that demand enquiry.  This paper examines the ethnographic record and the analytical categories deployed to interpret post-disaster Kutch.  Taking a genealogical approach and tracing the views offered by the Swaminarayan community, its publics, and its counterpublics, that is, the service providers, recipients of reconstruction, and critics of rebuilding, this paper evaluates post-reconstruction discourses not least for the need to critique the common association of religious nationalism with Gujarati religious organisations.  The paper’s objective is to open discussion and simultaneously narrow the meanings for discursive categories such as religious nationalism and social reform that impede efforts to better understand the complex landscape of religiously-motivated projects in Gujarat.

Send Email for Hanna Kim


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2 - Discursive Tremors in the Time of Reconstruction: Making Sense of Swaminarayan Village Rebuilding Projects and their Publics and Counterpublics



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