Taylor C. Sherman, Royal Holloway University of London
Retribution, not Rehabilitation: Everyday Violence in the Aftermath of the Police Action in Hyderabad
This paper is concerned with the way violence was interpreted in the aftermath of the Police Action in Hyderabad in September 1948. It looks at the disjuncture between two different levels of thinking about the events which occurred after the Police Action. In the highest echelons of government in Hyderabad, individual acts of aggression in the state were viewed within the larger frame of a subcontinent-wide economy of partition violence in which Hindus and Muslims suffered equally. At the same time, violence in Hyderabad was understood as the necessary renegotiation of local balances of power. I will argue that these interpretive shortcuts tacitly justified hostility towards Muslims in Hyderabad, and excused the government’s failure to prosecute the perpetrators of violence.