Modern Asian Studies



The 1992 Calcutta Riot in Historical Continuum: A Relapse into ‘Communal Fury’?


Suranjan  Das 

Abstract

Calcutta's failure to insulate itself from the communal hysteria that plagued the length and breadth of India in the aftermath of the demolition of Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 came as a rude shock to the city's intelligentsia. True, the Great Calcutta Killing of August 1946 had initiated a vicious circle of communal rioting in the subcontinent climaxing in the ‘truncated settlement’ of 15 August 1947. The events of 1946–47 were viewed by left-wing intellectuals as a defeat of radicalism in post-Second World War Bengal politics. But the structural disarticulation between class and politics experienced during these Partition days was rapidly bridged in the western half of British Bengal that came to form a part of the Indian union. While other regions of India continued to be struck by periodic bouts of Hindu–Muslim violence, West Bengal remained relatively free of the communal virus. Calcutta, its capital city, emerged as the crucible of the country's left and democratic politics.



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