Religion, Poverty and Conflict in a Garbage Slum of Ahmedabad

International Area Studies Review (SAGE), 2016, Vol. 19(1) 60–7

16 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2016

See all articles by Jason Miklian

Jason Miklian

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO); University of Oslo - Centre for Development and the Environment

Ida Birkvad

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO)

Date Written: March 5, 2016

Abstract

Ahmedabad is often called an Indian ‘success story’ in terms of economic urbanization, but it is also a city highly segregated along religious and caste lines, and a flashpoint in the 2002 Hindu–Muslim riots that left thousands dead. Most of the Muslim communities relocated after the violence work in a vast informal sector around the city’s landfills and waste management peripheries that are disregarded by local government and endemic with corruption. While many scholars see this as a recipe for violent conflict, we explore the garbage slum community in Chandola to show that a leveling of social stratification and reduction of segregation amongst Hindu and Muslim communities in this slum results in a more congruous inter-group relationship than current literatures on the relationship between poverty, religion and violence might predict. However, their unity has come at the expense of jointly ‘othering’ an even more vulnerable group of newcomers – a Bangladeshi migrant community that is persecuted both by the state as well as by fellow residents. We show that while violence markers are constituted in new ways, challenging some assumptions of how inter-group violence is triggered, the fundamental societal weaknesses that facilitate such tensions remain prevalent despite changing conflict actor allegiances.

Keywords: India, ethnic violence, Ahmedabad, Hindu, Muslim, poverty, migration, Bangladeshis, Gujarat, othering, development, vulnerability, slum, urbanization

JEL Classification: O18, R00, I30, O19, O20

Suggested Citation

Miklian, Jason and Birkvad, Ida, Religion, Poverty and Conflict in a Garbage Slum of Ahmedabad (March 5, 2016). International Area Studies Review (SAGE), 2016, Vol. 19(1) 60–7, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2768480

Jason Miklian (Contact Author)

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) ( email )

Oslo
N-0260 Oslo
Norway

University of Oslo - Centre for Development and the Environment ( email )

P.O. Box 1116 Blindern
K1A 0G9
0317 Oslo
Norway

Ida Birkvad

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) ( email )

Oslo
N-0260 Oslo
Norway

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