GUJARAT 2002: HINDU-MUSLIM TENSIONS IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

October 6, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Asia, Economics, History, India, Research, Third World | Leave a comment

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2002 Gujarat riots and the Historical Legacy of

Hindu-Muslim Tensions in India

Sabarmati Express

The Sabarmati Express is a train route/schedule that connects the city of Ahmedabad, India to cities in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The train route may take up to two days to complete the journey.

It travels through Madhya Pradesh Via. Ratlam Junction, Ujjain Junction and Bina Junction

On February 27, 2002, cabin S6 of the train was attacked and burnt at Godhra, killing 58 Hindu pilgrims, which lead to the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Trade, Institutions and Religious Tolerance: Evidence from India
Saumitra Jha

Stanford University- Graduate School of Business

January 10, 2008

Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 2004
Abstract:
his paper analyses the incentives that shaped Hindu and Muslim interaction in India’s towns from the rise of Islam to the rise of European intervention in the 17th century; it argues that differences in the degree to which medieval Hindus and Muslims could provide complementary, non-replicable services and a mechanism to share the gains from exchange has resulted in a sustained legacy of religious tolerance.

Due to Muslim-specific advantages in Indian Ocean shipping, incentives to trade across ethnic lines were strongest in medieval trading ports, leading to the development of institutional mechanisms that further supported inter-religious exchange.

Using new town-level data spanning India’s medieval and colonial history, this paper finds that medieval trading ports were 25 percent less likely to experience a religious riot between 1850-1950, two centuries after Europeans disrupted Muslim dominance in overseas shipping. Medieval trading ports continued to exhibit less widespread religious violence during the Gujarat riots in 2002. The paper shows that these differences are not the result of variation in geography, political histories, wealth, religious composition or of medieval port selection, and interprets these differences as being transmitted via the persistence of institutions that emerged to support inter-religious medieval trade.

The paper further characterises these institutions and the lessons they yield for reducing contemporary ethnic conflict.

Keywords: Trade, Institutions, Complementarities, Religion, Ethnic Conflict, Peace

JEL Classifications: F10, N25, O17, Z12

Working Paper Series

Date posted: October 19, 2008 Last revised: October 22, 2008

Maintaining Peace across Ethnic Lines:

New Lessons from the Past

This research project so far includes two studies, one theoretical and one empirical, that explore lessons from medieval Indian Ocean trade for supporting ethnic tolerance in contemporary settings. A short policy-oriented overview has been published in the EPSJ.

A theory of ethnic tolerance (coming soon) develops a general model of inter-ethnic trade and violence in environments where there are “local” and “non-local” ethnic groups. The paper focuses on finding strategies that support peaceful co-existence over time: no one prefers to leave or to engage in violence with a member of a different ethnic group. The model suggests that three conditions are necessary to support peaceful coexistence between these groups over time: complementarities between groups, a high cost to replicate or expropriate the source of another group’s complementarity, and a mechanism to share the gains from inter-group exchange.

The article then shows how these conditions were satisfied among Hindus and Muslim traders from the rise of Islam to European ascendance in the 17th century. Due to Muslim-specific advantages in Indian Ocean shipping, incentives to trade across ethnic lines were strongest in medieval ports, leading to the development of institutions to support inter-religious exchange.The paper characterises the institutions that emerged to bolster religious tolerance in these towns during the medieval period and that continued to support religious tolerance two centuries after the decline of Muslim dominance in overseas trade (see below). Finally, the paper draws lessons from the theory and India‘s institutional legacy to understand why ethnic tolerance fails and how tolerance may be fostered in contemporary settings.

Trade, institutions, and religious tolerance: evidence from India tests whether the institutions of religious tolerance that emerged to support inter-ethnic exchange in medieval Indian ports have had a lasting effect on contemporary religious tolerance in India. Using new town-level data spanning India’s medieval and colonial history, this paper finds that medieval trading ports were 25% less likely to experience a religious riot between 1850-1950, two centuries after Europeans eliminated Muslim advantages in trade. Medieval trading ports continued to exhibit fewer and less widespread religious violence during the Gujarat riots in 2002. The paper shows that these differences are not the result of variation in geography, political histories, wealth, religious composition, of trade outside the medieval period or of the endogeneity of medieval port selection, and interprets these differences as being transmitted via the persistence of institutions that emerged to support inter-religious medieval trade.

Saumitra Jha
Assistant Professor of Political Economy
Assistant Professor of Economics and of Political Science (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences
Email: jha_saumitra at gsb.stanford.edu
Address: 518 Memorial Way, Stanford, California, 94305-5015

2002 Gujarat riots and the Historical Legacy of Hindu-Muslim

Tensions in India

Sabarmati Express

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