Shades of Violence in South Asia

1.6.2023 @ 9:30 – 16:15
Green lecture room (C141)
Celetná 20

09:30 Opening remarks: Lidia Sudyka and Martin Hříbek

09:40 Keynote address: The Violence of National Heritage in Sri Lanka

Frank J. Korom, Boston University/University of Heidelberg

The rise of Sri Lankan Buddhist nationalism has been slowly growing since the end of the protracted civil war between the government and the secessionist Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Now that hostilities between Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus have declined, the new target of Buddhist nationalism is Islam. Although violence against the island state’s Muslim minority dates back to a pogrom in 1915, there is a current push to reclaim sacred Islamic sites by arguing that Buddhist monuments were destroyed in order to erect Muslim ones. My presentation will focus on the Sufi shrine of Dafthar Jailani, which is located in the southwestern portion of the island on the southern escarpment of the Kandyan Hills known as Kuragala roughly twenty-two kilometers from the town of Balangoda in Sabaragamuwa Province. Named after Abdul Qadir Jilani, the so-called “saint of Baghdad”, the Sufi shrine has become contested terrain in recent years, despite a long and officially recognized history of its importance as a trading and pilgrimage route for Muslims visiting the island from the Middle East, since it was a stop along the way to both Ratnapura (the center of gem trading) and Adam’s Peak (the place where the first man fell to Earth from Paradise, according to Muslim belief). A Sinhala Buddhist nationalistic group known as the Bodu Bala Sena (“Buddhist Strength Society”) has been actively engaged in reclaiming the site and has already started the process of dismantling it. I argue that this phenomenon has become more politically charged since the end of the civil war, using “national heritage” as a rallying cry to bolster Buddhist majority claims.

11:00-12:15    Panel I           Chair: Zdeněk Štipl

Lidia Sudyka: The landscape of the battlefield: The case of Varadāmbikā-pariṇaya Campū by Tirumalāmbā

Tiziana Pontillo: Violence against oneself in Vedic and Epic heroic contexts

Ewa Dębicka-Borek: On thieves and devotees

Lunch break

13:30-14:45    Panel II         Chair: Tiziana Pontillo

Pavel Hons: Marks of violence in South Indian villages

Sanjukta Das Gupta: Everyday violence in eastern India: the Adivasi experience

Martin Hříbek: Approaches to violence among Bengali intelligentsia in early 20th century

Coffee Break

15:00-16:15    Panel III        Chair: Lidia Sudyka

Monika Browarczyk: Narratives of Violence Against Dalit Women

Blanka Knotková: Intersectional violence in selected Mahasweta Debi’s short stories

Hermina Cielas: Bombs and Shrapnels Drawing Verses: The Motif of Violence in Harshdev Madhav’s Poetry

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