New Lives in Anand
Building a Muslim Hub in Western India
- PUBLISHED: January 2022
- SUBJECT LISTING: Anthropology, Asian Studies / South Asia
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 216 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 3 b&w illus., 2 maps, 11 tables
- SERIES: Global South Asia
- ISBN: 9780295749648
Open access edition: DOI 10.6069/9780295749655
In 2002 widespread communal violence tore apart hundreds of towns and villages in rural parts of Gujarat, India. In the aftermath, many Muslims living in Hindu-majority villages sought safety in the small town of Anand, some relocating with the financial assistance of their relatives overseas. Following such dramatic displacement and disorientation, Anand emerged as a site of opportunity and hope. For its residents and transnational visitors, Anand’s Muslim area is not just a site of marginalization; it has become an important focal point and regional center from which they can participate in the wider community of Gujarat and reimagine society in more inclusive terms.
This compelling ethnography shows how in Anand the experience of residential segregation led not to estrangement or closure but to distinctive practices of mobility and exchange that embed Muslim residents in a variety of social networks. In doing so, New Lives in Anand moves beyond established notions of ghettoization to foreground the places, practices, and narratives that are significant to the people of Anand. It asks how people get on with their lives after an episode of violence to create new spaces and societies and to reconfigure their sense of belonging.
New Lives in Anand is available in an open access edition through the Sustainable History Monograph Pilot, thanks to the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Authors & Contributors
Sanderien Verstappen is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Vienna.
This important and timely study of Indian Muslims and, in particular, Muslims of Gujarat, fills an urgent need for literature on how Muslims in India view themselves.- Farhana Ibrahim, author of From Family to Police Force: Security and Belonging on a South Asian Border
Remarkable and pioneering. The impact of communal violence on the ghettoization of the Muslims of India is assessed quantitatively and accounted for qualitatively.- Christophe Jaffrelot, coeditor of Muslims in Indian Cities: Trajectories of Marginalisation
In this closely-observed, beautifully-written ethnography, Sanderien Verstappen takes up the question of how communities learn to live together after episodes of significant violence. The answer is that, in some cases, former victims remake and reorient what have been marginal spaces into hubs of empowerment. This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of how spaces become places and of how insiders experience them quite differently than outsiders. It is an essential tool for academics, planners, and policymakers alike.- Peggy Levitt, author of Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display