'The Anatomy of Hate' by Revati Lau. Context 2018.
'The Anatomy of Hate' by Revati Lau. Context 2018.

How hate works

A new book profiles individuals who participated in the 2002 anti-Muslim Gujarat pogroms.

Commenting on the performance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Gujarat State Assembly elections in December 2017, where the incumbent party had barely managed a majority, journalist Revati Laul writes in her book The Anatomy of Hate, "In Gujarat, it seemed as if there was no more room for the hate to grow." In the context of the massive victory for the BJP in the 2019 general elections – in Gujarat alone, the BJP won all 26 parliamentary seats – it is ironic to read Laul's assessment – that they had gone "as far as they could".

Laul moved to Gujarat as a reporter with the Delhi-based news channel NDTV following the anti-Muslim pogroms of 2002. The widespread support among many Hindus for the anti-Muslim violence haunted her. Keen to understand the dynamics at play, she thought interviews with some of the perpetrators of the mob violence would be a good way to explore these complexities. After considering making a documentary film, and then writing a magazine cover story, Laul eventually decided on a book. Unsuccessful in obtaining grants from research foundations and institutions, she decided to crowdfund her journalistic project. Scheduled to run for 45 days, the crowdfunding campaign exceeded her target of INR 800,000 (USD 11,600) in about 15 days, the result of which was The Anatomy of Hate.

Loading content, please wait...
Himal Southasian