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Title: Negotiating violence : the construction of identity amongst Adivasi Christians in Udaipur district, Rajasthan
Author: Kalra, Nikhila
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 3116
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis elucidates processes of identity construction that have taken place amongst Bhil Christians in Udaipur district, Rajasthan, in the context of the endemic anti- Christian violence that has been carried out by Hindu nationalist organisations and adherents in this area since the late 1990s. My work explores how Bhil Christians engage with this, and seeks to make both an empirical and analytical contribution to existing analyses of anti-Christian violence by shifting the focus away from the construction of majoritarian Hindu identities in India's tribal belt, and placing it instead on the minority Christian community. Utilising a tripartite typology of violence (direct, structural and cultural) as its starting point, this thesis addresses questions of how Bhil Christians construct and perform their identity in this context, and how they understand and negotiate their relationships with both non-Christian communities and the state in their localities. This aims to situate Christians as agents in the construction of their own identities, rather than simply having 'otherness' imposed on them as a result of Hindu nationalist mobilization and rhetoric. This study shows that Bhil Christians are involved in a dualistic process of strategically emphasizing both difference and similarity between Christians and Hindus, while making recourse to an overarching adivasi identity that, in various ways, serves to challenge and often undermine the damaging constructions of Christianity that are propagated by the Sangh Parivar. At the same time, they foreground a Christian identity that is decisively shaped by notions of agency, moral uplift, and assertion; these are ideas that are informed by longer histories of adivasi self- and community making, but have acquired important new meaning and relevance in the context of anti-Christian violence.
Supervisor: Gooptu, Nandini Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Christianity--India ; Christianity and other religions--India ; Hinduism--Relations--Christianity ; Conversion--Christianity ; Tribes--India--Rajasthan ; Adivasis--Religious life--India--Rajasthan ; Religion and politics--India--Rajasthan ; Rajasthan (India)--Social conditions