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Halberstadt-Freud, H.C. (1997). The Colors of Violence: Cultural Identities, Religion and Conflict, Sudhir Kakar. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996, 217 pages.. Free Associations, 7(2):294-297.

(1997). Free Associations, 7(2):294-297

The Colors of Violence: Cultural Identities, Religion and Conflict, Sudhir Kakar. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996, 217 pages.

Review by:
H. C. Halberstadt-Freud

Man will suffer, man will fight,

even die, for what is right,

even though they know

they're only passing through.

Leonard Cohen

One Part of The population eats cows; the other honours them as holy animals. How can two peoples with such diametrically opposed beliefs live together in the same space? This conflict is not a problem of India alone, and is one social scientists should try to understand. Sudhir Kakar has written several books about sociopsychological topics, such as Intimate relations: exploring Indian sexuality. This book deals with male—female relations, religion, and the subordinate position of women, except as mothers of sons. The inner world: a psychoanalytic study of childhood and society in India explores the influence of culture and upbringing on psychic life. As a psychoanalyst, based in Delhi, the author is able to illustrate his writings with lively clinical examples. Shamans, mystics and doctors is an anthropological study based on field work exploring the different traditions of the diverse Hindu and Moslem subcultures in India. It explores the diverse modes of healing and ideas on what causes mental and physical pain, which are then compared to psychoanalytic thinking.

The present work is not only a book about books but is also based on demanding and often risky field work, exploring the mind of the victims as well as the perpetrators. The starting point is the riots in Hyderabad in December 1990.

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