It was with keen and eager expectation that I picked up and perused Chad M Bauman’s Anti-Christian Violence in India (originally published by Cornell University Press, 2020). The book is a timely contribution to understanding an issue of extreme significance not just to the Indian Christian community but also to the secular-democratic fabric of India itself. Much has indeed been written on the subject, but a dispassionate view, on which remedial thinking may be based, is rare to come by. The book under review, I expected, would fill that vacuum.
The book has many strengths. It is not the task of a reviewer to expatiate on all of them exhaustively. His/her remit is to raise expectations, or signal caution, as the case might be, in relation to what might be expected of the work examined. Anti-Christian Violence in India is a well-researched and tightly argued work on a polyphonous and emotive issue, complicated further by proximity in time. The academic rigour the author maintains is laudable, except that the theoretical framework he labours to evolve could seem cumbersome, and loosely meshed with the empirical meat of the book, to non-specialist readers.