Mohile Parikh Centre for Contemporary Culture (MPC3), Bombay
March 25th, 2005
11.00 am - 1.30 pm

Citizenship as Identity in Post 9/11 Nations

The notion of ‘othering’ the marginalised communities propagated by the U.S. in its “global war on terror” in the post 9/11 scenario, has had ripple effects in various countries which are bogged down by internal civil and political discords. In an attempt to integrate and harmonise national and inter-national measures of combating terrorism which is perceived as a globally coordinated threat, domestic unrest was hoisted upon the international agenda to enforce draconian laws.For countries with a colonial past, today it is the U.S. who dictate the notions of citizenship. During an earlier era, European colonialism and imperialism merged to create the notions of ‘othering’ native communities and legitimising dictatorial governance. Hatred against Muslims is not new within the Indian context, and the idea of a racial superiority of the Aryan race that has evolved in fascist Germany has found an echo here among right-wing Hindu fundamentalists. But this concept got a renewed mandate and legitimacy during the state sponsored carnage in Gujarat in March-April 2002, where around 3000 people from the minority Muslim community were killed and women were subjected to extreme sexual brutalities. This was followed by the enactment of draconian laws under the pretext of curbing ‘Islamic terrorism’. The paper will contextualize these domestic developments within a global perspective of the post 9\11 scenario as well as the colonial legacy of the country.

Flavia Agnes is a lawyer, researcher and activist based in Bombay. She is the co-founder of Majlis, centre for rights discourse and alternative cultural initiatives. She has played an important role in bringing women’s rights to the forefront within the legal system and in contextualizing issues of gender and identity. Author of many publications on citizenship, gender and rights, Flavia is also involved in dialoguing with various governments agencies concerning women and minority rights. She is also the recipient of many awards for her outstanding work on gender, law and minority rights.

Respondent: Sitaram Kakarala, legal scholar (Bangalore)



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