Diversity, Economic Growth and Social Cohesion
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Maddy Janssens, Dino Pinelli, Dafne C. Reyman and Sandra Wallmann
Chapter 5: Cultural Diversity and Conflict in Multicultural Cities: The Case of Baroda
* Alaknanda Patel This chapter brings the focus to Baroda in the Indian state of Gujarat and traces changes in the structure and experience of diversity through historical time. Baroda provides important insights into the specifics of ethnic conflict. In Baroda, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jain, Jewish and Zoroastrian faiths each sustain their own cultural identity and lifestyle. This diversity is complicated by the fact that the large Hindu and Muslim populations are not uniform cultures; sub-groups defined by caste or sect have distinct social practices and habits of food and dress, and very different attitudes to one another. This case is a nice illustration of an approach based on ethnicity. There were clear fault lines, clear boundaries linked to cultural background. However, this type of outcome was only accepted in affluent times. As long as the economy was buoyant and the state secure, the various groups stayed separate in a prosperous ‘oasis of harmony and peace’. But in 1969 change began to shatter the mosaic. In 2002, with job growth at a 15-year low, widespread violence erupted between Hindus and Muslims, with rampant killing, looting and destruction of temples and property. It is crucial that in the ‘good diversity’ period, the two communities had an agreed set of rules, clear boundaries and a shared desire to oust the colonial British; and that in the ‘bad’ period the rules and boundaries are eroded and there is no longer a common issue. Opposition against the British (the common issue) kept negotiation open. As...
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