representation in the govt services, higher administration, and even in the army. Sheuncovers that their proper representation in the hierarchy of power has made themvulnerable to violence.
Chapter four, ‘I can harden my heart to bear this: women’s words and women’s worlds (pp.
113-153), contains particularly revealing insights. In it Robinson explores the extent to whichwomen and men speak differently about the violence that they have experienced. It iswidely accepted that communal violence is gendered, but Robinson helps us to understand
more clearly how and why this is the case. Women’s narratives,
she concludes, are tingedwith personal sadness, while those of men are couched in more abstract terms. However,
what adds extra value to this chapter is the way in which it demonstrates ‘differences’
between women themselves. Hence, there are variations between the narratives of women
interviewed in Mumbai and in Gujarat, with the voices of Gujarati women seem ‘splinteredand caught up in images of distress ’, while ‘those from Mumbai showed a greater tendency
to mould themselves into fuller and more compl
ete narratives’ (p. 140).
In Chapter five, Fissures in a time of crisis (pp. 154-193) she takes the discussion outside thehome into the world of community members and leaders working with the survivors of communal violence, and there seeks to explore the
‘negotiated intricacies of the “real”’ (p.
157). Here we learn about the ways in which the pain of these events has not necessarilybrought Muslim communities together, as might be expected, but has led to processes of community fragmentation and increased sectarian antagonisms.
In the sixth chapter, ‘Breaching boundaries: experiments in remaking the world’
(pp.196-224), she has given the life stories of some Muslim men and women activists about theirpost-riot life and through it discusses some of the women issues, muslin laws relating tothem etc. Then the author starts with giving an account about the life and work of a Muslimboy Altaf who is caught with the dilemma after he is told by his neighbours and familymembers that his father died in the riot of 1985. Despite the wound, he has taken up thework of social service to assist the riot victims in his area.In the last chapter
Through a dark tunnel: the face of the future
(pp.224-250), the author istalking about some core issues of discrimination in the fields of law, protection andeducation etc. she states that where there is no education, where is no job for the
educated, no protection of life and property and no dignity of life…How can we talk about
maintaining law and order? (pp.224). She then focuses upon the harassing laws of TADA andPOTA and their misuse by the state forces to prosecute the minority Muslims. She quotes
the eminent writer Arundhati Roy “in Tamilnadu the POTA is used to stifle the criticism of
the state govt., in Jharkhand it is used to threaten the tribal to punish as the Maoists, in U.P.it is clamped down against those who protest for the alienation of their land and livelihood
and in Gujarat it is mainly being used against the Muslims.” Later she brings the explanation
of exploitation by Young and then has focussed upon the education of the minorityMuslims.