Presentation Title

Devotional Religious Practice as Trauma-Informed Response to Nationalist Polarization

Start Date

10-2-2021 11:45 AM

End Date

10-2-2021 12:15 PM

Proposal Type

Presentation

Proposal Description

More than either cause of conflict or source of reconciliation, religious devotional practices are critical, and under-utilized, resources for responding to growing nationalistic conflict and polarization. While national leaders often narrate instances of collective violence as inevitable, even primordial, they stoke the flames of nativist resentment for their own political ends. This is particularly apparent in the case of modern India, where religion is defined by devotional practices and is often used by powerful elites to push majoritarian agendas. Often, religious devotional beliefs and practices, though trauma-informed and practical responses to violent and destructive conflict, are sidelined as possible sources for peaceful change. The February 2020 “communal riots” in New Delhi, India are a case in point. Just hours after Air Force One took off from Delhi on the night of February 25th, 2020, India’s capital was rocked with the worst violence it has seen since the 1984 anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Through case study and narrative/discourse analysis methodologies this paper presentation will explore religious hermeneutics and networks/practices of devotionalism as key resources in an era of growing nationalist polarization. As nativist political calculations overshadow isolationist leaders’ compassion and courage in facing violence, the role of religious devotionalism, belief, and practice are a critical resource for conflict resolution and peacebuilding. More than primordial “bloodletting” the case of on-going Indian communalism provides a unique and informative case study from which to develop trauma-informed peacebuilding practices.

Additional Comments

Keywords:

Nationalism, Communalism, Religion and Peace, Trauma-informed peace practice, Peacebuilding, Polarization, Sectarian violence, India, Hindu, Muslim.

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Feb 10th, 11:45 AM Feb 10th, 12:15 PM

Devotional Religious Practice as Trauma-Informed Response to Nationalist Polarization

More than either cause of conflict or source of reconciliation, religious devotional practices are critical, and under-utilized, resources for responding to growing nationalistic conflict and polarization. While national leaders often narrate instances of collective violence as inevitable, even primordial, they stoke the flames of nativist resentment for their own political ends. This is particularly apparent in the case of modern India, where religion is defined by devotional practices and is often used by powerful elites to push majoritarian agendas. Often, religious devotional beliefs and practices, though trauma-informed and practical responses to violent and destructive conflict, are sidelined as possible sources for peaceful change. The February 2020 “communal riots” in New Delhi, India are a case in point. Just hours after Air Force One took off from Delhi on the night of February 25th, 2020, India’s capital was rocked with the worst violence it has seen since the 1984 anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Through case study and narrative/discourse analysis methodologies this paper presentation will explore religious hermeneutics and networks/practices of devotionalism as key resources in an era of growing nationalist polarization. As nativist political calculations overshadow isolationist leaders’ compassion and courage in facing violence, the role of religious devotionalism, belief, and practice are a critical resource for conflict resolution and peacebuilding. More than primordial “bloodletting” the case of on-going Indian communalism provides a unique and informative case study from which to develop trauma-informed peacebuilding practices.