Visualizing Secularism and Religion: Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, India

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Visualizing Secularism and Religion: Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, India

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Introduction Religious Nationalism as a Consequence of Secularism ALEV ÇINAR, SRIRUPA ROY, AND MAHA YAHYA Over the past two decades secular polities across the globe have witnessed an increasing turn to religion-based political movements, such as the rise of political Islam and Hindu nationalism, which have been fueling new and alternative notions of nationhood and national ideologies. The rise of such movements has initiated widespread debates over the meaning, efficacy, and normative worth of secularism. This new debate forces us to reconsider prevailing notions of secularism and to investigate the unique ways in which it has been institutionalized in different political, historical, and cultural contexts such as those of India, Turkey, Lebanon, or Egypt. A closer analysis reveals that these variable features of secularism stem from the different ways in which religion has played a role in these societies. In other words, we start with the premise that secularism cannot be adequately understood without due regard to its relation to religion. Accordingly, the essays in this collection examine the constitutive role of religion in the formation of secular-national public spheres in the Middle East and South Asia. Since secularism has been interpreted and institutionalized in unique ways in diverse contexts, we find it necessary to investigate secularism not as an abstract concept but as an ideological principle that has acquired quite distinctive and sometimes contrary meanings in practice in various contexts. Such an approach demands a reconceptualization of secularism as an array of contextually specific practices, ideologies, subjectivities, and Page 2 → “performances” rather than as simply an abstract legal bundle of rights and policies. For this reason the aim of this collection is to compare and examine the specific ways in which secularism is negotiated and experienced in practice in different local contexts. Hence, rather than seeking to draw generalizations and abstract conceptualizations of secularism, we seek to highlight the unique and particular ways in which secularism has been institutionalized in relation to religion in disparate circumstances. This insistence on studying secularism as practice, not only in the political realm but also in the context of daily life, led us to divert our methodological focus on the public sphere understood as a visually constituted field of performances and negotiations. We address these issues through a collaborative and comparative analysis of the formation and transformation of the public spheres in these countries, understood in terms of material practices and visual fields rather than as abstract and disembodied entities. Specifically, we examine three such fields—urban space and architecture, media, and public rituals such as parades, processions, and commemorative festivals—with a view to exploring how the relation between secularism, religion, and nationalism is displayed and performed. We also investigate how public enactments of the religious-secular relationship change over time as contending national projects with alternative visions of this relationship gain social and political prominence.

Secularism and Religious Nationalism Secularism is a topic that is more typically studied and debated by political theorists rather than by comparativists.1 This is because it is treated as an idea rooted in the ideals of the Enlightenment and therefore understood most readily as a universal principle that goes along with other ideals such as democracy or liberalism. Even then, it is usually treated as one of the constituent elements of modernity and seldom studied as an idea in its own right. Only more recently, probably due to the same reasons that motivated this book, have there been increasing debates and publication focusing on secularism in its own right. For example, in a comprehensive study of the debate on secularism in India, Rajeev Bhargava has brought together some of the key figures that take part in the discussion on secularism.2 Focusing on the debate “between those who defend secularism and those deeply critical of it,”3 this volume brings into debate political philosophers, who tend to be more interested in debating secularism as an epistemic category Page 3 → and/or a political doctrine, and social scientists, who are more inclined to investigate secularism as an ideological principle that constitutes the basis of political institutions and

policies. Nevertheless, both groups share a common normative interest in the issue involving questions such as the extent to which the state needs to be, and can be, secular; how secularist policies can be implemented without compromising democracy; or the extent to which there should be parity between different religious groups and sects. There is no doubt that this debate that is formed around these questions has profound implications for societies struggling with the issue of religion and secularism. Nevertheless, this normative approach to the study of secularism is not very helpful in providing a deeper understanding of how secularism is uniquely institutionalized in a given context and how this unique formulation and institutionalization relates to the formation and transformation of religion in that context. Indeed, when we observe the political systems of countries like Turkey, Egypt, or India, secularism not only emerges as one of the most important foundational principles that needs to be studied in its own right but also as an ideology that is uniquely fashioned to respond to the distinctive circumstances of the country in question and therefore needs to be studied not in universal but in particularistic terms. It seems that such a study of secularism, which is referred to as an “anthropology of secularism” by Talal Asad, implies reading secularism as an ideology or a political identity that shapes public discourse and practice rather than as a matter of divergence from local legal and religious codes.4 This collection starts with the premise that secularism is indeed an ideology, which, in the hands of the state, is transformed into a norm around which public discourse and daily life are organized. Talal Asad notes that secularism is “an enactment by which a political medium (representation of citizenship) redefines and transcends particular and differentiating practices of the self that are articulated through class, gender, and religion.”5 This way of understanding secularism calls for the study of the discursive production of public life (the “political medium” in Asad's words), in order to examine the unique context and the particular conditions within which it operates. Furthermore, this collection builds on another claim by Talal Asad, who maintains that secularism can no longer be understood as a replacement for religion.6 As Asad notes, “The space that religion may properly occupy in society has to be continually redefined by the law because the reproduction of secular life within and beyond the nation-state continually affects the discursive clarity of that space.”7 Following this line of reasoning, we argue that secularism is not about the exclusion or suppression of Page 4 → religion from political life but about its control, exerted by the secular state in its attempts to “continually redefine” the space that religion may occupy. More specifically, it is about the controlled production, framing, and relegation of religion in ways that justify the existence and hegemony of secularism. Therefore, contrary to the assumption that secularism replaces religion, we argue that it produces, redefines, and controls religion in order to establish itself as the norm. As Asad points out, we are interested in studying how secular “sensibilities, attitudes, assumptions, and behaviours” evoked in a given context “come together to support or undermine the doctrine of secularism.”8 Following a similar approach, we examine secularism as a series of discursive interventions in the public sphere that aim to produce a carefully monitored space where religion can exist in public life in ways that confirm and reproduce the authority and hegemony of secularism. In short, we argue that the production and establishment of secularism is predicated upon the controlled inclusion of religion. It is in this public context that is created by secularist discourses that new forms of religiosity and religion-based new national ideologies started to emerge in the 1980s, and later came to power, as in the case of India through the Hindutva ideology of Hindu nationalism, or in Turkey through the AKP (Justice and Development Party). As the chapters in this collection demonstrate in their unique ways, it is possible to trace the roots of these new religionbased social movements and new national ideologies in the secular discourses that relegated a unique and controlled place to religion as a consequence of attempts to establish secularism as a foundational principle during state- and nation-building efforts. These new religion-based ideologies are challenging the control and authority that secularist discourses are trying to maintain over religion, which is, in turn, resulting in a further transformation of secularist discourses themselves, giving rise to yet newer forms of secular religions, as in the case of “secular Islam” in Turkey. Consequently, we maintain that in order to fully understand the emergence of new political projects that take

religion as their basis throughout the Middle East and South Asia, it is necessary to focus on the ways in which secularism has been produced and established as a constitutive principle in different contexts through systematic and controlled inclusions of religion. Secularism, therefore, must be “pursued through its shadows,” or the spaces to which it consigns religion.9 We argue that in order to establish secularism as the dominant national ideology of countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, or India, the discourses, practices, and institutions of secular nation-building have included Page 5 → rather than excluded religion as a presence within the public sphere. This gesture of public inclusion is the means by which the authority of the secular state has been realized and consolidated. In other words, the formation of these nation-states involved the creation of secular-national public spheres, where, contrary to the common understanding that secularism excludes religion, various forms of religious practices, knowledges, and movements were monitored and given a specific public presence. In most of these countries, the controlled inclusion of religions and religion-based movements in the public spheres was the primary means through which secular states established their authority. In this sense, it is possible to argue that it was these secular founding ideologies that laid the basis for the politicization of religion in these countries, and that the later development of religious-based political movements (such as political Islam in Turkey, the Hezbullah in Lebanon, the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt, and Hindu nationalism in India) are in fact products of such secular systems. As such, these religious-based political movements, which introduce alternative national projects, cannot be assessed properly without a due understanding of the secular systems and founding ideologies that made them possible in the first place. This collection takes secularism as a founding ideological principle that is normalized in the public sphere so as to become a constitutive norm around which public life is ordered. Hence, the articles gathered in this collection not only share this common understanding of secularism but also employ a common methodology in studying it in and through different fields of the public sphere, ranging from the media and film to urban space and public performances and rituals.

Public Sphere and the Politics of the Visual The interest in the public sphere common to the studies presented in this volume is not a focus on its normative value but rather is limited to its analytical use. By taking such an analytical approach to the public sphere, this collection diverges from the prevailing body of scholarship on the public sphere in three respects. First, it examines the constitutive role of religion in the formation of the public sphere, a topic that has received scant attention thus far. The idea of the public sphere was developed by Habermas as the field where emancipation from domination and coercion could be realized. For Habermas, the public sphere is a nonexclusive realm of private individuals debating issues of “common concern.”10 Habermas assumes Page 6 → that the ideal public sphere, which is formed through unconstrained debate and deliberation among free individuals, will allow for the emergence of reason, and it is reason alone that will overcome domination and bring about emancipation.11 The ideal public sphere functions on three principles. First, the key constitutive element of the public sphere is rational-critical debate on issues of common interest. Ideally, rational deliberation results in decisions and policies that are assumed to serve the common good, thereby bringing about emancipation. Second, for the common good to be realized, it is crucial that the public sphere remain inclusive so that “access is guaranteed to all citizens.”12 The third and most controversial element of the Habermasian public sphere is that particular identities, interests, and status differences are seen as the main impediment to the attainment of rational solutions to so-called common ideals, and as such should be bracketed out of public debates.13 For Habermas, the common good can be attained only if the debated issues are of interest to society in general. In this account, the particularistic demands and interests of the debating individuals, as well as the issues that seem to be of concern only to a limited group of people, are construed as factors that distort and obscure rational deliberation and therefore must be avoided. This debate has predominantly focused on issues of democracy and democratic participation but has so far seriously neglected the ways in which the formation and functioning of the public sphere is related to religion and to secular national ideologies that are directly or indirectly conditioned by religion. Yet, as we look at the experiences of countries in the Middle East and South Asia, religion-based political projects and ideologies such

as religious nationalism and secularism play crucial roles in the formation and functioning of public spheres, often defining the parameters for participation and of citizenship. The second diversion that we make from the prevailing literature on the public sphere is that instead of endorsing the Habermasian idealization of the public sphere as a site of liberation and emancipation, we invite the idea that the public sphere can function as a site for the production of power relations and hierarchies through controlled inclusions. This approach goes against Habermas's conceptualization of the public sphere as an ideal realm of debate and dialogue in which rational deliberation ideally yields outcomes that are optimal for society. The ensuing debate on the public sphere has focused mainly on the impediments to the full participation of citizens in such public deliberation.14 For the most part, inclusion in the public sphere is seen as a favorable development toward full democratic Page 7 → participation, a perspective that overlooks how such mechanisms of inclusion may actually work to sustain the hierarchies of power that condition the public sphere. Through a focus on how the inclusion rather than the exclusion of religion and religiously marked practices serves to reproduce systems of power in the public sphere, this collection offers a unique way of approaching the public sphere through a critical investigation of the issue of participation and inclusion.15 Third, existing literature predominantly focuses on debate and deliberation as the acts that constitute the public sphere, and it seldom addresses visual and material practices. Starting with the premise that the public sphere is constituted not only verbally but also visually through performative acts, this collection investigates the public sphere as a visual field that includes urban space and architecture, public rituals, and the media. Although these are all key sites wherein the public sphere is formed and transformed, they have been relatively understudied in existing discussions on the public sphere. This understanding of the public sphere as a visually constituted site has only recently emerged in literature in the works of Michael Warner or Paolo Carpignano, which are nevertheless largely theoretical deliberations devoid of much empirical elaboration.16 Three specific research questions are addressed in the chapters that follow. First, what kinds of visual representations of secular identity were formed at the founding moments of the nation-states under consideration, and how did religion figure in these representations of the secular? Second, how was the official imagination of the religion-secularism relationship circulated, reproduced, and modified in wider public cultural realms? Finally, have new ideological formations and social movements organized around different axes of identity (caste, ethnicity, gender, and religion) replaced or reinforced dominant practices, images, and ideologies of the secular? In the light of the twenty-first century, do we “see” secularism differently, and what are the political and ethical implications of this alternative line of sight for the practice and pursuit of democracy? These themes are developed and substantiated in twelve chapters, each of which examines the visual practices and ideologies that have formed and transformed the secular-national public spheres in a range of nation- states. These include India, Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt—all countries that were formally constituted as secular polities, although in substantially different ways, and have countenanced significant transformations in the founding secular consensus in recent years. Each of these countries professes a secular state ideology in which religious identities are regulated and controlled by the state in different ways. While the Page 8 → presence and practice of Islam is directly controlled and monitored by the state through the Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey, in Egypt Islamic civil society institutions are sanctioned to various degrees by the secular state. The secular systems in India and Lebanon have both been institutionalized through the sanctioning of diverse religious communities (eighteen officially recognized religious sects in the case of Lebanon; at least five officially recognized religions in India) such that the state guarantees equal status for officially recognized religions. In these cases, the transformations in the founding secular ideology are to a certain degree a result of the changing distance between the secular state and religious communities. The Comparative Method beyond Area Studies This collection joins an ongoing and pressing debate on what the “comparative method” means in the present historical conjuncture, when the discretely bounded formations of “area studies” are being questioned and undone for a variety of intellectual as well as geopolitical/ideological reasons. While there have been several discussions

of the causes and implications of the new, “post–area studies” comparative method, these have largely been theoretical discussions that unfold in abstract terms. In contrast, this volume actually does post–area studies comparisons—it provides a concrete illustration of how to compare without being bound by geographical fixities of “areas.” In a similar vein, we extend the terms of the debate on “interdisciplinarity” by actually doing scholarship within and across multiple disciplines even as the research question remains the same. The comparative methodology adopted in the book enabled an exchange of knowledge within the Middle East and the South Asia regions and across the traditional borders of area studies, bringing together countries that have not previously been studied in the context of a single comparative project: Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and India. Instead of focusing on a single representative aspect of the public sphere, the articles in this book examine a wide variety of public sphere sites or sets of practices, each of which requires a different set of reading strategies and conceptual tools. Thus although we are interested in a common general question, namely, the ways in which the formation of secular-national public spheres engages with the issue of religion, the chapters recognize that different public sphere sites within a nation may reflect very different versions of this relationship, Page 9 → and that an interdisciplinary exploration of these variations will enable a more complex and fuller understanding of the constitution of publicness in the regions of Middle East and South Asia. This unique comparison has provided valuable insights into the dynamics of secular and religious nationalism. By examining how understandings of the secular and the religious have been formed and transformed in these countries, the chapters move discussion of secularism beyond the standard procedure of privileging an “original” Euro-American example as the benchmark against which all other formulations can only appear as derivations and deviations. This comparative methodology was not limited to the countries selected for comparison but was interdisciplinary in the truest sense. By expanding the pool of scholars involved in the project to bring in political scientists, sociologists, urban and architectural historians, and anthropologists, a range of disciplinary expertise was brought to bear on the analysis of the topics at hand bringing forth fresh and innovative interpretations challenging traditional area studies complacencies. This approach also succeeded in the creation of a new and distinctive “inter” space between disciplines rather than an additive combination of multiple theoretical paradigms. Such an “inter”-disciplinary space has certainly yielded exciting new material about the process of nation-state formation, public subject constitutions, and the transformative “nature” of secularism across different historical and geographic trajectories. Finally, the value of comparing several non-Western countries promises to generate new ways of examining modernity beyond the West/non-West or “alternative modernities” binary. What we offer here is instead an evaluation of comparative colonial legacies and the varied (but also consonant) world-historical conjectures of Lebanese, Indian, Egyptian, and Turkish nation-state and subject formation.

Establishing Secularism through the Control of Religion The book is subdivided into three parts: “Performances,” “Mediations,” and “Politics of Spaces and Symbols.” The first part titled “Performances” explores the role of spectacle and performance in the creation, production, and reproduction of secular/religious subjectivities, norms, and practices. The four chapters in this part all focus on the unique ways in which secularist discourses as realized through Page 10 → spectacle and performance shape, give rise to, and are in turn transformed by new religiosities and religion-based movements and identities in different contexts. In the first chapter of the book Çinar shows how secularism was established as the core of the founding national ideology in Turkey by bringing Islam under the full control and authority of the secular state, and how the emergence of new Islamist identities in the 1990s contested this interpretation and implementation of secularism by demanding more autonomy for nonofficial versions of Islam, as these found presence and voice in the public sphere through female students wearing the Islamic headcovering. Çinar demonstrates how the secular state

during its founding years used the female body as the medium upon which secularism was displayed for both local and European audiences. She argues that in these interventions in the public sphere that regulate women's appearance and visibility, the state was able not only to display a new secular national identity for Turkey but also to establish itself as the political agent powerful enough to bring Islam under its full control. This chapter highlights the significance of performance in the public sphere that is particularly apparent in the ways in which Islamist subjectivities of the 1990s used the Islamic headcovering as a performative tool to subvert the privilege and authority of secularism in the public sphere. Based on a series of interviews with young members of two of the main Islamic youth organizations in Turkey, Türkmen demonstrates in chapter 2 how Islamic contestations of secularism in the 1990s were expressed through bodily practices, performances, and displays of new Islamic ways of being and behaving in public. Türkmen argues that as a result of liberalist policies of the 1990s, these new Islamic groups “shifted from a vertical mode of action, targeting the state, to a horizontal one, focusing on societal influence and expansion.” According to Türkmen, due to such horizontal expansion, which was carried out successfully through the activities of these Islamic youth organizations, Islamic counter publics were formed that concentrated in such civil society institutions as schools, media, and other public spaces. Türkmen refers to these as counter publics because these groups are voluntarily adopting symbols of Islam, such as the headcovering, to challenge the authority of secularism in the public sphere. Türkmen follows up on the previous chapter by focusing on the ways in which these new Islamic performances resulted in the transformation of Kemalism, the official secular state ideology named after the founder of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and gave rise to what she refers to as “neo-Kemalism,” which emerged as a new civilian secularist movement. In Türkmen's account, neo-Kemalism is a revival of what she refers to as Kemalist Page 11 → Islam, or official Islam, which was never really against Islam per se but rather was an encapsulation of Islam as “simplified pure universal and intelligible religion.” In the hands of the state this understanding of Islam became the basis on which secularism was institutionalized through the establishment of full control over Islam during the founding years. According to Türkmen, the neo-Kemalism that emerged in the 1990s as a backlash to new Islamic movements is a continuation of this unique type of Islam, understood as a “modernized, individualized, and privatized” religiosity that is still widely practiced in Turkey. Türkmen cites her previous research to demonstrate how current high school students still endorse this kind of religiosity, or Kemalist Islam expressed through “uncovered hair of young women, shaved faces of young men, and religious practices performed privately, in order not to threaten the modern Westernized lifestyle displayed in the public sphere,” coupled with conservative moral values. She notes how these young men and women claim to be practicing “real Islam” in contrast to the Islam of those who wear headscarves and assume publicly explicit Islamic identities. This neo-Kemalism, as Türkmen calls it, is also discussed in detail by Ayşe Öncü in chapter 7 where she examines the discourse of “secular Islam” as it was publicized by a popular professor of theology in daytime talk shows. The notions of Kemalist Islam or secular Islam as developed by these chapters clearly demonstrate how secularism in Turkey is defined in direct relation to Islam, and how it derives its authority and power from its ability to define, control, and monitor the presence of Islam in the public sphere. Bringing in a comparative case from India, Usha Zacharias in chapter 3 examines the controversy over the constitutive role that the historical epic Ramayana played in the making of secular, religious-national, and neosecular movements that emerged in India. While Ramayana had played a central role in the nation-building narratives during India's independence, the controversy surfaced when the epic was telecast in the late 1980s as a popular television series. In this renarrativized telecast version, the last segment of the epic was left out. This segment, called the Uttara Ramayana, was central to the identity and claims to sovereignty of the lower-caste Balmiki community. Zacharias examines two instances of protests by the Balmiki community: one, the widespread strikes and protests that urged the government in Northern India to agree to telecast the previously excluded Uttara Ramayana, and two, the Balmiki Jayanti procession that is a performative retelling of the Uttara Ramayana in the form of a street performance using floats to subvert the official, televised version of the epic and to empower the unique roots of Balmiki identity. Page 12 →

Zacharias's analysis reveals the unique and quite interesting ways in which secularism functions in the context of India. First, examining the ways in which the Ramayana is reinserted into public discourse via the televised series, Zacharias illustrates how such religious (Hindu) mythology is used as part of the effort to elaborate a new and secular national identity by the Hindutva movement (the political movement that emerged and came to power in India in the 1990s to assert a specific version of Hinduism as the core of India's national identity). In response to criticism brought to the government as the sponsor of the televised series that the use of such religious, and particularly Hindu, narratives is a violation of the secularist principle of the state, the government defended its position by claiming that the epic was indeed secular because it was “not Hindu, not Muslim, not Sikh” but was in fact a neutral part of “national tradition.” It seems that in the nationalist discourse of the Hindutva movement, a new type of secularism is emerging in India that is marked by an end of the former official notion based on a pluralist understanding of secularism that sought to recognize and grant an equal status to different religions, and is replaced by an understanding that, in Zacharias's words, “silently acknowledges the centrality or political mainstreaming of Hindu religious symbolism in public visual culture as a common national (‘universal’) point of discursive reference.” Second, the performative contestations of the Ramayana by the Balmiki community reveal a second, subtler way in which secularism operates to condition the presence and practice of religion in India. It seems that when the Hindutva movement emerged with a new national ideology based on a new definition of secularism that was used to legitimate the introduction of religious symbols and myths into national identity, other aspects of Hinduism, mainly the caste system, also seeped in. It was this element of the new religious nationalism that was presented by the Ramayana series, which privileged an upper-caste, mainstream interpretation of the Ramayana epic by leaving out the last segment, the Uttara Ramayana. This exclusion was analogous to the exclusion of the Balmiki community by denying them a legitimate and autonomous presence in the new national imagination, which the Balmiki protests targeted. Zacharias shows how this new ideology privileges an upper-caste interpretation of Hinduism to identify it with Indian nationalism, at the expense of communities like the Balmiki, whose lowercaste positions defined by religion were now being reproduced in the new secular/nationalist discourse of Hindutva. Interestingly, the mobilization of secularism so as to justify the religionationalist discourse of Hindutva seems to have served to open up the Page 13 → space that made it possible for the Balmiki community to express their discontent and to protest their exclusion from the same religionational narrative. As a consequence, the Balmiki protests serve to subvert the secularist claims of Hindutva nationalism, by revealing the extent of its rootedness in a particular (and hence nonuniversal, nonnatural) and hierarchical interpretation of Hinduism. The final chapter in this part, by Gizem Zencirci, examines the shift in the features of commemorative practices around significant national holidays in Turkey, which came about as a reaction to the rising influence and popularity of political Islam at the end of the 1990s. According to Zencirci, this shift was a move away from previous modes of national commemoration, marked by highly militarized attributes that were focused on the display of military might centered around images of marching soldiers, parade of tanks, military planes, and schoolchildren also progressing in a very solemn, disciplined manner, toward a much more relaxed, entertaining, popularly engaging, and civilian mode of celebration with concerts, games, and other festivities. Zencirci suggests that this shift is indicative of a desire of the state and secularist circles to dissociate secularism from authoritarian and militaristic tendencies so as to reinvent it as a much more approachable, civilian, and almost casual part of daily life. According to Zencirci, this shift came about starting in 1997, after the February 28 National Security Council decree that declared political Islam to be the top security threat targeting the key constitutional principle, secularism, that eventually resulted in the closure of the Islamist Refah Party by the Constitutional Court. Even though this intervention was still backed by the military, the Kemalist backlash came from numerous secular civil society associations that mobilized in defense of secularism so as to counteract the spreading influence of Islamism. The shift in the commemorative practices first became apparent during the Republic Day celebrations that same year on October 29, when there was widespread civilian participation with colorful festivities carried to the streets of major cities in a joyful mode, happening for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic.

The civilianization of commemorative practices is an important aspect of what Türkmen refers to as neoKemalism that emerged as a backlash against the rising influence of Islamic discourses in the public sphere. Zencirci's analysis of commemorative practices illustrates a significant way in which secularism was transformed by the expanding presence of Islamic identities, which in turn reveals once again how secularism always defines itself in terms of its relation to and control over religion. In sum, the chapters in this part studying the emergence, transformation, Page 14 → and mutual influence of secularist and religious discourses in Turkey and India suggest that the establishment of secularism as a foundational ideology, the emergence of religion-based movements or religionational ideologies in the 1990s in both countries, and the consequent transformations of the dominant secularist discourses are all different instances of the co-constitutive relationship between secularism and religion-based ideologies. As these studies suggest, the hegemonic positioning of secularist founding ideologies was achieved through the exertion of control over religious knowledges, practices, and identities in India and Turkey. This in turn resulted in the emergence of new religion-based identities, movements, and ideologies in the public sphere that not only subverted the power and authority of secularist discourses but also blurred the boundaries between secularism and religion. The essays in part 2, gathered under the title “Mediations,” turn their attention to three broad sets of themes. The first is the role played by non-state actors and institutions in the production and consolidation of a “secular public.” As Rai, Mehrez, Öncu, and Kidwai demonstrate, private media actors have played a central role in elaborating and consolidating normative public imaginations of the secular. The commercial motivations of the private media are markedly different from those that animate the national state. However, what is striking in each of the cases discussed in these chapters is the convergence between state and nonstate visual elaborations of the secular-religious relationship. In the private media landscape, as in the official or statist ideology, the constitutive relationship between secularism and religion—the fact that representations of secularism seem to require the constant representation of “religion”—emerges as a dominant theme. By turning their lens on the role played by nonstate actors in the visual elaboration of secularism and of the secular/religious relationship, these chapters move beyond narratives of state dominance and state omnipotence vis-à-vis social forces. In the various countries under consideration in this part, the establishment and elaboration of particular understandings of secularism are seen to stem from the interplay of a variety of different actors and involve the active participation of both state and nonstate, public and private/commercial agents and institutions. As in part 1, the second theme taken up by these essays is that of secularist transformations—perhaps an obvious theme, given the analytic attention to the dynamic notion of practice that marks this volume. In Egypt, India, and Turkey, normative notions of secularism (and of the secularism-religion relationship) emerged at a foundational moment for each of the countries under consideration, as they refashioned themselves as sovereign Page 15 → and modern nation-states. Secularism, as indeed the notion of the “public” itself, was fashioned as a nationalist and modernist identity as much as an institutional and/or policy formation. While these “identity obligations” continue into the present, substantial transformations in the domestic and international political, cultural, and economic context over time have meant that both the notion of “the national” and the notion of “the modern” have undergone considerable change. Correspondingly, the project of fashioning a secular nationalist, modern identity has also varied across time, and the task of each chapter is to map and assess the nature of these transformations. Third, as the title of this part suggests, the centrality of the “mediatic” public sphere—whether constituted by film, television, newspapers, or the public circulation of images—to the reciprocal constitution of secular and religious identities is the focus of all the chapters in the part. As these chapters illustrate, publicity, that is, the public circulation of images itself, is the domain and the key medium of politics, both in terms of the establishment and reproduction of secularism as a norm, and its negotiation, subversion, or contestation. Amit Rai explores these themes in chapter 5 through a discussion of the “imagistic regimes” of Hindi commercial cinema in India during the recent and ongoing era of economic liberalization. Through a close reading of three films, he establishes the dominance of the “secular-religious” couplet in cinematic language, or the fact that representations of the national secular draw upon and strengthen representations of religion. Rai draws attention to the minoritizing stance of these representational strategies, and shows how the representation of the ideal nationalsecular subject in commercial cinema has entailed the production of a contrastive image of the Muslim minority

“outsider.” Carrying forward the theme of secular transformations that runs through this part and the rest of the volume, Rai also charts the transformations in minority representation in recent years and focuses on one particularly prominent representational strategy: the filmic genre of “terrorist monstrosity” in commercial cinema. Rai's chapter reminds us that the vectors of secular transformation are determined not solely by internalist changes in the nature of secularism and/or religious ideologies and movements. Political-economic and geopolitical shifts such as the advent of economic liberalization in India and the transformed order of global politics following 9/11 play a key role as well. In chapter 6, Samia Mehrez continues the exploration of cinematic representations of the secular and the religious with a focus on Egyptian cinema. As in Rai's chapter, the project of minority representation is a central Page 16 → focus here, specifically, the cinematic representations of the minority Coptic community in recent Egyptian cinema. However, the representational agents in this case were members of the Coptic community, and their “realistic” and “revelatory” depictions soon generated a controversy on account of the challenge they mounted to dominant, majoritarian understandings of Egyptianness. Mehrez documents the unintended consequences of this controversy, or the fact that the Copt community became “a real and active participant in the cultural public sphere” precisely through the state's attempt to control and censor Coptic self-representations. By drawing attention to the dynamics of the confrontation between the state and Coptic filmmakers, Mehrez effectively demonstrates that the visual public sphere is a contested arena, and that dominant norms and practices of secular representations are continually challenged and transformed by a variety of different agents. Ayşe Öncü turns her attention to a different medium in chapter 7, namely, popular commercial television. Her specific focus is on how “the visual formats and commodity logics” of television talk shows in contemporary Turkey constitute normative Turkishness as a distinctive, “secular Muslim” identity. Through her analysis of a highly popular talk show hosted by Yasar Nuri Ozturk, a divinity professor, Öncü discusses the broader social and political implications of the twinned formation of secularism and Islam in Turkey—as reflected in the unique hybrid of “secular Muslim” self-identity—and, like other discussions of Turkish politics in this volume, draws attention to the constitutive role played by religion in the elaboration of normative secularism. Along with others in this part, Öncü draws attention to the transformations of the secularism-religion relationship in the era of economic liberalization and the growing assertiveness of religious movements (in this case, political Islam) in the public and political realm. She argues that the authority and legitimacy of the “couplet” secular Muslim is shored up in contemporary Turkey by nonstate actors and institutions such as commercial television channels, a finding that highlights the coproduced nature of normative secularism (and of the secular-religious relationship), or the fact that secular ideologies and practices are jointly produced and upheld by state and nonstate actors. To trace the convergences as well as the divergences between official and popular understandings of secularism is a central task of this chapter. Thus Öncü, like other authors, foregrounds the contested character of secular ideologies even as she establishes their dominant status in Turkey. This part concludes with chapter 8 by Sabina Kidwai, who examines the visual representations of religion and secularism produced by contemporary Page 17 → Indian print media. Like Rai, she emphasizes the constitutive role of minority representation in the secular imaginary, or the fact that elaborations of secularism, particularly in the visual domain, seem to require the production of a certain image and imaginary of religious minorities, Muslims in particular. However, while Rai's discussion of minority representation in Hindi cinema draws attention to the production of the Muslim as dangerous terrorist Other, Kidwai focuses on the trope of the “Muslim woman as victim” that has dominated the self-described secular print media in the 1980s and 1990s. Despite these differences between the dangerous and victimized portrayals of Muslim subjects, both sets of representational maneuvers have in common a conflation—that is ultimately a reduction—of individual subjectivity with a monolithic religious identity. As Kidwai notes, although Indian secularists and religious fundamentalists are ideologically and politically opposed to each other on several important dimensions, they both actively participate in this act of conflation. The third part titled “Politics of Spaces and Symbols” looks at the place of the visual icon, whether image, building, or urban space, in the foundational practices of secularism, nation-building, and state formation. In four different chapters, this part examines the unique ways in which secularism, as a practice, is visually negotiated and

constituted as the norm for “building” the public sphere in the modern nation-states of Lebanon, India, and Turkey. They explore the means through which the production of a public culture of visuality that ranges from urban space and architecture to public commemorations and national/communal icons inscribes a specific place to the secular and to the religious in this culture. By grounding the discussion in the historical and geographical specificity of these countries, and in the foundational practices of nation building and the assertion of religious identities, each of the essays suggests a distinct genealogy of secularism in relationship to the ideologies that informed it. To various degrees three of the chapters argue that the formation of a secular national public sphere in each of the countries under study is structurally bound to the particularities of nationalist ideologies and state building and the place of the different religious communities. While Yahya and Sargin demonstrate this issue by exploring varied spatial practices and visual practices, Zitzewitz examines the use of a reconfigured religious icon to project a specific version of national identity. In her chapter, Yahya reveals how the practices of nation building and the construction of two capital cities in Lebanon and India played a critical role in the making of abstract, yet historically and territorially bound public Page 18 → subjects. These practices were intricately connected and cannot be understood without reference to the specifics of anticolonial and independence struggles and the subsequent process of nation and state building, or what Srirupa Roy terms as “étatization.”17 Consequently and despite structural similarities, nationalizing the public and “seeing the state” was indexed by an “impersonal and distant” state in India, a “personified and proximate” state in Turkey,18 and an “irresolute and colonized state” in Lebanon. In the process the public place of the religious and the secular is negotiated accordingly. This connection between secular nationalism and the projection of public subjects is further explored by Sargin. In his chapter, Sincan, a particular district of the city of Ankara, emerges as a site that mediates the contestation and negotiation of secularism in Turkey. Sargin examines incidents that took place in Sincan, a district where the Islamist Refah Party of the 1990s had a large support base, that eventually resulted in a smallscale military intervention in defense of the principle of secularism after the Islamist local government organized a “Kudus [Jerusalem] Night” during Ramadan celebrating the sacred spaces of Islam. Based on the analysis of these spatial interventions, Sargin demonstrates the ways in which the negotiation and contestation of the constitutional principle of secularism is carried out through the discursive production of urban space, such that the monitoring, restructuring, and interventions in urban space become the ultimate means through which the authority of secularism is challenged at its very foundations. The challenges posed to secularism by Hindu nationalism and the responses of Indian artists to this challenge are examined by Zitzewitz. In her chapter she traces the extent to which the struggle to redefine the new “face” of the most potent symbol of Hindu mythology, the iconic god-king Ram, helped in the consolidation, institutionalization, and contestation of secularism as well as religious and ethnic identities during different moments of its history. She demonstrates the ways in which the rise of Hindu nationalism and the political conflicts that ensued, including the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque, have connected the god-king Ram to a “violently exclusionary politics.” Exploring modernist art practices, she illustrates the ways in which envisioning a new secular form of the icon through essays and works of art was used by K. G. Subramanyan, one of India's most influential artists, to project an alternative to Hindu nationalist forms. In this context, the contingency of art and its “multivalent” qualities that open it up to different interpretations in diverse contexts served to disrupt hegemonic depictions of Hindu nationalism. Page 19 → Furthermore, while much of the public sphere literature has tended to overlook the importance of territory to the formation of the public sphere, the centrality of cities and of urban space to the foundational practices and performances of newly established nation-states and the assertion of territorially bounded public subjects is also demonstrated in three of the four chapters in this part. The secular imaginary and the formation of new states demanded the creation of new urban spaces, a novel architectural iconography, and new commemorative rituals

intended to both depict and mediate this new national (and hence secular) identity in Lebanon, India, and Turkey. As the chapters by Yahya and Sargin indicate, these took on particular forms related to variations in ideologies, practices, and goals of nation building. In Yahya's chapter the indexing of the public sphere through the transformation of urban space in Lebanon and India required a different approach to the grounding of national identity, a process by which elements of this identity were to be “identified in the past” in the case of the former and “constituted anew” in the case of the latter. For Sargin, the case of Sincan drew attention to Turkey's contesting ideologies and their spatial politics. The “secular” construction of Ankara as the new capital of Turkey in 1923 and thus as the emblem of the republic that was Western, un-Ottoman, and nonreligious, is disrupted through alternative religious practices. As a result, and despite their structural similarities, the meanings of publicness differed in each of the different cases. For Haugbolle, on the other hand, Beirut's streets and urban spaces are central to the projection of communally based identities. As he demonstrates in his chapter, through a wide range of tactics that include graffiti, posters of martyrs, and small shrines, different narratives of communal identities challenge the presumed secular/national ideal. This connection between national/religious ideologies and visual cultures is not static. Rather, it is profoundly affected by the political, economic, societal, institutional, and geographic breaks and ruptures that characterize the history of modern nation-states. In particular, the importance of communitarian politics to challenging the hegemonic narratives of national and secular identity by proposing alternative bases for citizenship and the centrality of the visual to that process is powerfully illustrated in the chapters of Haugbolle and Zitzewitz. They both effectively demonstrate the significance of visual tactics and the challenges posed to the construction of a national and secular public. In India, as Zitzewitz argues, the iconic power of the god-king Ram was effective in rallying the cause of Hindu nationalism. The power of icons in constituting publics has been demonstrated amply by many other scholars. However, as she suggests, the “Hindu nationalist Page 20 → use of Ram reduced a complex symbol capable of signifying virtue or suggesting political allegory to an assertion of Hindu majoritarian domination.” It was a process that challenged the visible forms of secularism institutionalized in India since independence. This process pushed Indian artists to attempt to articulate different visual forms of the secular and in the process renegotiate the place of religion and ethnicity and project an alternative culture of publicity. In other words, for modern Indian artists, the instability of meaning in the artwork, which made its intelligibility reliant on the community of viewers, was effectively used to present alternative and more inclusionary images that also transformed secularism into a strategy for the “interruption of the sacred with the everyday.” The everyday, for Haugbolle, became the context and the strategy through which the presumed secularism of public space was disrupted and realigned with images of the religious or communal. He demonstrates that strategies are employed by various communities to assert their identities within the nation-state through a collection of images, that act as an index of social relation among people, by proposing alternative visions of publicness. Nowhere is the contestation of a national/secular ideal by communal/sectarian imaginaries more evident than on the walls of Beirut—the capital of Lebanon torn by fifteen years of military conflict between different politicoreligious parties. Examining the graffiti produced by these different parties and in the postwar period, he demonstrates the manner in which Beirut has become a city demarcated through opposing visions of national identity whereby this contestation takes place through a persistent conflation between national and religious identities. In other words, posters, monuments, and graffiti not only demarcate territories within the city but allow each party to present its own—often contradictory—definition of what it means to be Lebanese. Finally, the role of the visual in mediating and constructing meaning is also demonstrated in all of the chapters to various degrees. While Yahya indicates the extent to which the architecture and urban space mediated the new meanings of a national and (secular) public, Zitzewitz argues that the art object is not a mere reflection of a particular ideology. Rather “it facilitates the social interaction” that characterizes its political ideology. For both Haugbolle and Sargin, street performances as images for the former and spatial practices for the latter reconfigured communal identities. In a sense all of these chapters ultimately question whether alternative practices, different ways of seeing, and diverse strategies of reading are capable of prompting a reconsideration of the relationship of the communal to the political while reconfiguring notions of publicness. Page 21 →

NOTES Parts of the “Public Sphere and the Politics of the Visual” section have appeared in Alev Çinar, “Subversion and Subjugation in the Public Sphere: Secularism and the Islamic Headscarf,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 33, no. 4 (2008): 891–913. It is reprinted here with the permission of Signs. 1. See, for example, William Connolly, Why I Am Not a Secularist (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999); or Rajeev Bhargava, ed., Secularism and Its Critics, Oxford in India Readings: Themes in Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). 2. Bhargava, Secularism and Its Critics. 3. Ibid., 2. 4. Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003). 5. Ibid., 5. 6. Ibid., 1. 7. Ibid., 201. 8. Ibid., 17. 9. Ibid., 16. 10. Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989), 36. 11. Ibid., 35–37. 12. Jurgen Habermas, “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article,” New German Critique 3 (Autumn 1979): 49. 13. Craig Calhoun, ed., Habermas and the Public Sphere (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), 13. 14. Seyla Benhabib, ed., Democracy and Difference: Contesting Boundaries of the Political (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996); Craig Calhoun, ed., Habermas and the Public Sphere (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992); Bruce Robbins, ed., The Phantom Public Sphere (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993). 15. For a more detailed account of the conceptualization of the public sphere as a site of subjugation and control, see Alev Çinar, “Subversion and Subjugation in the Public Sphere: Secularism and the Islamic Headscarf,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 33, no. 4 (2008): 891–913. 16. Michael Warner, “Publics and Counterpublics,” Public Culture 14, no. 1 (2002): 1–90; Paolo Carpignano, “The Shape of the Sphere: The Public Sphere and the Materiality of Communication,” Constellations 6, no. 2 (1999): 177–89. 17. Srirupa Roy, “Seeing a State: National Commemorations and the Public Sphere in India and Turkey,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 48, no. 1 (2006): 200–232. 18. Ibid.

WORKS CITED Asad, Talal. Formations of the Secular. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003. Benhabib, Seyla. Democracy and Difference: Contesting the Boundaries of the Political. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996. Page 22 → Bhargava, Rajeev, ed. Secularism and Its Critics. Oxford in India Readings: Themes in Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Calhoun, Craig, ed. Habermas and the Public Sphere. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992. Carpignano, Paolo. “The Shape of the Sphere: The Public Sphere and the Materiality of Communication.” Constellations 6, no. 2 (1999): 177–89.

Connolly, William. Why I Am Not a Secularist. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. Eickelman, Dale, and James Piscatori. Muslim Politics. NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996. Esposito, John. Islam and Politics. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1998. Habermas, Jurgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989. Halliday, Fred. Nation and Religion in the Middle East. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2000. Juergensmeyer, Mark. The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. Lawrence, Bruce B. Defenders of God: The Fundamentalist Revolt Against the Modern Age. University of Southern California Press, 1995. Malik, Haider I. Islam, Nationalism, and the West: Issues of Identity in Pakistan. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. Mandaville, Peter. Transnational Muslim Politics: Reimagining the Umma. New York: Routledge, 2001. Nasr, Seyyed Vali Reza. The Islamic Leviathan: Islam and the Making of State Power. Religion and Global Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Robbins, Bruce, ed. The Phantom Public Sphere. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. Tamimi, Azzam, and John L. Esposito, eds. Islam and Secularism in the Middle East. New York: New York University Press, 2000. Veer, Peter van der, ed. Conversion to Modernities: The Globalization of Christianity. New York: Routledge, 1996. Veer, Peter van der, ed. Nation and Religion: Perspectives on Europe and Asia. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. Veer, Peter van der. Religious Nationalism: Hindus and Muslims in India. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994. Warner, Michael. “Publics and Counterpublics.” Public Culture 14, no. 1 (2002): 1–90.

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Part 1 Performances

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1 Subversion and Subjugation in the Public Sphere Secularism and the Islamic Headscarf in Turkey ALEV ÇINAR In the mid-1980s, university students wearing the Islamic headscarf started to appear in public places in Turkey, giving a new sort of visibility to Islam in the public sphere contrary to the secularist norms sanctioned by the state.1 Within a decade the headscarf went from being a controversial item of religious attire to a matter of Turkish national security. In February 1997, the National Security Council identified the headscarf as one of the main indicators of the “Islamic threat”—the single most important threat to the well-being and security of the country—and called for the enforcement of a ban on the headscarf in all public places including classrooms, universities, and public offices. How is it that such a simple item of clothing can turn into such a powerful disruptive force? This chapter explores the headscarf controversy in the context of contemporary debates about gender and the public sphere. I am particularly interested in how the public sphere in Turkey has been produced in relation to norms of secularism and modernity by the forging and display of new gender identities, especially through regulations on clothing and the appearance of women. I also examine the emergence of new Islamic subjectivities through the increasing visibility of the Islamic headscarf in secular public spaces, which poses a sufficiently formidable challenge to the authority and power of secularist discourse that it has been deemed a threat to national security. By comparing the gendered and gendering interventions Page 26 → of the secularizing Turkish state of the 1920s and the Islamist elite of the 1990s, I suggest that Jurgen Habermas's conception of the public sphere requires revision. Contrary to the notion that the public sphere is a space for political participation and the expansion of political liberties, women's experiences in the public sphere require a more complicated assessment of the nature and uses of the public sphere. Indeed I argue that, understood as a gendered regime of presence and visibility, the public sphere can limit political liberties and operate as a form of subjugation.

The Public Sphere: Liberation or Subjugation? As discussed in the Introduction, Habermas's conceptualization of the public sphere assumes that it is a field wherein emancipation and democratic liberties are realized, but that conceptualization overlooks the ways in which the public sphere can also produce power relations and hierarchies to the detriment of most participants. Critics have pointed out that the Habermasian notion of the public sphere treats particular identities and differences in problematic ways. Several authors have noted that the exclusion of the interests of women,2 the working class, and identities forged around race, ethnicity, or religion3 not only is discriminatory but impedes the attainment of the common good. Despite such cogent critiques, most of these scholars remain loyal to the Habermasian ideal, noting that, suitably amended, the public sphere can fulfill its promise as a field of emancipation and liberation. Other writers have developed more radical criticisms, challenging the normative value ascribed to the ideal public sphere and questioning the emancipatory power of public discourse itself.4 Rather than engaging the conventional debate about how the ideal public sphere should function, these critics are concerned with the actual operations of existing public spheres. On the basis of a critical examination of existing public spheres, they suggest that particular interests and identities do not exist prior to or outside the public sphere but rather are produced by and constitutive of the public sphere. Joan Landes, for example, argues that the exclusion of women from the public sphere in eighteenth-century France was not just a historical coincidence but a constitutive act that produced the citizen as an exclusively male subject.5 Appeals to universal principles of liberty and equality and the celebration of common interests at the expense of particularities actually consolidated white male power while concealing the subjugation of excluded subjectivities (women, black colonial subjects). This Page 27 → line of criticism suggests that power and domination are inherent in the founding logic of the public sphere.

Contesting the Operations of Publicity: The Gaze as a Productive Technology For Habermas and others who take speech and deliberation as its constitutive elements, the public sphere is formed when people engage in dialogue on political issues, wresting the determinants of publicity away from the sovereign and generating “public opinion [that] can by definition only come into existence when a reasoning public is presupposed.”6 Within this understanding, the public emerges as actual people who produce public discourse through rational debate and dialogue in newspapers, pamphlets, broadsheets, coffeehouse conversations, or any other gathering where issues of common concern are addressed. Some scholars have questioned the conceptual assumptions of this account, however, envisioning the public less as an actual group of people and more as an imagined subject constituted through the conjuring of a disembodied, impersonal, authoritative voice that emerges primarily in the print media.7 Examining the American public sphere, Berlant observes that a white, male public subject emerges with an unmarked identity, who successfully erases the marks of his maleness and whiteness, through the extension of what seem to be protections and privileges to participants of the public sphere. For Berlant, “the effect of these privileges,” particularly extended to women and African-Americans, function to mark bodies with race and gender, which in turn enables the public subject “to appear to be disembodied or abstract while retaining cultural authority.”8 Understanding the public sphere not only as a disembodied voice but also as a regime of visibility produced through the media and state-mediated discourses is particularly helpful for an examination of the production of the public subject and the appropriation of gender in the Turkish public sphere. Current-day popular press in Turkey continually invokes the voice of a disembodied public subject in news stories ranging from issues of high politics to seemingly trivial things like sports. For example, a highly popular slogan chanted in soccer games that also appears frequently in the media not only in relation to sports but on other issues as well is, “Europe Europe hear our voice; this is the sound of us marching.” This slogan is telling in that it interpellates the Turkish public subject as an unmarked, disembodied, singular “us” and a competent rival to the European one. A more Page 28 → telling example is enmeshed in the coverage of a woman who shouted “Long live secularism!” in the midst of an Islamist rally in support of the Islamist Refah Party.9 One of the major newspapers featured this story on the front page with the headline “This Is Our ‘Braveheart,'”10 conjuring a public subject who is at once secularist and national. Courageous enough to stand up to a crowd of Islamists on her own, this “Braveheart” woman is construed as a national hero. Although the incident stems from actual events, the public subject produced here is more an imagined disembodied national subject than an actual person. Evoked through referrals to various concrete Others, this unmarked Turkish public subject is nonetheless situated in an abstract space and imagined as a single body with a single voice and gaze that gains presence by marking its various others but itself remaining unmarked, disembodied, and invisible. Through positing and reproducing its Others (European, Islamist) in daily discourse, the public gaze marks its periphery as it situates the public subject at the invisible center without having to explicitly name and mark itself. This publicity produces a subject position imagined as public collectivity with a particular yet unmarked identity. If the authoritative presence of the public subject is established through various interventions in daily public discourse that mark and unmark subjects, involving a wide array of images, displays, performances, and other visual articulations, then it is clear that the public subject is constructed not only verbally, through the authoritative voice of the media, but more importantly visually, through a disembodied gaze. The media produces the public subject not only through voice but also through a regime of visuality. The print media, augmented by other media replete with cameras, audiovisual technology, videos, and satellites, “invests the public subject with the privilege and authority of gazing at almost anything and everything it wants.”11 In this view, the public sphere of the late twentieth century is better understood as a field of appearances, performances, images, and displays. In contrast to Habermas's rejection of the turn to visuality with its concomitant erosion of deliberative exchanges as an indication of the degeneration and disintegration of the public sphere,12 I would argue that viewing the public sphere as a visually constituted field opens up important possibilities for analyzing the circulation of power and the construction of public subjects.13 This understanding illuminates how the public sphere is imbricated within everyday relations of power while also contributing to the production of hierarchies of difference, exclusions, and inclusions, not only through verbal

debates and dialogues but visually through images, displays, Page 29 → and performances. Within such a visually constituted public sphere, visibility and the controlled inclusion of particular subjectivities are technologies of authority and power. When viewed in this light, the public sphere is no longer a site of emancipation or liberation that comes through debate and dialogue but a field of visuality that subjugates through controlled silences, performative acts, speech acts, and visual displays. It is a visually constituted field of power relations where subjugation operates through the ongoing marking and categorization of diverse visibilities and subjectivities by the public gaze. Consider, for example, Burcak Keskin-Kozat's analysis of the public controversy over the case of Konca Kuris, an outspoken veiled feminist who was murdered by extremists in 2000. Keskin-Kozat draws attention to the widespread confusion and ambiguity in the media over whether Kuris was to be categorized as “an Islamist, an Islamic feminist or a feminist.”14 Keskin-Kozat sees this ambiguity not as a symptom of the inadequacy of these analytical categories but as an instance of the ways that “social categories homogenize individuals' diverse experiences into stereotypical constructs that structure and give meaning to their everyday practices.”15 But these social categories, which are ascribed agency and culpability by the author here, are themselves the product of the public sphere that organizes, categorizes, monitors, and hierarchically orders public subjects through its gaze. Expanding the operations of publicity to include visual as well as verbal registers offers important clues to understanding the production of new veiling practices as a threat to national security.

Marking Islam, Unmarking Secularism, and Possibilities for Subversion Following the main premise of this collection, this chapter focuses on the ways in which secularism was established in Turkey as the basic constitutional principle by bringing Islam and its public visibility under its direct control.16 In other words, to gain an understanding of the current status of political Islam in Turkey, this chapter examines how Islam has been appropriated and consigned to spaces, or what Asad refers to as the “shadows” of secularism, that are closely monitored by the state.17 In Turkey, secularism was established as one of the most essential principles of the founding ideology. The institutionalization of secularism involved the construction of a public sphere around secularist norms, which were measured by the degree to which Islam was kept under the control of Page 30 → secularist discourse. Secularism established and preserved its privileged position at the center of public discourse by confining Islam to a specific and tightly monitored visibility in the public sphere. Islam was marked as the backward, the uncultured and uneducated, the rural, the traditional, the particular, the lower class, so as to allow secularism to enjoy the unmarked position of being the advanced, the cultured and educated, the urban, the modern, the universal, the upper class. The authority and privilege of secularism was predicated upon the preservation of these binary oppositions that kept Islam as the marked, underprivileged Other.

West-Oriented Modernization and the Rise of Islamism Since the end of the eighteenth century, when the Ottoman rulers faced the necessity of reforming the administrative and political system, there has been a search for a modernization project that would successfully transform Ottoman state and society. Throughout the nineteenth century this search was marked by heated debates over what path modernization would follow: one that takes a Western/European model as the universal norm toward which society would be transformed or one that adheres to local traditions, values, and customs, namely, Islam, as the basis upon which reform and change would be implemented. This search eventually culminated in the fall of the Ottoman system and rise of the Turkish republic in 1923 and was based on a West-oriented modernization project and a new national identity that was envisioned as Western, modern, secular, and nationalist. This new national identity was constructed and set as the norm around which the public sphere was organized by contrasting it with Islamism and Ottomanism, both of which were framed and projected by the founding elite as tropes of the backward, barbaric, uncivilized, dark, and catastrophic.18 The ideal path for modernization for the new Turkish state was projected as distant from Islam and Ottomanism but also as retaining a sense of uniqueness and authenticity measured by distance from excessive Westernization.19 As such, Turkish modernization has always been marked by a negotiation of Islam on the one hand and Westernism on the other. This negotiation not

only yielded the emergence of a new nation-state, articulated in the new legal frame and secular institutions, but also continued to generate alternatives that repeatedly challenged the official project of modernity throughout the twentieth century. For example, the Islamist movement emerged around the Refah Party in the late 1980s and started to Page 31 → produce a counterdiscourse to official modernity. Contesting official modernity that had defined itself as West-oriented, the Islamist discourse identified itself as an East-oriented project.20

Unveiling the Body and the Making of the New Nation-State In the initial years of the secular republic, its founders were preoccupied with the forging of a new image for the new nation-state, which was facilitated by the construction and display of new gender identities.21 Since the new state was being built on the principles of modernization, Westernization, and secularism, this new national identity had to bear the mark of modernity, which meant not only the appearance of Westernism but also a break from the Ottoman past, a revolutionary diversion from Ottoman ways, against which the national self could be constituted. The Hat Law of 1925 is only one of the instances through which the state undertook revolutionary changes to institute marks of modernity, nationalism, and Westernism in the public sphere. In the justification for the Hat Law, it was noted that “the issue of headgear, which is completely unimportant in and of itself, is of special value for Turkey who wants to become a member of the family of modern nations. We propose to abolish the hat worn currently, which has become a mark of difference between Turkey and other modern nations, and replace it with the hat that is the common headgear of all modern, civilized nations.”22 It is clear from this statement that the founding state was directly and explicitly shaping the bodies of its citizens by regulating and dictating the norms of public attire and dress to erase marks of difference (i.e., Islam) and institute marks of civilization in the quest toward the constitution of a new state around a new, national, “modern, civilized” identity. When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk introduced the Hat Law, himself dressed in international clothes with a top hat, he said, “Gentlemen, the Turkish people who founded the Turkish Republic are civilized; they are civilized in history and in reality. But I tell you as your own brother, as your friend, as your father, that the people of the Turkish Republic, who claim to be civilized, must show and prove that they are civilized, by their ideas and their mentality, by their family life and their way of living…. My friends, international dress is worthy and appropriate for our nation, and we will wear it.”23 Even though the Hat Law did not formally target women's attire, the state was directly involved in promoting its new image through the visibility of women in the public sphere. The Islamic attire of women that included Page 32 → the traditional veil was not banned, but local governments were asked to oversee the issue, and in some cities the veil was banned in public spaces through local regulations.24 Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the state was actively engaged in promoting the new modern Westernized secular image of the nation through images of women in the public sphere. Mustafa Kemal pioneered to promote this new image in his personal life, not only by changing his own clothing to demonstrate the new norms of male public visibility as laid down by the Hat Law but also by having banquets and dance receptions organized and sponsored by the state where he would take his wife and daughters dressed in elegant Western gowns. Since only a decade ago it was quite uncommon for a husband and wife to appear together in public places, let alone dancing and dining together, Mustafa Kemal's bold efforts were seen as revolutionary attempts to create the “new woman” as a “symbol of the break with the past.”25 Those in secularist elite circles around Mustafa Kemal saw themselves as soldiers of a civilizing mission who were going to lead Turkish society toward a new modern Westernized secular lifestyle. This was done by appearing in public places as husband and wife, dressed in European-style clothing, gathering in coffeehouses and restaurants serving European dishes, and engaging in activities such as horseback riding or playing golf in prestigious clubs.26 The state was promoting the presence of women in public places and in occupations that were readily associated with men, encouraging women to become lawyers, pilots, parliamentarians, athletes, and scholars. Images of women engaged in modern activities and occupations dressed in modern clothes proliferated in the public sphere. The state produced and distributed, not only in Turkey but also in Europe, photographs of women in military training, in athletics competitions, in courtrooms as lawyers, in the parliament as politicians, and as pilots, engineers, and teachers.27

Marking Bodies and Political Agency

These examples illustrate the ways in which the new state used women's public visibility as a strategic means through which Turkey's new secular identity could be displayed. This was done mainly because the state targeted Europe as the ultimate referee that needed to be convinced of Turkey's new modern Westernized identity. They were quite aware that European perceptions of the Turks were sharply conditioned by an orientalist view that saw the Islamic lifestyle as one that confines women behind Page 33 → harem walls and by images of veiled women as a symbol of oppression and barbarism.28 According to Leila Ahmed, the projection of Islam as barbaric, oppressive of women, and backward, which was a product of nineteenth-century colonial enterprises, served to justify colonizing interventions in the Middle East as acts of liberation of women, producing a form of what Ahmed refers to as “colonial feminism.”29 Ahmed also shows how this colonial narrative of Islam and veiling came to be uncritically adopted by the local intelligentsia to such an extent that it formed the basis of newly emerging nationalist identities in the region. In Turkey, this view of Islam was not only internalized by the intelligentsia but also became official state policy. As a result, images of women “emancipated” from the confines of the veil and the harem, with a solid presence in the public sphere, engaged in modern activity, and wearing Western clothing, enabled the new Turkish state to distance itself from the “barbaric” ways of the Ottomans and Islam and to align itself with Europe. During the early years of the republic, the state not only promoted images of modern, Westernized women in the public sphere but also developed legislative measures involving women's direct participation in public and political life. A new civil code was adopted in 1926 that mandated equal rights in inheritance and marital affairs, and women were granted full suffrage in 1934. Various autonomous women's organizations and groups were consolidated by the state in 1924 under the Turkish Women's Federation to encourage women to take up active roles in the public sphere and political life.30 The goal of the state in undertaking such measures was outlined by Atatürk when he was commenting on the granting of full suffrage to women: “This decision has earned Turkish women a higher status than that of the women of other nations. In the future, it will be necessary to search for covered, veiled, and caged women [only] in history books…. By participating in general elections, Turkish women are now using the most important of all rights. This right, which is denied to women in many civilized countries, is now fully available to Turkish women.”31 As suggested in this statement, the state was primarily concerned with promoting a new image for Turkey by demonstrating how it was liberating its women and ensuring a modern civilized life for its citizens. These ideas resonated strongly among the members of the Turkish Women's Federation, who had assumed the civilizing mission so much so that its leader, Latife Bekir, said, “in Turkey, women have been called by Atatürk to rid themselves of the veil and take their places alongside men.”32 This line of thinking, which reflected the core constitutional tenet of Page 34 → the founding ideology of the new Turkish state, maintained that women's place and role in society is the single most significant indicator that Turkey is a modern and civilized country, a goal that can be achieved if and only if Turkey distances itself from Islam. The image of the modern Westernized liberated woman in the public sphere, which was attained by the erasure of the mark of Islam, the veil, from the body, was a matter of the realization of the foundational cause of the new Turkish state toward acquiring a modern and civilized identity. Indeed, Atatürk himself saw the practice of veiling as a malady, a “barbarous posture” or an “object of ridicule” that needed to be corrected.33 This generous extension of women's rights by the state, sometimes referred to as “state feminism,” functioned similarly to what Ahmed refers to as “colonial feminism”34 in that, as feminist critics have stressed, it was a rhetorical strategy mobilized to promote official ideology and project a new image for Turkey as a West-oriented modern and civilized country.35 Such “state feminism,”36 which was celebrated by Kemalists for contributing to the well-being and emancipation of women, was criticized by feminists who suggested that the granting of women's rights by the state was done only to promote official ideology and that the state was not at all interested in the actual experiences and well-being of women.37 Indeed, the Turkish Women's Federation that was formed in 1924 and had devoutly campaigned in support of the state's secularist reforms was disbanded in 1935—only a year after full suffrage was granted to women—because the federation went against state policy when it signed an international petition for peace and disarmament.38 Feminists argue that while the state was seemingly granting

women's rights it seriously undermined the development of an autonomous women's movement by bringing all women's organizations under state control through the Women's Federation. When the federation dissolved, Turkey was left without any association for women. Indeed, autonomous women's movements did not reemerge until the 1990s, and the percentage of women serving in elective office has never reached the level achieved in 1937 (18 women parliamentarians, constituting 4.6 percent of the Great National Assembly) for the next seventy years. In fact, it predominantly remained below 2 percent, and only in the 2007 general elections did it finally reach 9 percent. The state's promotion of women in the public sphere has been interpreted as a call for women “to be active agents in the building of a modern nation.”39 This view is in accordance with a Habermasian notion that sees participation in the public sphere as a means of acquiring political agency. However, as feminist criticism suggests, the public visibility granted to Page 35 → women by the Turkish state has actually served to deny agency to women and to deny their organizations an autonomous presence in the public sphere. In fact, women's enhanced presence in the public sphere has allowed the state to constitute itself as the secular political agent capable of producing a public sphere in accordance with its own foundational norms and principles. Through a series of regulated interventions that orchestrated women's visibility in the public sphere, the secular state constructed itself as the political agent who unveiled the female body, dressing it in accordance with secular ideals and principles so as to display Turkey's new national identity for a Western global gaze.

Headscarf: Marking the Boundaries of the Public and the Private It is in such a discursive context that university students wearing Islamic headscarves appeared in the Turkish public sphere in the 1980s, a sphere that had been kept closely under the surveillance of secularism. By acquiring an undeniable visibility on the university campus—the epitome of the modern, the urban, the rational, and the progressive—this potent symbol of Islam disrupted the binaries that maintained secularism as the unmarked privileged center. In the public world created by secularism, Islam could not possibly have an existence in a university setting. This is why secularist circles reacted to the headscarf in outrage, calling for stricter measures for its suppression, which eventually culminated in a ban against the headscarf in all schools and public offices that remains in effect to this day. The secularist antagonism eventually culminated in the National Security Council decree in February 1997, which called for tighter measures against “the rising threat of reactionism [irtica]” including the ban on the headscarf. Reflecting the views of the military, which was the key force behind this decree, a high-ranking military officer, who was asked, “Is it really the end of the world if civil servants begin wearing headscarves?” answered, “Yes. It is the end of the world.”40 Ten years later, even after the successor of the Islamist Refah Party, the AK Party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came to power and for the first time in its history Turkey's First Lady is wearing the Islamic headscarf, this perception of the headscarf as a threat continues and is still not allowed in some schools, university campuses, and public offices. Many religiously oriented university students across campuses in Turkey compromised by coming to school with either wigs or hats to cover their heads. Page 36 → The disruptive power of the headscarf lies in its ability to redraw the boundaries of the private on the body, thereby redefining the constitutive limits of the public. If public is understood as those spaces and places that are open to the public gaze, then closing off certain spaces and places—and body parts—as private redraws the boundaries of the public. By delineating that which is private, the headscarf delimits the public gaze, the very mechanism through which the public is constituted. Because the norms and boundaries that constitute the public are not only formed but also challenged and subverted by shifting, manipulating, or displacing the boundaries of the private, the headscarf becomes a potent threat. It is exactly through the manipulation of the boundaries of the private as they are marked upon the body—particularly the female body—that the headscarf becomes a subversive force when it emerges in the secular public sphere, asserting its own unconventional and nonsecular (Islamic) norms of privacy. Secularist norms that draw the public-private boundaries upon the female body maintain that the hair and the neck are open to the public gaze, whereas Islamic norms (as they are interpreted by Islamists in

Turkey) consider these aspects of female embodiment as strictly private. When women wearing the Islamic headscarf appear in public spaces, especially in places like the university campus or public offices, which are the strongholds of secularism, this seemingly trivial piece of clothing imposes an Islamic frame upon the publicprivate distinction and unsettles the established secular norms that constitute publicness. Thus the subversive effect of the Islamic headscarf lies in its power to redraw the boundaries of public and private spheres, thereby unsettling the authority of secularism over the body and the public sphere. Drawing or shifting the public-private boundaries on the body through clothing not only functions to set the norms around which the public sphere is organized but also vests those who draw such boundaries on the body with political agency. It is for this reason that the Turkish state and other political actors have been interested in what people wear, where they wear it, and how they wear it. Through regulating and monitoring how people appear in the public realm the state acquires political agency and dictates its own norms and standards of nationhood. The Turkish nation defined itself in terms of secularism, modernism, and Westernism by unveiling the female body. Hence images of women in bathing suits became one of the key symbols of the authority of secularism over the body, circulating abundantly in photographs, cartoons, and illustrations during the republic's formative years, vigorously promoted by the state as proof of Turkey's devotion to modernity.41 But just as secularism was institutionalized by the new Turkish state through the unveiling of the female body, Islamism Page 37 → was instituted by the Islamist elite of the Refah Party by reveiling the female body, similarly using the clothing of the body as a site from which to project their version of nationalism.

Islamist Challenges and the Headscarf: From Public Visibility to National Security The unveiling of the female body by the secular state was not only an intervention on bodies but also on Islam, which brought about a rupture in Islam's authority over the female body that was maintained as a sacred site ensured by the veil. The institutionalization of secularism resulted in a further rupture in Islam. On the one hand, orthodox Islam was brought under the direct control of the secular state through the Directorate of Religious Affairs, which supervised theology schools, advised the public on Islamic knowledge and practice, and appointed the imams of all mosques in Turkey. On the other hand, heterodox Islam, which is basically the Islam of mystical Sufi orders and similar informal Islamic groupings, lost their social standing after all such religious Sufi lodges and orders (tekke and zaviye) were closed down in 1925.42 Nevertheless, autonomous Islamic practices survived as informal mystical orders often mobilized through personal networks around musical societies or poetry and literature groups. Such heterodox Islamic practices had long existed because their traditions of secrecy and discreetness allowed them to maintain a low profile and avoid the public gaze and the interventions of the secularist state. Between the founding of the Turkish republic in 1923 and the mid-1980s, secularist authority gained hegemonic status in the public sphere, coming to be perceived as the natural commonsense standard around which politics and public life was organized. This status allowed secularism to enjoy the privilege of being an invisible (unmarked), nonnegotiable, and uncontestable norm. The Islamic headscarf, worn by university students in public places, was one of the important elements that gave a new sort of visibility to Islam in the public sphere, unsettling that norm. The Refah Party, the main Islamic political party in Turkey, started to grow in the late 1980s from a small, insignificant, rightwing party (with less than 10 percent of the national vote) into a mass party that assumed a more explicit Islamist identity. The Refah Party's first electoral success came with the local elections in 1994 when it won the mayoralties in several cities, including Istanbul and the capital Ankara. This success was followed by a victory in the general elections in December 1995. With Refah receiving the highest percentage of votes, the party leader Necmettin Erbakan Page 38 → became the prime minister of a coalition government in 1996. Given the strong hold of secularism over the public sphere, secularist circles were extremely troubled by these developments. Not only the military, which saw itself as the chief guardian of secularist ideals, but more significantly various civil society organizations and grassroots movements perceived the rise of political Islam in

Turkey as the single most important threat to the well-being and security of the country.43 Growing pressure from the military and these secularist associations and groups culminated in the National Security Council's reprimand in February 1997. As a consequence, the coalition government fell, and Erbakan's short but significant incumbency ended. Throughout the 1990s, political and public life in Turkey revolved around the Islam-secularism divide, and the Islamic headscarf remained a top issue of antagonism between secularist and Islamist circles. Within a decade, the headscarf went from being a controversial item of religious attire to a matter of national security when it was identified as one of the main indicators of the Islamic threat in the February 1997 admonition, which called for the enforcement of the ban on the headscarf in all public places including classrooms, universities, and public offices. The increasing use of the Islamic headscarf was also one of the top reasons why the Refah Party was closed down by the Constitutional Court in January 1998 (Sabah, March 5, 1998).44 The ban on the headscarf had first been introduced when the Higher Education Council passed a decree in December 1986, stating that it is mandatory for students to wear “modern clothing” at all times on school premises but leaving it up to university administrations to decide what would constitute “modern clothing.” This decree paved the way for the ban on the headscarf, and in most universities across the country students were denied entry to university premises unless they took off their headscarves. This ban resulted in massive demonstrations, protests, and petition campaigns not only by the students but also by the supporters of the Refah Party and people in other Islamic circles as well. These protests were perceived by secularist circles as a “rebellion against Atatürk's reforms and the principles of the republican state Atatürk established.” 45 The resolute protests of the students with headscarves and the adamant secularist backlash culminated in the Constitutional Court decision in 1991 that introduced an unwavering ban on the headscarf. But the antagonism continued until the National Security Council decree in February 1997 mandated full enforcement of the headscarf ban, a mandate endorsed by secularist civil society associations, all public offices, and the government. Page 39 → The February 1997 resolution was a crucial turning point in the politics of Islam in Turkey, resulting in the dissolution of the Refah Party by the Constitutional Court in 1998, and the barring of both Erbakan and Istanbul's mayor, Erdogan, from active politics until 2003. While the party was immediately reorganized under the Fazilet (virtue) Party, this intervention resulted in a split within the party ranks between the older generation conservatives who chose to continue an antagonistic stance against secularism and the younger generation liberals in favor of compromise with secularists organized around Erdogan. The latter group later formed the Adalet ve Kalkinma (AK, or Justice and Development) Party, which won the general parliamentary elections in 2002. The overwhelming electoral victory of the AK Party brought Erdogan to power as Turkey's first prime minister leading an Islam-based political party controlling a majority of parliamentary seats. Moreover, Erdogan's wife became Turkey's first First Lady to wear an Islamic headscarf. Interestingly, the ban on the Islamic headscarf continues even under the AK Party rule. The fact that the First Lady herself is wearing a headscarf only carried the controversy to the level of formal state receptions and gatherings where the prime minister, and several other AK Party officials whose wives have headscarves, attend without their wives so as not to violate regulations that ban the headscarf in public offices. The emergence of the Islamic headscarf in public spaces and the resulting battle over the secularist norms of public life did not put an end to the reign of secularist ideology or even weaken it. If anything, this process has strengthened secularism, transforming it from an ideological principle enforced by the state to a widely endorsed norm of public and private life celebrated by civil society associations and grassroots movements. Autonomous Islamist identities that have become visible in the public sphere through the headscarf, however, certainly have had a powerful impact—revealing the authoritative and privileged status of secularism and rendering it visible and contestable, thereby making it subject to negotiation. Indeed, the headscarf dispute was the ultimate spark that triggered ongoing negotiations over the principle of secularism, which persist twenty years after the first ban on the headscarf was introduced in 1987.

Women and the Public Sphere While the headscarf has a subversive effect on the power and authority of secularism, it has a rather unexpected subjugating effect on its wearers. Just Page 40 → as the public visibility of modern women in the early years of the republic served to constitute the state as a political agent and to deny agency to the women themselves, the headscarf has had the same effect, constituting the political agency of certain Islamic male elites at the cost of the agency of those women who are the most visible bearers of Islamic identity. The headscarf has served to give Islam a presence in the public sphere, but at the same time it confines headscarf-wearing women to that specific symbolic presence. While the bearers of the mark of Islamic identities—veiled women—opened up public spaces to Islam, it was predominantly men who gained political agency through this new publicity. In this respect, the Islamist male elite hijacked the power of the headscarf from the women wearing them by declaring it the symbol of the struggle of Islam against secularism. Consider, for example, the experiences of a veiled lawyer, Gonul Arslan, who notes that she has encountered discriminatory behavior not only from secularists who express disdain because of her clothing but also from Islamists who unfairly privilege her only because of her headscarf. Arslan notes that “Islamic identity should not be identified with a person's place and status in society…. Islamic identity becomes a social identity, which should not happen.”46 As Arslan points out, “Muslim men do not have to face this kind of discrimination because they don't bear any marks of difference”;47 nor are their political options constrained by the privilege of relegation to Islamic symbol. The headscarf gives a certain degree of freedom to Islamist men, since they are able to enjoy the privileges of the public visibility of Islam without having to suffer the consequences of bearing its mark. The headscarf—or the image of the veiled woman as a representation of Islam—proliferated in Islamist discourses during the 1990s. The leadership of the Refah Party actively promoted images of veiled women in their election campaigns. During public meetings and rallies, veiled women were gathered up in the front and made the focus of media attention. Islamist writers rallied behind the headscarf, which, according to one columnist, is “akin to the national flag,”48 and the Islamists who launched the Fazilet Party after the Refah Party disbanded in 1998 considered making the headscarf the official party symbol.49 But the bearers of the mark of Islam find that the public visibility that the headscarf has earned them is also serving to deny them public agency. This is most explicitly illustrated in the way that the same party, Refah, that encouraged the proliferation of the image of the veiled woman in the public sphere actively discouraged the presence of women in its ranks. The Refah Party did not have a single woman in any of its administrative ranks as Page 41 → it rose to prominence or when it was banned in 1998.50 Sibel Eraslan, the former leader of the Women's Commission of the Refah Party, who had organized an immensely successful election campaign in Istanbul before the local elections in 1994, was denied an administrative post in the city administration after the party's electoral victory. When she demanded an active position in the administration, she and her associates were removed from their positions at the Women's Commission, to be replaced by the wives and daughters of top-level party officials.51 The city administration of Istanbul under Erdogan's mayoralty (1994–98) diverted a great deal of its resources to the creation of an intellectually sophisticated and rich field of activities around conferences, seminars, and panels, to which a wide variety of speakers were invited from both within Turkey and abroad, including secularists, Islamists, liberals, and Marxists. The only group of people systematically excluded from these events were Islamic women intellectuals. Those few who were invited to participate were allowed to address topics only concerning women and the family, whereas non-Islamist women academics were invited as speakers on themes that were relevant to their specific fields, ranging from politics to law and the arts. When Eraslan, a political activist and lawyer, is invited to panels and seminars, regardless of whether they are organized by Islamists or secularists, she is invariably expected to talk only about issues related to the headscarf or new veiling and the status of women in Islam, not about her political views or about her research in law.52 As noted by Ayse Saktanber, “covered women cannot raise their voices and speak through the tenets of women's opposition, no matter how successful they are as political activists or how well educated they are as intellectuals.”53 As a result of increasing demands by Islamic women intellectuals to be represented in the conferences and panels organized by the city administration, a new series of monthly panels for women was launched, titled “Meetings

about Us” (Bize Dair Toplantilar). This series was organized in cooperation with PUMER (Proje Uretim Merkezi; Center for the Production of Projects), a research center established by a group of Islamic women intellectuals, journalists, writers, artists, and lawyers. Just as the title “Meetings about Us” designates women as a specific group set apart from the public requiring a panel series of their own, the panel themes have also confined the issues to those specific to women: women in politics, popular culture and women, women and the public sphere, women and family, women in the media, and so on. While this panel series opened up an important opportunity for Islamic women intellectuals to participate in debates, it also served to confine them to women's issues and exclude them Page 42 → from all the other panels and conferences, which were crucial sites of public debate and discussion. Tying public visibility of Islam to the headscarf has enhanced the political agency of male Islamist elites in another way, as illustrated by men's reluctance to bear the mark of Islamic identity themselves. Islamist men have strongly resisted the visibility of male Islamic identities in the public sphere. Calling for the negotiation of gender hierarchies operating within Islamist discourse, a group of Islamic women intellectuals attempted to open up a discussion on Islamic male identities: “When we look around us, we see a lot of books, panels, and seminars on how women should be in Islam. [During sermons] the imams in mosques tell their male audiences how women should be in Islam…. While Muslim female identity is discussed in detail and is always on the agenda, ‘Muslim male identity' never really becomes an issue. [We] wonder why…. Is it because the term ‘Muslim' already means ‘Muslim man'? And thus a ‘Muslim female identity' has to be specified as a separate category?”54 Male Islamists dismissed this call for negotiation, repudiating the allusion to male power as a “fake” problem that was not an “internal matter or a vital issue, but an imposition upon us [Islamic circles] from the outside.”55 Thus, while their images are constantly being promoted in public displays toward the construction of new Islamic identities, veiled women cannot find any agency or even recognition as a subject other than as a veiled woman. For this reason, Eraslan has argued that “women are not present in the public sphere, only their images are.”56 Just as the secularist state of the founding years constructed itself as a political agent by inscribing a new national consciousness through the bodies of unveiled women in the public sphere, the Islamists of the 1990s (particularly the Refah Party) constructed themselves as the political agents who would introduce a new national identity by forging and manipulating images of Muslim women. And just as the increased public visibility of women in the 1920s and 1930s operated not to grant but in fact to deny political agency to women, so did the proliferation of the images of veiled women in the public sphere operate to deny agency to Islamic women in the 1990s and onward. The subjugating effect of the public sphere is evident, then, not only in the ways that women are silenced and excluded from public life but also in the particular forms their presence takes and the conditions structuring their inclusion. The public sphere is a field of power relations that subjugates by instituting a regime of visibility that exerts tight control over modes of symbolic representation as well as the terms and conditions of political participation. Both of these techniques of control effectively deny Page 43 → agency to particular gendered citizens. Although outright exclusion has come to be recognized as a mode of oppression, controlled inclusion structured by particular regimes of visibility has not yet secured that recognition. Contrary to the emancipatory ideals attributed to the Habermasian public sphere, public visibility and voice do not necessarily promote political liberties. As a regime of visuality, the public sphere also operates to deny agency by constructing a public gaze that continuously marks and categorizes subjectivities. As the Turkish case makes clear, both the evolution of a secular public sphere under the surveillance of the state and recent Islamist appropriations of the public sphere have depended upon the production and manipulation of proliferating images of women, unveiled and reveiled, as a technology of controlled inclusion that enhances the political agency of men, while seriously constraining women.

NOTES This article is a revised and shortened version of Alev Çinar, “Subversion and Subjugation in the Public Sphere: Secularism and the Islamic Headscarf,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 33, no. 4 (August 2008): 891–913. Printed with the permission of Signs. © 2008 by Alev Çinar.

1. There are a wide variety of ways in which women wear head coverings in Turkey. The controversial headscarf that is of concern here is one that is a part of a distinct type of Islamic dress that typically includes a scarf tied under the chin so as to conceal the hair as well as the neck, worn with loose-fitting long dresses or overcoats. This type of attire is almost identical to what has been termed “new veiling” by Arlene MacLeod, referring to a type of Muslim dress that emerged in Egypt in the early 1980s and is a specifically urban and middle-class phenomenon and not a continuation of a traditional Muslim dress style. See Arlene Elowe MacLeod, Accommodating Protest: Working Women, the New Veiling, and Change in Cairo (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 109–12. 2. Nancy Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere, A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy,” in The Phantom Public Sphere, ed. Bruce Robbins (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 1–32; Jean L. Cohen, “Critical Social Theory and Feminist Critiques: The Debate with Jurgen Habermas,” in Feminists Read Habermas: Gendering the Subject of Discourse, ed. Johanna Meehan (New York: Routledge, 1995), 57–90; Seyla Benhabib, ed., Democracy and Difference: Contesting the Boundaries of the Political (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996). 3. Craig Calhoun, “Introduction: Habermas and the Public Sphere,” in Habermas and the Public Sphere, ed. Craig Calhoun (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992), 34–36. 4. See Michael Warner, “The Mass Public and the Mass Subject,” in Habermas and the Public Sphere, ed. Craig Calhoun (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992), 377–401; Lauren Berlant, “National Brands/National Body: Imitation of Life,” in The Phantom Public Sphere, ed. Bruce Robbins (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Page 44 → 1993), 173–208; Joan B. Landes, “The Public and the Private Sphere: A Feminist Reconsideration,” in Feminists Read Habermas: Gendering the Subject of Discourse, ed. Johanna Meehan (New York: Routledge, 1995), 91–116. 5. Landes, “The Public and the Private Sphere,” 99. 6. Jurgen Habermas, “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article (1964),” New German Critique 3 (Autumn 1974): 50. 7. Warner, “The Mass Public and the Mass Subject,” 381–82. 8. Berlant, “National Brands/National Body,” 176. 9. In the late 1980s the main Islamist political party in Turkey was the Refah (Welfare) Party. Banned twice by the Constitutional Court in 1998 and again in 2001, the party reappeared first as the Fazilet (virtue) Party in 1998 and then as the Saadet (Felicity) Party in 2001. In 2001, the moderate wing of Refah/Fazilet representing the younger generation left the party to found the Adalet ve Kalkinma (AK or Justice and Development) Party under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who came to power as the leader of a majority government following the November 2002 elections. Adalet ve Kalkinma was the first single party to come to power in Turkey that endorsed an Islam-based political ideology. 10. Saygi Ozturk, “This Is Our ‘Braveheart,'” Sabah, August 7, 1997. 11. Alev Çinar, Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey: Bodies, Places, and Time (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), 39–40. 12. Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans. Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989), 159–80. 13. See also Paolo Carpignano, “The Shape of the Sphere: The Public Sphere and the Materiality of Communication,” Constellations 6, no. 2 (1999): 177–89. 14. Burcak Keskin-Kozat, “Entangled in Secular Nationalism, Feminism, and Islamism: The Life of Konca Kuris,” Cultural Dynamics 15, no. 2 (2003): 198. 15. Ibid., 199. 16. Throughout this chapter I use the terms secularism and Islamism as political ideologies, or political projects, that seek to transform society and establish a sociopolitical order on the basis of a set of constitutive norms and principles. 17. Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 16. 18. Alev Çinar, “National History as a Contested Site: The Conquest of Istanbul and Islamist Negotiations of the Nation,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 43, no. 2 (2001): 369–70. 19. Meyda Yegenoglu, Colonial Fantasies: Towards a Feminist Reading of Orientalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 133–34.

20. Çinar, Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey. 21. See, for example, Nilufer Gole, The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997); Deniz Kandiyoti, “Gendering the Modern: On Missing Dimensions in the Study of Turkish Modernity,” in Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey, ed. Sibel Bozdogan and Resat Kasaba (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997), 113–32; Meyda Yegenoglu, Colonial Fantasies: Towards a Feminist Reading of Orientalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 133–34. 22. Cited in Cihan Aktas, Kilik, Kiyafet ve Iktidar: 12 Mart'tan 12 Eylul'e-V.1. Page 45 → (Clothing, Dress and Power: From March 12 to September 12) (Istanbul: Nehir Yayinlar, 1991). All Turkish-to-English translations are the author's unless otherwise noted. 23. Cited in Yegenoglu, Colonial Fantasies, 133. Translation as in the original in the cited reference. 24. Aktas, Kilik, Kiyafet ve Iktidar, 170–73. 25. Deniz Kandiyoti, “End of Empire: Islam, Nationalism, and Women in Turkey,” in her Women, Islam, and the State (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991), 41. 26. Gole, The Forbidden Modern, 61. 27. Sarah Graham-Brown, Images of Women: The Portrayal of Women in Photography of the Middle East, 1860–1950 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), 218–21. 28. Malek Alloula, The Colonial Harem, trans. Myrna Godzich and Wlad Godzich (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986). 29. Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of Modern Debate (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 152. 30. Graham-Brown, Images of Women, 220. For detailed information on this period see Kandiyoti (1991) and Yesim Arat, “The Project of Modernity and Women in Turkey,” in Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey, ed. Sibel Bozdogan and Resat Kasaba (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997), 95–112. 31. Perihan Naci Eldeniz, “Atatürk ve Turk Kadini” (Atatürk and the Turkish Woman), T.T.K. Belleten 10, no. 80 (1956): 741. 32. Aktas, Kilik, Kiyafet ve Iktidar, 172. 33. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Ataturk'un Turk Kadini Hakkindaki Goruslerinden Bir Demet (Selections from Atatürk's Views on Turkish Woman), ed. Turkan Arikan (Ankara: T.B.M.M. Yayinlari, 1984), 19. 34. Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam. 35. Yesim Arat, “The Project of Modernity and Women in Turkey.” 36. Jenny White, “State Feminism, Modernization, and the Turkish Republican Woman,” National Women's Studies Association Journal 15, no. 3 (2003): 145–59. 37. Sirin Tekeli, Kadinlar ve Siyasal Toplumsal Hayat (Women and political social life) (Istanbul: Birikim Yayinlari, 1982); Yesim Arat, “The Project of Modernity and Women in Turkey.” 38. 38. Kandiyoti, Women, Islam, and the State, 41–42. 39. Nilufer Gole, “The Gendered Nature of the Public Sphere,” Public Culture 10, no. 1 (1997): 67. 40. Stephen Kinzer, “In Defense of Secularism, Turkish Army Warns Rulers,” New York Times, March 2, 1997, 9. 41. Çinar, Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey, 63–64. 42. Serif Mardin differentiates between orthodox and heterodox Islam going back to the Ottoman Empire and constituting the fabric of social and political life. See Serif A. Mardin, “Ideology and Religion in the Turkish Revolution,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 2, no. 3 (1971): 197–211. 43. The popularization of secularism, which is referred to as the “privatization of state ideology,” is discussed in detail in Esra Ozyurek, Nostalgia for the Modern: Page 46 → State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006). 44. “Turban Kapatma Gerekcesi” (The Turban is the Cause of Closure), Sabah, March 5, 1998. 45. Cumhuriyet, January 7, 1987. 46. Gulcan Tezcan, “Kadin Sus Degildir” (Women are not ornaments), Yeni Safak, November 6, 1996. 47. Ibid. 48. Yasar Kaplan, “Bayrak ile basortusu arasindaki paralellik” (The similarity between the flag and the headscarf), Akit, September 2, 1996, 2.

49. Milliyet, March 24, 1998. 50. Refah's successor, the Fazilet Party, recruited some women to its ranks to save face, yet none of these women wore headscarves. 51. Sibel Eraslan, interviewed by the author, Istanbul, July 15, 1997. 52. Sibel Eraslan, interviewed by the author, Istanbul, September 13, 1996. 53. Ayse Saktanber, “Women and the Iconography of Fear: Islamization in Post-Islamist Turkey,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32, no. 1 (2006): 28. 54. Nazife Sisman and Ayse Bohurler, “Egemenlik ya da Ego-Menlik!” (Sovereignty or Ego-Men–ism), Izlenim, August 1993, 16. 55. Ibid., 27. These are the words of Ismail Kara, a prominent Islamic intellectual who is the author of Turkiye'de İslamcilik Dusuncesi (Islamic thought in Turkey) (1987), the first and most comprehensive work on this topic. His dismissal of the debate on Islamic male identity was in response to questions posed by Sisman and Bohurler, who initiated this debate in a monthly Islamic publication (1993), 27. 56. Sibel Eraslan, interviewed by the author, Istanbul, September 13, 1996.

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2 Islamic Visibilities, Intimacies, and Counter Publics in the Secular Public Sphere BUKET TÜRKMEN This essay seeks to shed light on the particularities of Turkish secularism and its deeply entwined relations with Islam, as well as the transformation of the secularist public sphere in Turkey. Based on the argument that the reformulation and the transformation of secularist public sphere can best be understood in its relationship to Islam, I examine the activities of two Islamic foundations in Istanbul: the Foundation of National Youth (FNY—Milli Genclik Vakfi) and the Foundation of Ensar.1 The emergence of the Islamists as new actors of social change in Turkey has been one of the primary determining factors of the 1980s. Turkish secularism has designated the secularist and occidentalist elite as actors of modernization2 and has given them a privileged position in the public sphere, while accepting the Muslim as backward and ignorant, pushing them to the periphery of the modernization project.3 By the 1980s, with the end of the developmentalist economical system, these peripheral groups have risen in the social hierarchy as new actors of the neoliberal modernity. Throughout these years, Islamist identity has carried these groups to the system, through Islamic global networks, whereas the 1990s have witnessed the consequences of their attempted integration into the social system such as their detachment from communitarian ties, their embourgeoisement, the “banalization”4 of their Islamic way of life. Some scholars such as Gole, Roy, and Khosrokhavar underline the decline of the revolutionary fervor in these years among diverse Islamic actors in different Page 48 → societies and their shift from the revolutionary social movement to identity politics.5 With the rise of these Islamic actors, the infusion of the Islamic lifestyle in urban spaces has been the main challenge to the republican social project and to secularist groups in those years.6 The secular public sphere, rather than being integrative toward the newcomers, was exclusive and defensive toward them. Thus the definition of the Turkish public sphere has been called into question since the 1980s. What emerged out of this debate was the negotiation of the Republican (i.e., official) definition, which was based on the conception of neutrality of the secular public sphere toward the citizens. The neutrality principle requires the citizens to be detached from their specificities when in the public sphere, to not harm its neutrality, with the aim to ensure the republican equality principle. This principle is accused by the new Islamist actors of favoring certain (secularist elite) groups at the expense of others, resulting in the domination of the modernist elite in the period of the construction of this Republican public sphere as part of the modernist/Kemalist project.7 The new Islamist actors argued that secularism, which claimed to be the “neutral” core of the public sphere, in fact produced a social hierarchy that favored the secularist elite's lifestyle as a desirable lifestyle. These debates have resulted in the negotiation of the public sphere and secularism, especially in relation to the problematic of inclusion and/or exclusion of different social groups. This exclusion is concretized in the veil issue in universities: the exclusion of veiled students from universities in the name of the protection of secularist principles has acquired a symbolic character in the conflict between the secularists and the Islamic actors. In this context, secularism has been appropriated by the previously dominant middle classes as a characteristic of their lifestyle, while it has been put in question and rejected by the new urban middle classes identifying themselves with the Islamic lifestyle. As these negotiations reveal, in the case of Turkey, secularism is not taken primarily as an abstract set of shared ideas, nor as legal procedures that guarantee the participation of every citizen in public debate regardless of his or her faith. It entails specific embodied practices that are based on a specific relationship to religion. In other words, Turkish secularism cannot be considered as a set of neutral political procedures founded on the separation of religious authority and the state, but rather it needs to be taken as the appropriation and reinterpretation of religion by the state with the aim of establishing secularism as a foundational ideology.8 It is also important to note that even though secularism in Turkey was established as a founding Page 49 → ideology that marks the break with the Ottoman/Islamic past, Turkish secularism and its relationships to Islam nevertheless reveal a continuity with

the Ottoman state where the Sultan's authority superseded religious authority (the Seyhulislam).9 We can see the continuity in the tradition of a strong state with power over religion in order to keep Islam under the reins of secularism. The institutionalization of secularism through the control of Islam was achieved not only through legal procedures or political institutions but also through embodied practices and visibilities in the public sphere, such as the removal of the head covering for women, change of clothing styles, change of habits and customs, and so on. Similar to these practices during the founding years, Islamic groups that emerged during the 1980s and 1990s expressed their opposition and challenged the authority of secularism through bodily practices as well. Even though the conflict between these two groups is enacted today through such bodily practices and lifestyles, this cannot be interpreted only in terms of cultural conflict. Çinar's chapter in this book points out the social dimension of Turkish secularism by discussing how it marked Islam as “the backward, the uncultured and uneducated, the rural, the traditional, the particular, the lower-class,” consequently allowing secularism to stand for “the advanced, the cultured and educated, the urban, the modern, the universal, the upper-class.” Thus the secularist-Islamist conflict today can be more accurately described in terms of social exclusion brought about by cultural interventions. We see today in Turkey the renegotiation of these binary oppositions on which secularism has been founded, not only by Islamists but also by secularist circles who are reappropriating the official ideology, Kemalism, in new ways. The Islamist challenge to secularism, which has been expressing itself through embodied practices, has led in recent years to the formation of an ambiguous social movement in the public sphere. This movement consists of what are sometimes referred to as “neo-Kemalists,” bringing with it the paradox of being a civilian movement supported by the army.10 It assembles under this label secularist middle classes, religious minorities, and some leftist groups, motivated by their fear of the rise of Islam. This new secularist civilian movement took a solid presence in the public sphere before the presidential elections of 2007, when they rallied around the common goal of protesting the potential election of an Islamist president. Studies of embodied practices of secularism in the Turkish public sphere11 suggest that the emergence of such neo-Kemalist social movements in the public sphere in the late 1990s as a backlash is the product of the rise of Islam in the public sphere.12 The unfolding of the clash between Page 50 → this new secularist movement and Islamist groups suggests that secularism is renegotiated not only in the frame of its official definition but more importantly as a determining factor of social relations and hierarchies between these actors. As these observations suggest, in order to understand the transformation of secularism in Turkey through such politics of social hierarchies, it is necessary to investigate secularism in its relation to Islam, and vice versa. This study focuses on the significance of the formation of Islamic counter publics in the secular public sphere, as they emerged around Islamic foundations after the 1980s, looking at their contribution to the rise of Islamic groups in the Turkish public sphere. Through our field study with the actors of these counter publics, we will try to see whether these counter publics have the capacity to participate in the construction of a pluralistic public sphere by contributing to its enlargement through the integration of the newcomers or whether they will turn out to be new exclusive Islamic communities excluded from the secular public sphere and thus contributing to its fragmentation.

The Secularist-Republican Project and the Challenge of the Islamist Counter Public The negotiation of the Republican definition of the Turkish public sphere is actually connected to the scholarly discussion on the public sphere that emerged in the last decade. The conceptualization of the bourgeois public sphere put forth by Habermas as the ideal place of rational debate, which should be open and accessible to all, has been criticized for its neglect of conflicts between social groups. According to this criticism, social inequalities can affect deliberation, even in the absence of any formal exclusion.13 One of the solutions to the problem of exclusion in the Habermasian discursive model is discussed by Nancy Fraser, who suggests the plurality of competing publics instead of a single unified public sphere. This plural character of competing publics would promote better the ideal of participatory parity. In response to this debate, Fraser puts forth the notion of “subaltern counter publics,” which are “parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counter discourses to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and

needs.”14 Such counter publics remain the main challenge to the bourgeois public sphere from emerging groups in the social hierarchy. This challenge both helps them to construct a space for themselves in the Page 51 → public sphere (through withdrawal and regrouping) and allows them to challenge the narrow and singular definition of the public sphere, by offering a basis for agitational activities directed toward wider publics, with the purpose of the differentiation and coexistence of multiple publics. The notion of counter publics allows us to reconsider the rise of Islamic groups in the social hierarchy and question whether their emergence indicates the formation of a pluralistic public sphere in Turkey, or the change of power between secularist groups and new Islamist actors in a single, unified public sphere. In either case, the social role and the perception of secularism would change, as well as its function in the republican public sphere: in the first case, we would experience the transformation of secularism through the collapse of the Kemalist exclusivist hegemony, thus secularism would be reconstructed through the new mechanisms of the social integration; in the second case we would see a decline of secularism in a unified Islamized public sphere, where new exclusive principles would take place that would exclude the old secularist middle classes and their lifestyle. In order to see the signification of such transformations, Turkish secularism and its contribution to the construction of a republican public sphere should be briefly addressed. The Turkish modernization project, which was built upon the core principle of secularism, reflects the will of the founding modernist elite in that the public sphere constructed after the foundation of the Republic is a paternalistic public sphere where the modernist elite teaches the masses the Western way of life. They initiated a cultural transformation, characterized by Westernized behavior patterns and life practices that define the upper-class profile, assuring the modernist elite's domination and superiority. The creation of a gesellschaft was realized through this secularism project that detached citizens from their traditions that bound them to the former sources of legitimacy, based on Islam, inherited from the Ottoman empire. This project was carried out through the creation of a “neutral” public sphere, which was assured by the exclusion of cultural, religious, ethnic, and sexual differences in the public sphere. Thus the profile of a Turkish citizen was defined through his or her white, bourgeois, and Westernized but modest appearance.15 This profile of the citizen defined the borders of “neutrality” in the public sphere, in which any transgression was subject to sanction. The neutrality imperative was both the product and an indicator of the Republican spirit that promised access to the public sphere for all segments of society on the condition of being in conformity with the Republican ideals, and thus liberated from their particularities, especially religious ones. Secularity defined the border between the public and private Page 52 → spheres, delineating what was to be visible and what was to be hidden, to conform to this norm of neutrality. However, this way of framing the public sphere did not mean the disassociation of the modernization project from religion, as in the case of French laïcité, which constituted a model for Turkey. Rather, the Turkish modernization project established a new governmentality by regulating the new citizen's habits in their everyday life, “through structuring his/her field of action,” in Foucauldian terms.16 In other words, rather than granting autonomy to the religious sphere, control mechanisms were established over it. The modernization project competed with its most important rival, which was the religious sphere, not by excluding it from the secular/republican sphere but by recreating a religiosity that would conform to a modern society. Thus Turkish secularism was built upon the realm of “individualized/privatized belief” by introducing state regulation of the religious arena and thereby interventions into the private sphere. The aim was to form a domain of common beliefs for the new society through a reinterpretation/reformulation of the religious arena. Thus they aimed at ensuring social cohesion through adhesion to new moral values based on a new “rational religiosity,” highlighting the impact of positivist philosophy on the modernist elite in Turkey.17 However the creation of this religiosity was to be defined not only in rational terms but, like the cultural and linguistic reforms, in national terms, as well. This project to reformulate Islam is evident in Mustafa Kemal's speeches. He speaks of a “simplified, pure, universal, and intelligible religion” in opposition to traditional and “corrupted” Islam dominating social life.18 Despite his first speeches in the 1920s, he later refuted the idea that Islam was incompatible with modern civilization.19 From the analysis of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's discourse emerges the distinction of a “pure Islam” from the one that was tainted by politics.20 It is upon this distinction that the redefinition of Islam by Turkish secularism has been justified. This distinction is manifested by the interdiction of institutionalized forms of

traditional Islam and the establishment of new institutions (for example, the Faculty of Theology in Ankara, or the Institute of Islam in Istanbul) for the diffusion of a new interpretation of Islam, one that would be the basis for the “individual belief” of citizens. Some social scientists call this state-controlled religiosity “Kemalist Islam.”21 In other words, when we analyze secularism and secularists in Turkey we should remember “Kemalist Islam” as an important underlying pattern. Secularism was not only implemented at a political and institutional level but also at a symbolic level as well. The adoption of Western clothes, Page 53 → calendar, measuring units, and the language of science, as well as the change from the Arabic alphabet to the Latin, made secularism equivalent to Westernization in the social imagination of citizens.22 Thus, the public sphere in Turkey has served as not only a sphere for participation in political action (or in rational debate) but also the space in which members of society learned how to behave as Western, secularized, and modern citizens.23 Underlining its pedagogic characteristic, Ernest Gellner uses the term “didactic secularism” to describe Turkish secularism.24 When we try to understand the impact of this process in contemporary Turkey, we should point out that “Kemalist Islam” does not only imply a religiosity injected into society through an authoritarian modernization; it refers at the same time to a religiosity still practiced today by large numbers in Turkish society. One can see the effects of this unique religiosity as they are expressed in personal life stories of members of the first generations of the Republic in which the prevalence of a “modernized, individualized, and privatized” religiosity emerges.25 This individualized religiosity also played an important role toward the replacement of the function that Islam played in society by responding to the religious, moral, and patriarchal sensibilities of society that were unsettled by Westernization and the unveiling of the female body. As a consequence, Kemalist Islam also maintained conservatism in sexuality and gender relations. This conservatism manifests itself through the projection of the Republican female body as one that has been ideally stripped of its sexuality—thus becoming asexualized.26 Indeed, the respectable women of the Republic, defined by their modesty and asexual attitude, emerge in the novels of this period, especially those by the female writer Halide Edip Adivar or by Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu. In these novels, as well as in personal biographies of the Republican generation, women try hard to prove their “respectability” by claiming that in society, no one would ever remark that they were women, as their feminine features were completely erased from their appearance. All these written and oral testimonies reveal the difficulties experienced by women in dealing with their unveiled public presence and show how they tried to find remedies to overcome the problems they experienced in embodying their femininities and their relationships with men. We can see that individual religiosity is still considered today an important tenet of neo-Kemalist identity among the youth. It reveals the prevalence of an individualized system of belief, which still places important emphasis on physical appearance and bodily practices such as uncovered hair of young women, shaved faces of young men, and religious practices performed privately, in order not to threaten the modern Westernized lifestyle Page 54 → displayed in the public sphere. The embedded conservatism remains unchallenged, as revealed by my previous research done with high school students: those who were claiming to be secularists were defending the necessity to remain a virgin until marriage; they were expressing their reservations about atheists, and they were saying that they are “real Muslims” in Turkey, practicing “real Islam” in opposition to those who wear headscarves and defining themselves through “Islamist sensibilities.”27 The rise of Islamic identities and their increasing visibility in public spaces is thus perceived in Turkey as a protest against this republican model and this “Kemalist Islam.” The appearance of bourgeois and well-educated veiled women unsettles and reverses the basic tenets of the Kemalist project of modernization, which considered the bourgeois and Westernized profile as exclusive to modern and well-educated Turkish citizens.28 The emergence of Islamic figures in the social hierarchy subverts the exclusive identification of the Kemalist project with modernity and bourgeois values and norms. As a consequence of the emergence of such new social categories that unsettle the foundational norms of the public sphere we see that secularism and Kemalist Islam have taken on some new social connotations in recent years. Some groups—mainly Republican middle classes—adopt Kemalist Islam as a new political identity; while

others—emerging counter groups—construct their counter identity through their opposition to it. So the contemporary conflict between secularists and Islamists is not played out through the appropriation or rejection of Islam but through diverse positions taken vis-à-vis “Kemalist Islam.”29 The Islamists were accusing this Kemalist social/cultural system of dominating the public sphere and of oppressing Muslims. After the 1980s, they have expressed their opposition through a social movement focused on the Islamist Revolution. But after their emergence in the social hierarchy in the 1990s as a consequence of economic liberalism, one can note that their mode of protest has changed. The Islamist movement shifted from a vertical mode of action, targeting the state, to a horizontal one, focusing on societal influence and expansion. Opposition to the system is no longer made through references to an Islamist Revolution. The present-day Islamic project no longer appears as a project focused on changing the system through revolutionary action but rather as a response to the problems that the Muslim masses experience in everyday life in a modern secular public space. As a consequence of the delegitimation of revolutionary fervor in this new period, everyday life practices take on more importance for the new Islamic actors. Olivier Roy notes that in Islamic societies the Page 55 → switch from political Islam to what he calls “neo-fundamentalism,” is, for him, a re-Islamization of society. Roy regards this re-Islamization as a phenomenon in which new actors replace their discourses focused on the revolution and the state by a new discourse focused on society and culture.30 In this context, various forms of visibility become the main arena of performative action for Islamists, utilizing the gaze as the principal tool with which to interact with others. In other words, the “neutrality” of the public sphere, which is constructed through a regime of visibility that sets the norms of what is to be visible and what is not, is thus challenged by the emergence of new Islamic identities.31 In this new period Islamic counter publics constituted in foundations, schools, media, and other public spaces gain importance as main venues of the horizontal action based on puritan moralistic projects aiming to Islamize the public sphere.

Foundations and Constructions of Counter Publics through the Islamist Youth To be able to understand the constitution of Islamic counter publics and their impact on the Islamist youth identity, we carried out fieldwork with youths and directors of two foundations. The choice of these foundations was motivated by the fact that they stand out against all the others by virtue of their importance and influence. One of them, the FNY, has branches all over Turkey, in the big cities as well as the towns and villages across Anatolia.32 It was an important organization for the gathering of Islamist youth because this was the foundation having organic relationships with the National Vision movement (Milli Gorus).33 It was visible in the public space through protest movements and its organization of artistic activities, such as concerts or exhibitions, making it one of the most visible Islamist organizations in the public sphere. The other, Ensar, is publicly known as a foundation established in support of young graduates of the controversial religious high schools called İmam-Hatib.34 But in practice, the target population of the foundation has shifted to include young university students with any background. This fieldwork is based on a group of university students that attend these foundations. These students come predominantly from towns and villages of Anatolia. Many have applied to Islamic foundations for scholarships because they are forced to study far away from their homes and are in need of financial aid. Their families belong to the lower social classes, as the beneficiaries of foundation scholarships are chosen on the basis of economic Page 56 → criteria. As the state funds for university students are not enough, just like other students with low income, when it comes to apply for scholarships, they choose a civil organization that would fit with their ideological position, as we will see below. There is no homogeneity in the type of secondary school they graduated from: some came from religious institutions and others from ordinary public schools. The girls in FNY dress in the Islamic style, with a headscarf and overcoat, but in Ensar, we also met uncovered girls. One group seemed to follow a simple traditional religious lifestyle in their neighborhood and another group came from profoundly religious families. In addition to these two groups, a few of the students interviewed were Islamic by individual choice rather than because they came from religiously conservative families. Despite the apparent influences of their families, all of them asserted that their interest in Islam has been their own choice in light of their readings and their discussions with elder sisters or brothers, rather than an inheritance from their families.

These foundations occupy a very prominent place in their lives by providing support, giving scholarships, helping to find a place to stay, and creating an environment that enables them to socialize and develop friendships. Of course, alongside these services, these foundations also offer them a sense of belonging and help them to overcome the loneliness experienced in the first years of moving to a new big city.35 In FNY, the youths' Islamic identity seems to result from the activities they engage in at the foundations, which can be classified into two groups. The first group consists of formative and educational activities, and the second of socialization activities. The foundations are venues for the formation of a modern Islamic lifeworld, thus they become fields of modernization and integration to urban life for Islamic groups. On the other hand, students follow the courses in the Foundation, which assures the transfer of Islamic knowledge and their intellectual formation. Discussion groups, workshops, and conferences contribute to this formation. Thus the education received at the Foundation tries to combine Islamic knowledge with the Western one: they combine readings from Islamic philosophers such as Imam Gazalî, Omer Nesevî, and Seyyid Kutub, and political writings of some Turkish Islamists and Turkish sociologists as well as texts from Western philosophical traditions. Concerning the content of courses provided at the Foundation, on the one hand there are Islamic courses such as “History of Islam,” “History of Islamic Thought,” “Islamic Law,” or “Hadith Interpretation,” and on the other, they aim to help students specialize in one of the social sciences, by organizing seminars of sociology, history, and philosophy, and Page 57 → through readings from contemporary thinkers like Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan. Through this process, members of the Foundation try to be able to combine secular scientific knowledge that they acquired at their respective universities with Islamic knowledge gained at the Foundation. Moreover, the foundations help students rent houses where educational activities take place. As a consequence of all this, young men and women are able to have contact with one another and to express themselves in university campus debates thanks to the formation they receive at the Foundation. The Islamization of knowledge makes these young people more self-assured in comparison with other university students in discussions. Being a member of the Foundation changes the youth's position from being underprivileged (coming from a small town in Anatolia) into privileged. The young students, well educated in Islamic matters and able to combine this knowledge with scientific knowledge, feel superior to the other students. Thus for these young people, the exchange of ideas with other students based on such an intellectual background reinforces self-esteem and becomes one of the essential mechanisms in the construction of their identity. The education received by the youth in the Foundation cuts them off from their earlier social background—that of the pre-Istanbul setting—and especially from the family. This rupture reveals the first attempt in their individualization and independence from their family. The Foundation of Ensar, unlike FNY, does not offer the youth a comprehensive identity. It only offers a place in which to socialize, a place to pray, conference halls, and an affordable student restaurant for lunch and dinner times. One does not have to be a member of the Foundation to benefit from these opportunities. On the other hand Ensar had a dormitory for boys and some student houses. Even though this system seems to be similar to FNY, from interviews we could understand that the students of Ensar do not think the same as the students of FNY. They were criticizing the Foundation for being too liberal and for not offering an efficient formation for their identity construction. They were demanding a more comprehensive formation from the Foundation. But this “comprehensive identity” is sometimes considered undesirable and avoidable by some students when it restricts personal freedom and subjectivity. Some of the young people in both foundations came from the religious community of Fethullah Gulen.36 They admitted that they escaped from this community even though they appreciated it, because its comprehensive identity was too totalizing and oppressive, and they preferred to live within a more liberalized framework. Even though the young Page 58 → members of Ensar were criticizing Ensar for being too liberal, they regarded any restrictive attitude as undesirable. In both foundations, during interviews and group discussions, they underlined that “their Foundation is not like an enclosed community.” This self-construction is important while they experience cultural problems in everyday life in the secular public sphere. We mentioned above that Kemalist Islam is the only religiosity that the secularist public sphere accepts as legitimate, relegating to the private realm Islamic signs and symbols, and making a strict demarcation of the public and the private. The main challenge of the new Islamic categories is to that definition of religiosity.

Kemalist Islam is challenged in the public sphere by physical appearance and bodily practices such as the veil or Islamic beard, as well as acts of praying, as consequences of the construction of Islamic counter publics. All these visible signs are indications of a challenge against Kemalist Islam, since the latter requires that religious signs and symbols should remain in the private sphere. The characteristics of Kemalist Islam that privatized religion are contested because of the inseparable nature of domains in Islam. We can see these critiques in articles published in reviews of FNY.37 The challenge to this Kemalist version of Islam is made through the integration of the Koran in public ceremonies and inaugurations organized by foundations. In the reviews published by FNY, one can read in the page of “news from the Foundation” brief information about those organizations: a night for the young people begins by readings of the Koran, continues with Islamic poetry and discourses about Islamic heroes, and ends with religious songs sang together. Islamic youth from foundations confront problems in everyday life because of the visibility of these religious signs and actions in the public sphere. The university, as an institution contributing to the definition of the republican public sphere, appears at the center of their controversial relations with others. The appearance of the veiled students, as well as the male students praying in corridors of the university, indicates the transgression of the frontiers of secularism. These students are “voluntarily adopting”38 the stigmatized symbols of Islam to challenge the definition and the authority of secularism, as well as of an Islam that is relegated to the private sphere. That's why “being sure of oneself” (self-confidence) is a theme that emerges often from the interviews as the major component of the young identity profile in the foundations. Since this “self-esteem” is difficult to preserve in a public sphere that tries to exclude Islamic identities, the principal aim of the Foundation is to form an Islamic generation “who knows how to speak and is sure of oneself.”39 This concept of self-esteem that they try to develop Page 59 → is the basis of the main tool of subjectivization and identity construction: disturbing visibility. They can use tools of disturbing visibility effectively if only they have self-esteem. What we mean by “the use of disturbing visibility” is the reappropriation of the stigmatized Islamic symbols in public spaces to challenge the domination of the secularists. Female students with their scarves and male students praying in the corridors of the university while everybody walks by express their identity that challenges the frontiers of the republican secular public space. The reappropriation of the stigmas is complemented by their intellectual capacity, which is a result of the education they received in the Foundation. The superiority that the Islamic youth feels toward the other students, as far as intellectual level is concerned, is important here: they are able to challenge the students with important cultural capital in Bourdieu terms,40 thanks to the formation they had in the Foundation. The cultural gap that exists between the young Istanbulites and those who came from the other cities is no longer felt to be an obstacle for integration into Istanbul's student life. Through the formation received in the social science branches, they find themselves superior to the other students. Therefore, the Foundation helps them to project an identity that challenges the status quo, without being either afraid or humiliated by the others. In a group discussion with the boys of the FNY, a participant said, “When we meet with other students on campus, we realize we're at a much higher intellectual level.” Having confidence in their intellectual capacity in debates, they are self-assured and find the power to break taboos, thus to come to terms with some religious signs that are socially stigmatized in the public sphere. In this context, they inject what is supposed to remain “private” into the “public sphere.” Under the dominant discourse of Kemalist Islam in the public sphere, Islamic foundations use “semi-private” spaces such as the foundation houses as sites of construction of the Islamic counter publics.41 These are places where the majority of the activities are realized. The house is not only a place of residence; it also serves as the place of learning and of the construction of a lifestyle, since both discussion groups and specialized seminars are held there. In our fieldwork, we noticed that young students, when they come to Istanbul for the first time for university education, mainly socialize with their friends from the house. The houses serve as places that facilitate integration to Istanbul life, through the Foundation's networks. So the socialization process, which starts with the activities organized Page 60 → by the Foundation, encompasses the entire life of the youth. This is a socialization that goes beyond the limits of the public space to reach into the

private lives of the young people as well. To this end, the Foundation provides not only a new public space but also a private space defined in the Islamic context, which can be used as the basis upon which an Islamic public space can be reconstructed. Because houses have this character of being semipublic, through these houses, the foundation aims to foster a self-control among the students that transcends the public sphere to be applied to all spheres of the individual. But the performative action through which we can see the subjectivation of the youth would not be complete without any discursive power. Female students sometimes experience the “disturbing visibility” as a problem. By using the scarf in a public space they turn out to be subjects who become visible carriers of Islamic identity that is perceived as disturbing by Kemalists. But the subversive function of their “disturbing visibility” and the reactions it provokes have different impacts on the self-construction of young women. Sometimes it results in a loss of confidence and a timidity difficult to overcome, thus leading to a self-closure; and sometimes it results in an anger that provokes the adoption of constructive positions or actions, as the following examples indicate. The loss of voice of one who feels oppressed reveals an implicit pressure hidden in the gaze or attitudes of those who dominate the public space. Once I raised my hand in the amphitheater to answer the professor. It was automatic. I had not thought about what I would say, it was a subject that I wanted to talk about, that I had something to say about. Generally I am a talkative person, but never in the classroom. They were speaking on gender relations and sexual relations. I wanted to intervene. I wanted to respond to them. They gave me the permission to talk, but the sentences were dispersed in my mind. I was afraid; my heart was beating so fast … Because everybody stares at you while you talk in the classroom. It's surprising that you can speak, that you have something to say… On the contrary, I am like a lion they pushed in a corner. I throw myself on them and I attack them every time. I have such an anger that I argue even with the police. Why should I prove to the police that I have a right to enter in MY university?42 (From the discussion group with girls from one of the houses of the Foundation of National Youth) Page 61 → The performative actions of these students, such as the veiling in spite of the interdiction on the campus, or praying in the corridors, elicit reactions from the police,43 other students, and professors, and they can sometimes provoke violent confrontations. Islamist young actors react differently in response to these confrontations. While some react aggressively, others withdraw following such confrontations. But both these groups are criticized by the directors of the foundations and by students who stand separate from these two groups, in that they find empowerment in their intellectual capacity, which allows them to reinforce their performative actions through their critical discursive power. This latter group embodies the desired profile of the Islamist youth aimed for by the Islamist counter publics. The intellectual capacity they develop in the foundation helps them to adopt a way of subjectivity. This proves to us the importance of the discursive level of action in the construction of a pluralistic public sphere, even though the performative level can be an alternative for those who lack the right voice and the language to express themselves. Without the option or support of this discursive level, in the case of Islamist identity, the actor is obliged to choose between withdrawal and confrontation or violence. Subjectivity requires the existence of the Other as a subject as well. This condition is unclear to the youth who describe their new identity as the outcome of a transcendental truth, giving meaning to their everyday life, transforming their subjectivity. The sacred is the quintessence of reality, “the desire of the religious man to live in the sacred corresponds, in fact, to his desire to place himself in objective reality, not to let himself be paralyzed by the endless relativity of purely subjective experiences.”44 Thus, the subjectivity of young Islamist identity is challenged by this perpetual reference to the truth. Their quasi-sacred identity makes them feel like a privileged community while elevating them over other political factions.

Challenge of the Modern Urban Lifestyle to the Islamist Counter Public: Confrontation of

Lifestyles Being formed in such a moralized Islamic sphere, the Islamist youth identity is challenged in the public sphere through some patterns of the modern life. While Islamists and their symbols have joined the fabric of the new modern urban since the 1990s, this had led to controversial debates among the Islamists. All products of the “Islamic modernity” have taken their places in consumer society since the second half of the 1990s, including Page 62 → in Islamic fashion, Islamic youth culture, Islamic music, Islamic fetish objects, and the public places representing an Islamic lifestyle such as hotels, cafés, foundations, or libraries. This fact has provoked reactions from some Islamist intellectuals. This is our religious joy which has transformed into an object of consumption. This is our own spirit which is deserted. Hypocrisy of our intellectuals who, while criticizing in their articles the technology, write them on computers … The rise of the comfort of dormitories of our Islamic communities in proportion with the poverty of our Umma…. Irrationality of the road that goes from sects to hedonist holdings.45 Reflecting the controversies in Islamic groups, some young people in the foundations plead for participation in the market, insisting that it is necessary in order to survive in the system, while a second group feels that Islamists have gone too far into the game of capitalism. A group of young students criticizing this idea conceive all these developments a compromise of their ideological difference, defending a more essentialist identity. There, the visibility of their sisters becomes the main challenge to the Islamic moral code through which we see the preservation of their identity. “Sometimes we see our sisters at pop music concerts, they act in such a way that we can't tell them apart from the other morally corrupt girls. It hurts me to see them like that, it's wrong!” (discussion group of male students, FNY). The “moral corruption” embodied in the ideological female body of the Muslim “sister” (baci) challenges the Islamic identity and disturbs young male actors more than the young women. The young women did not mention this question of “moral corruption” in interviews, while it was shown to be the main concern of the young men. The “moral corruption” often manifests through the visibility of the female body, which is always considered as a visible flag of all ideologies. That is much more obvious in the case of the “Muslim sister.”46 The notion of sister is not only used by Islamic actors; the female actors of socialist movements in Turkey were referred to in this way as well. This nomination reveals the desexualization of the female body of militants while in struggle. As for Islamist identity, the veiled appearance of the Muslim sister becomes the most important symbol of the contestation of the system. This fact is particularly significant since the last decade; the distinguishing feature of Islamist discourse is its emphasis on matters of morality. In everyday struggle, the Islamic opposition Page 63 → is staged as a kind of a performance over the female body. That is why these new “moral attitudes” attributed to the Islamist young women are considered to be a problem. While women try to handle their everyday life, they become symbolic objects of ideological fights instead of becoming subjects of their political movement. The emergence of this new type of urban veiled woman challenges the sexual segregation on which socialization in the Foundation has been based. I observed this during Ramadan dinners in the foundations when the dinner hall was separated into two zones, one for men and another for women, by an invisible barrier. The young men and women, even when they came together at the dining hall, sat at different tables, making this invisible barrier quasi-visible. But outside the Foundation, they met and walked in the street together, sometimes hand in hand, an intimacy prohibited between unrelated and unmarried young people of the opposite sex. The segregation, while aiming to moralize the daily life of the individual's lifeworld, could not prevent the youth from developing a curiosity about the other sex. Thus, the flirtation between young men and young women before marriage becomes an increasingly important issue in Islamist identity construction. The gendered spatial divisions required by the Islamist movement as a challenge to the secular public sphere have always constituted the main conflict with modernity. The republican modernization project has aimed to construct the secular public sphere by establishing mixed spaces of socialization. The balls initiated during the republican era were the symbols of an ideal modernity: the waltzes danced by couples had become the symbol of this new Westernized mixed public sphere. In recent years, mahrem47 has been politicized as the main agenda of the Islamist movement, to challenge this

mixing, but in the meantime, the same concept seems to be the weakest point of the Islamist movement since the last decade, for it is increasingly challenged by liberalized sexual relationships in Turkish society. As long as flirtation presents a challenge to puritan Islamist identity politics, the fact that it becomes more and more important in the youths' life has two effects on Islamist identity politics: on one hand a part of the foundations' directors and management wants to reformulate the limits of sexual relations, by defining an Islamic flirt—revealing an example of the transformation of Islamist identity in response to the challenge of urban life—and on the other hand some other members adamantly refuse this possibility by trying to forbid flirtation—revealing an example of the enclosure vis-à-vis the challenge. The tension between these two, one privileging enclosure, the other opening up, is typical of any transformation occurring in Islamist identity. Page 64 →

Conclusion Here we can say that we have an example of “counter publics,” which, as with any counter public, builds itself up through a tension between self-confinement and opening up to the world.48 This was our main question in this article. Through the reappropriation of stigmatized visible signs of their identity, these actors try to construct a subjectivity, which is realized thanks to intellectual work done in the Islamic foundations. The disturbing visibility as a subversive tool of this subjectivity remains symbolic while we think of its paradoxical effects on the subjectivity of the actors, especially for the women. On one hand, the reappropriation of stigmas becomes the main tool of self-construction, as well as self-expression; on the other hand, it may sometimes constitute the main factor that triggers an enclosure for the actors. Our fieldwork proved to us that the performative level of action, even though it is an alternative for groups without proper voice or language to express themselves, cannot by itself assure subjectivity. The intellectual and discursive capacity of the actors seems important in this process of subjectification. The counter publics can be successful if they are to be the venues of self-construction, not only at the performative level but also at the discursive level. As our fieldwork revealed, the construction of such counter publics is significant as long as participation in the public sphere is based on being equipped with the necessities for a Habermasian public deliberation or a Foucauldian social conflict. These counter publics, while transforming a disadvantaged position into an advantaged one, can offer an occasion for self-construction, if they are not trapped in a communitarian withdrawal, by interrupting dialogue with Others. The university is the primary place of interaction with Others. Since the university is the place for social ascension and therefore for modernization, veiled female students represent a challenge to the qualities attributed to the Western lifestyle in Turkey. The rise of the Islamist elite in the public sphere as a result of these counter publics upsets the assumption of the Westernization project that used to equate the Westernization of lifestyle with social ascension. A “counter public” displays to the stigmatized actors of the didactic secularism/modernism support to reverse this equation. It provides them a place for self-construction, to be able to reinforce their position, in order to contribute to the reconstruction of the public sphere. Their challenge to secularism becomes then a challenge to the definition of the republican “neutrality” of the public sphere. Accentuating Page 65 → their stigmatized qualities, they underline the cultural determination of this republican public sphere and put in question this neutrality. The visibility of the stigmatized symbols reveals here the effort to provoke a reevaluation of the definition of the public sphere, in order to force it to redefine its borders, to include them. On the other hand, the accentuation of the Islamic visibility reveals a contradictory character of the bipolarity between Islamists and secularists in Turkey, which denotes a turning point in secularism, experienced by different segments in society. These Islamic actors are all secularized actors produced by the modernization project. The anthropological and sociological research on the religiosity of Turkish society realized during the last ten years49 prove to us the establishment of a secularized mentality among Turkish citizens, and this is also true for Islamist groups. These researches reveal the domination of what is called Kemalist Islam among all social categories.

Thus, the conflict between Islamists and secularists on secularism in the public sphere in Turkey is not based on religious and ideological content, it is rather a conflict over the domination of the public sphere between two social groups: ex-elite (and middle classes) of society and the newcomers of the liberal economy. Here our main question should be whether these counter publics will participate in the construction of a pluralistic public sphere in a Fraserian sense, or whether they will join the conflict of domination in a unique public sphere. We may also question the capacity of the counter publics, which assure these actors' places of self-construction, to become the places of the redefinition of modernity. Such a capacity would encourage the inclusion of Others in a public sphere reconstructed in a style of a pluralistic public sphere. In default of this capacity, they would become the places of the neocommunitarian enclosure, provoking the construction of a fragmented public sphere,50 with no possibility of constructing a pluralistic public sphere through a discursive model. While we think that the Islamist Party (Party of Justice and Development) is largely constituted of members coming from these Islamic counter publics, we hope to be able to answer these questions more clearly in the future, in light of the consequences of its current government.

NOTES 1. For a more developed version of the analysis of the Foundation of National Youth, see Buket Türkmen, “Muslim Youth and Islamic NGOs,” in Islam in Public: Turkey, Iran, and Europe, ed. Nilufer Gole and Ludwig Ammann (Istanbul: Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2006), 227–55. Page 66 → 2. Meltem Ahiska, “Occidentalism: The Historical Fantasy of the Modern,” South Atlantic Quarterly 102, no. 2–3 (2003): 351–79. 3. See Alev Çinar's article in this book. 4. Nilufer Gole, “Islamic Visibilities and Public Sphere,” in Islam in Public: Turkey, Iran, and Europe, ed. Nilufer Gole and Ludwig Ammann (Istanbul: Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2006), 3–43. 5. Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006); The Failure of Political Islam (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998); Farhad Khosrokhavar and Olivier Roy, Iran: Comment sortir d'une révolution religieuse? (Paris: Seuil, 1999); Nilufer Gole, “The Gendered Nature of The Public Sphere,” Public Culture 10, no. 1 (1997). 6. Nilufer Gole, “The Gendered Nature of the Public Sphere,” Public Culture 10, no. 1 (1997); Esra Ozyurek, Nostalgia for the Modern: State, Secularism, and Everyday Politics in Turkey (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006). 7. Meltem Ahiska, “Occidentalism.” 8. For a more detailed account, see Çinar's chapter in this book. 9. Halil Inalcik, “Osmanli Hukukuna Giris: Orfî-Sultanî Hukuk Ve Fatih'in Kanunlari,”A.U. Siyasal Bilgiler Fakultesi Dergisi, vol. 13 (1958): 102–26. 10. Necmi Erdogan, “Kalpaksiz Kuvvacilar: Kemalist Sivil Toplum Kuruluslari,” in Turkiye'de Sivil Toplum Ve Milliyetcilik, ed. Yerasimos et al. (Istanbul: Iletisim Yayinlari, 2001). 11. Buket Türkmen, “Entre la broche d'Atatürk et le foulard: les lycéens en Turquie,” Ethnologie Francaise, no. 112–14 (2007): 623–30, and “Yeniden Tanimlanan Laiklik, Turban, Atatürk Rozeti ve Liseli Gencler,” Islamin Yeni Kamusal Yuzleri, ed. Nilufer Gole (Istanbul: Metis Yayinlari, 2000). 12. Esra Ozyurek, Nostalgia for the Modern State, Secularism, and Everyday Politics in Turkey (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006); Necmi Erdogan, “Kalpaksiz Kuvvacilar: Kemalist Sivil Toplum Kuruluslari, ” in Turkiye'de Sivil Toplum Ve Milliyetcilik, ed. S. Yerasimos, G. Seufert, and V. Karin (Istanbul: Iletisim, 2001); Buket Türkmen, “Du Volontarisme Des Élites À La Sécularité D'une Société Musulmane,” Migration Société 17, no. 98 (March–April 2005); and “La Reconstruction De L'espace Public Par Les Jeunes Kémalistes Et Islamistes En Turquie” (PhD diss., Ecole Des Hautes Etudes En Sciences Sociales, 2001). 13. See the Introduction for a more detailed debate on the Habermasian notion of the public sphere. 14. Nancy Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy,” in Habermas and the Public Sphere, ed. Calhoun Craig (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992), 109–42.

15. Ayse Durakbasa, “Cumhuriyet Doneminde Modern Kadin Ve Erkek Kimliklerinin Olusumu: Kemalist Kadin Kimligi Ve Munevver Erkekler,” in 75 Yilda Kadinlar Ve Erkekler, ed. Ayse Berktay Hacimirzaoglu (Istanbul: Is Bankasi Yayinlari, 1998); Deniz Kandiyoti, ed., Gendering the Middle East (London: B. Tauris, 1996); Sibel Bozdogan and Resat Kasaba, eds., Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997). 16. Michel Foucault, “La Gouvernementalité,” Actes 54 (Summer 1986). 17. Serif Mardin, Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Page 67 → Press, 1962); Serif Mardin, Jonturklerin Siyasi Fikirleri 1895–1908 (Istanbul: Iletisim, 2003). 18. Gotthard Jaschke, Yeni Turkiye'de Islamcilik (Istanbul: Bilgi Yayinlari. 1972), 97. 19. Ibid. 20. Andrew Davison, Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey: A Hermeneutic Reconsideration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998). 21. Ibid. For a sociological analysis of Kemalist Islam among high school students, see Buket Türkmen, “Les lycéens en Turquie entre la broche d'Atatürk et le foulard,” Ethnologie Francaise, no. 4 (2007). 22. Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001). 23. For a more developed discussion on the profile of the Turkish citizen designed by secularism, see Buket Türkmen, “Du Volontarisme Des Élites À La Sécularité D'une Société Musulmane,”Migrations Société 17 (2005): 98. 24. Ernest Gellner, Muslim Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981). 25. Esra Ozyurek, Nostalgia for the Modern State, 47. 26. Deniz Kandiyoti, “Kurtulmus ama Ozgurlesmis Mi?,” Cariyeler, Bacilar Ve Yurttaslar, Kimlikler, ve Toplumsal Donusumler (Istanbul: Metis, 1997). 27. Buket Türkmen, “Yeniden Tanimlanan Laiklik, Turban, Atatürk Rozeti Ve Liseli Gencler,” in Islamin Yeni Kamusal Yuzleri, ed. Nilufer Gole (Istanbul: Metis, 2000). 28. See Çinar's chapter in this book. 29. See Türkmen, “Yeniden Tanimlanan Laiklik” (2000). 30. Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006); The Failure of Political Islam (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998); Farhad Khosrkhavar and Olivier Roy, Iran: Comment Sortir D'une Révolution Religieuse? (Paris: Seuil, 1999). 31. Nilufer Gole, “The Gendered Nature of the Public Sphere,” Public Culture 10, no. 1 (1997): 61–81. 32. Foundation for National Youth (Milli Genclik Vakfi) is closed following a National Security Council decree in February 1997 with the aim to prevent the rise of Islam. For a more detailed description of this period see Çinar's chapter in this book. Actually FNY continues its activities under the aegis of another association created after its closure, “Anadolu Genclik Dernegi,” Association of Anatolian Youth. 33. The political manifesto of Erbakan, the main political leader of Islamist parties in Turkish politics, including the Welfare Party (Refah), prior to the split and rise of the JDP (Justice and Development Party) that came to power in 2002. Hakan Yavuz, Islamic Political Identity in Turkey (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). 34. These are religious high schools that function within the secular educational system. In the 1990s they were subject to secularist-Islamist conflictual debates concerning reforms in the educational system, because they were recognized by secularists as the backyard of Islamist parties. Henry J. Rutz, “The Rise and Page 68 → Demise of Imamhatip Schools: Discourses of Islamic Belonging and Denial in the Construction of Turkish Civic Culture,” Political and Legal Anthropology Review 22, no. 2 (1999): 93–103; Howard A. Reed, “Turkey's New Imamhatip Schools,” Die Welt des Islams 4, no. 2–3 (1955): 150–63. 35. Involvement in religion to deal with the sense of loneliness was observed not only in the interviews but also in the writings that appeared in the publications by the attendees of FNY. Publications that are analyzed included Ahenk (1990–93), Katre (2000), Edebiyat Bulteni (1999–2000), Siyasal (2000), and Hukuk Bulteni (1998). 36. A subcommunity of nourdjous, which offers to its members a comprehensive identity by combining an educational and business network. See Hakan Yavuz, “The Renaissance of Religious Consciousness in Turkey: Nur Study Circles,” in Nilufer Gole and Ludwig Amman, eds., Islam in Public. 37. Ayse Nur, “Ummetin Bahari,” Ahenk (1991): 4; Ihsan Aktas, “Modern Dunyanin Ozumuzden Caldigi,” Ahenk (1992): 10; Mehmet Yan, “Gelistik Mi? Celistik Mi?,” Ahenk (1992): 10; Enver Durmaz, “Yilbasinin

Tahribatlari,” Ahenk (1992): 11; Furkan Sukru Cakmali, “Tanzimattan 82 Anayasasina,” Ahenk (1992): 11. 38. For a debate about voluntary adoption of Islamic stigmas see Nilufer Gole, “The Voluntary Adoption of Islamic Stigma and Symbols,” Social Research: An International Quarterly Of Social Sciences 70, no. 3 (2003). 39. Interviews with the director of FNY (September 1999–February 2001) and the officials of the Foundation of Ensar (January 2000). 40. Pierre Bourdieu, La Distinction (Paris: Editions du Minuit, 1979). 41. The use of the houses as main places of the educational activities helped FNY to maintain its organization after the closure of the foundation by state authorities in 1997. 42. In Turkey, the police assure the control of ID in the entrance, and they prevent veiled women from entering. 43. In Turkey, police can intervene in the university campus with the order of the president of the university. 44. Mircea Eliade, Le Profane Et Le Sacré (Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1965), 31. 45. Cihan Aktas, “Tuketim Aski,” Degisim (1996). 46. The institution of “Muslim Sister” in a period of the transformation of the Islamist movement is severely criticized by the Islamist intellectual Cihan Aktas. See, for example, Cihan Aktas, Baci'dan Bayan'a, Islamci Kadinlarin Kamusal Alan Tecrubesi (Istanbul: Kapi Yay, 2001). 47. Mahrem is the Koranic concept that determines the relations between two sexes by establishing gendered spatial divisions. 48. Nancy Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere,” 123–28; about this tension being present in all processes of subjectivation, see Touraine Alain, Critique De La Modernité (Paris: Fayard, 1992) and Pourrons-Nous Vivre Ensemble? Égaux Et Différents (Paris: Fayard, 1997); about the tension experienced in the identity construction between enclosure and subjectivation and its effect on the reconstruction of the public sphere, see Wieviorka Michel, La Différence (Paris: Fayard, 2000). 49. Ali Carkoglu and Binnaz Toprak, eds., Turkiye'de Din, Toplum Ve Siyaset (Istanbul: Tesev Yay, 2006); Nancy Lindisfarne, Elhamdulillah Laikiz (Istanbul: Page 69 → Iletisim Yay, 2001); Buket Türkmen, “Yeniden Tanimlanan Laiklik, Turban, Atatürk Rozeti ve Liseli Gencler,” in Islamin Yeni Kamusal Yuzleri, ed. Nilufer Gole (Istanbul: Metis, 2000). 50. For a debate on the fragmentation of the public sphere in such an enclosure, see Kymlicka Will and Mesure Sylvie, eds., Comprendre Les Identités Culturelles, Revue De Philosophie Et De Sciences Sociales 1 (Paris: Presses Universitaires De France, 2000); and Wieviorka Michel, ed., Une Société Fragmentée? Le Multiculturalisme En Débat (Paris: La Découverte/Poche, 1996).

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3 Mirrors of Emancipation Images of Sovereignty and Exile in the Balmiki Ramayana USHA ZACHARIAS Is the paradigm of the universal/particular or the politics of inclusion/exclusion adequate to conceptualize the cultural citizenship that the secular state grants to communities marginalized through sociopolitical hierarchies such as caste? Or does the framing of this question in these terms mask a more primary metaphor, that of the condition of the ban or exile that forms the counterpart of secular citizenship? When the secular state lays the foundation for special citizenship based on forms of cultural marginality, it creates a certain relationship between the part and the whole, the particular and the universal. Integral to this is the constant effort to present the state itself in universal terms in order to fulfill its own representational promise. Yet, as Slavoj Zizek points out, the paradox between the particular and the universal is such that the more particular or special interests the state accepts into its fold on the grounds of their particularity, the more particularized and depoliticized do such communities feel. Cultural citizenship thus results in a curious paradox where, as Zizek puts it, “the African American single lesbian mother” is forever denied the possibility of the “metaphoric elevation” of her wrong as the universal wrong.1 In this essay, I focus on the visual imagery of exile created by a particular, marginalized community in India to argue that this seemingly inessential particular—in the visual staging of its condition of banishment—points to the symbolic violence inherent in the public, secular, narrative of sovereign power. The community whose visual interventions I analyze here are the traditional “outcastes” of sweepers and sanitation workers of New Delhi, Page 71 → India, the Balmikis. Constitutionally classified as Scheduled Castes, the Balmikis, who are primarily waste workers, have long occupied the lowest rungs of the Hindu caste hierarchy.2 The visual metaphors of banishment projected by this community, I contend, are not simply an assertion of “particular” community/caste identity. On the contrary, the enactment of exile and its visual staging script a scenario in which banishment actually precedes citizenship; it signifies the critical impossibility of the “particular minority” as a viable form of secular citizenship. Giorgio Agamben's work takes us to the biopolitical power relations between sovereign power and bare life that precede or are foundational to the state-citizen contract. “All representations of the originary political act as a contract or convention marking the passage from nature to the State in a discrete and definite way must be left behind,” he writes. The primary relation is not a civil contract, but a ban, also corresponding to the ancient mythologeme of exile. “What has been banned is delivered over to its own separateness and, at the same time, consigned to the mercy of one who abandons it—at once excluded and included, removed and at the same time captured.”3 The life of the exile, he writes, borders on the life of homo sacer, bare life, who may be killed at the will of sovereign power without being sacrificed. Yet the mythic philosophical context from which Agamben constructs his logic cannot be so quickly translated into the Indian context; instead, it must be carefully worked through in the context of specific tropes of sovereignty, bare life, and banishment.4 The Ramayana, the epic southeast Asian mythological text from which the Balmiki community draws its own cultural identity and images of exile and banishment, is striking in its mythical-philosophical theorization of sovereignty and exile (as does the Mahabharata and a host of other mythological tales regarding kingly power).5 Traveling between the spaces of the kingdom and the forest, the epic tells the story of a prince, Rama, his wife Sita, and the karmic web through which sovereign power must assert itself. In both kingdom and forest, Rama has the exclusive righteous authority to kill or to take the life of anyone deemed to violate a contingently defined dharma, the path of right action. The phenomenally popular telecast of the Ramayana myth in India during 1987–88 made possible, for the first time on a national scale, an entire new vision and visual imagery of sovereign power through the religious idealization of the figure of Rama who combined secular ethos, Hindu divine authority, and righteous violence. The new Ramayana was a moment of rupture and a moment of suture in visual culture. Despite its cardboard sets, it reterritorialized the social semiotic of visual culture, public religiosity, Page 72 → and state power in ways that seamlessly blended post-Nehruvian Congress secularism with the oncoming tide of the Hindutva movement

The Rama of the 1987–88 telecast visually resembled the then Congress prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in his aura of inherited absolute authority even as he foreshadowed the symbolic elements of the righteous violence of antiMuslim Rama of the Hindutva movement in the 1990s. The scenes of banishment and the figures of the exiles projected by the Balmiki community, which I focus on, can be framed against the shadow of this new vision of righteous sovereign power. The Balmiki communities' version of the Ramayana drew on portions of the text excluded by the telecast to question the narrative of sovereignty that eulogized Rama. Their performative versions of the text counterposed the figures of exiles: that of the lower-caste ascetic, Valmiki, who is the patron-guru of the community, and that of the abandoned wife of the sovereign, Sita, and her “illegitimate” children, Lava and Kusha, who were brought up by the sage. Drawing from Agamben, again, the Balmikis' foregrounding of the figures of exile show how we may imagine the “structure of the ban” or the tropes of exile in “political relations and public spaces” as a counterpart to the tropes of sovereignty.6 I explore the tropes of exile at two moments that interrupt the semiotic coherence of the visual domain of hegemonic secular culture in India. By hegemonic secular culture, I mean the forging of a national-popular culture that persuasively represents itself as “universal” rather than “particular,” and thus vests in itself the power to define the “secularity,” or lack thereof, of publicly displayed symbols.7 Thus, for instance, the anticolonial nationalist movement in India, the postcolonial national culture that was built on the ground of anticolonialism, or Hindutva (the political movement to assert a specific version of Hinduism as national essence) in the 1990s created different scripts and languages of the secular that gained national hegemony. Rather than a reassuring national constant whose parameters were closely secured through the civil mediation of religion, state, and citizenship (both of communities and individuals), secularism after the 1990s in India appears as a shifting ideological terrain that reveals the irreducible violence of religion, state, and citizenship. The images of the exiles evoked by the Balmikis—the pregnant queen abandoned by the suspicious king, the children who symbolize the illicit of the nation, the guru whose power resides in renunciation rather than rule—suggest the symbolic violence of sovereign power. I deconstruct two moments—archival and ethnographic—in the Balmiki community's contemporary history where the “visions” of exile appear. Thomas B. Hansen points out that the intellectual debate on secularism Page 73 → in India has “rarely touched on the secular practices of the Indian state, what secularism means to ordinary people in India, how it is practiced on the ground.”8 Rather than seek to define secularism in its positive meaning, the two moments explored here signify its failure in ways that unravel the relations between visual culture, marginalized community interests, and hegemonic secularism. Since the 1990s, visual media, including television and video, have played a critical role in redefining public cultures and national politics in India. Both Purnima Mankekar9 and Arvind Rajagopal10 have shown how television narratives of the 1990s restructured the discourses of nation, community, and religious affinity, propelling the growth of Hindutva, or Hindu nationalistic ethos in the public sphere. However, neither writer considers the television Ramayana as a text that also restructures the imaginaries of secularism. First, I draw on the telecast of the southeast Asian epic mythological text, Ramayana, and the reaction of the “audience” community of the Balmikis, to argue that coextensive with a new religiosity, the epic telecast also inaugurates a new sensibility of secularism. This new sensibility falls in line with Hindutva's “end of pluralist secularism” narrative, and it silently acknowledges the centrality or political mainstreaming of Hindu religious symbolism in public visual culture as a common national (“universal”) point of discursive reference. The Balmiki community went on strike against the telecast of the Ramayana on the grounds that the telecast excluded the concluding section of the epic text that pit the exiles (the abandoned queen, her illicit children, the guru who shelters them) against sovereign power. Taking the Balmiki strike as a key moment that made publicly visible the rupture in the semiotic relations that suture secularism, religion, and sovereign power, I turn to my fieldwork with the community to interpret their narrative emphasis of the epic text. What were the semiotic reference points of the Balmiki protest? What do the explicit images of exile symbolize for the public, secular, narrative of sovereign power? I explore these questions drawing on my witnessing of their public staging of the Ramayana as a community pride procession in New Delhi in October 1999. Based on the two moments, I argue that the visual imagery of banishment is a political metaphor for the impossible space of “minority” community identity in the

national secular.

Exile and Sovereign Power My empirical starting point for the journeys between the “kingdom and the forest,” between sovereignty and exile, is my fieldwork at several periods Page 74 → during 1999 through 2002 with the Balmiki communities of New Delhi, India, who work as sweepers and cleaners of the national capital.11 Outcasts in political and religious terms, the workers in New Delhi, with whom I primarily associated, clean the public spaces around the very heart of the city that forms the points of national pride and display—the concentric tourist circles that radiate out from the heart of Connaught Place and nearby areas. The Balmiki communities, who take on their name after their lower-caste patron sage, Valmiki, are considered by hierarchical Hindu society as a polluted caste due to their handling of waste materials. Officially subjects of “affirmative action” like welfare measures, and economically depressed, the Balmikis today work for both the New Delhi and Delhi city corporations, as well as for a burgeoning private sector in waste management. The Balmikis occupy a gray zone of “secularism” because they inhabit, in terms of their labor and social identity, an area that is stigmatized by upper-caste Hindus due to religious beliefs of pollution/purity. Their social marginalization thus exemplifies the secularization of the Hindu pollution/purity religious divide. The caste system itself challenges the neat binary of secularism/religion since the hierarchies and networks reproduced through endogamous marriage circles, symbolic and material privileges, and penalties that accrue under the name of caste are linked, in contemporary India, to both secular claims to special citizenship made upon the state and to local religious practices. The metaphorical starting point for this essay is the “banishment” episodes of the Ramayana, the 2,500-year-old epic myth that may be termed India's nation-building narrative. I focus on these “banishment” episodes since they are the crucial symbolic scenes through which the Balmikis make their claim to cultural citizenship. As noted earlier, the Ramayana myth, the source of living performative and narrative traditions across south and southeast Asian cultures,12 interweaves a set of archetypal narratives of sovereignty, banishment, and exile. The Ramayana tells the story of the ayana or journey of the princely couple, Rama and Sita, as they trace, together and individually, a fatalistic map of sovereign power, banishment, and exile. Soon after the marriage of Rama and Sita, on the eve of Rama's coronation, Rama's father is forced to banish the prince from the kingdom of Ayodhya for fourteen years to fulfill a promise to his youngest wife. Rama's half brother, Lakshmana, and Sita choose to accompany the prince on his forest exile. Rama and Lakshmana kill various beings who represent adharma or the unrighteous, the demoness Tadaka and the monkey-king Bali among them. In the thirteenth year of exile, Sita is captured Page 75 → by the demonic Ravana and spirited away to his kingdom of material luxury and sensual excess, Lanka. Rama and Lakshmana fight an epic battle to win her back, killing Ravana, his loyal brothers, and the demon army. Rama's only weak moment during the entire exile is when he confronts Sita after the victory and fears she has been despoiled by Ravana. Sita under-goes an agnipariksha, a trial by fire, to prove her purity and is then received back by Rama. The three then return to Ayodhya where devoted citizens and loving family members conduct the coronation ceremony of Rama. Many north Indian versions of the epic, exemplified by the Tulsi Ramayana, end at this unproblematic point of closure where the rightful sovereign, Rama, ascends the throne, where seemingly good has defeated evil, where the trial by fire establishes womanly purity. The Ramayana telecast on the state-owned national network also ended at this culturally “safe” point of narrative closure that unquestionably establishes righteous sovereign power. Again, throughout the Ramlila performance stages in New Delhi that I wandered through in October 1999, the myth seemed set for a happy finale that left Rama in secure possession of his sovereignty, and undoubted possession of his manhood through the presence of a pure Sita beside him. However, in many other popular versions, and in older texts such as the Srimad Valmiki Ramayana,13 the karmic web continues to ravel to imprison its actors in the final section well-known as the Uttara Ramayana. This text is singularly significant for its philosophical counterpoint to the narrative of sovereignty extolled in the Hindu devotional versions of the Ramayana. B. R. Ambedkar, who led the struggle of the oppressed castes against the

upper-caste-dominated Congress leadership, used this portion of the text to challenge the mainstream religious ethos of the anticolonial nationalist movement and its eulogization of Rama.14 The Uttara Ramayana is critical to the cultural identity of the Balmiki castes due to the narrative centrality it accords to sage Valmiki, whom the Balmiki community identifies as its patron saint. In the Uttara Ramayana, Sita becomes pregnant soon after the return to Ayodhya. Rama banishes a fully pregnant Sita from the kingdom since his subjects suspect her fidelity to Rama while she lived in the captivity of the notoriously lustful Ravana. The outcaste sage, Valmiki, gives shelter to the abandoned Sita and becomes a guru to her twin children, Lava and Kusha. Valmiki's caste status is significant given that Rama kills an outcaste sage, Shambuka, for performing ascetic activities only appropriate for a Brahmin. When Rama announces a horse sacrifice to consolidate the boundaries of his empire, the twins not only capture the horse but return, along with Valmiki and Sita, to the kingdom at the moment of the Page 76 → sacrifice. At the royal gathering, the twins narrate the story of Rama as the sage had composed and taught them, leading the sovereign to recognize and accept his children back. However, Sita has a different fate. Rama asks Sita to undergo a second trial of purity, so that he may accept her back into the kingdom. Instead, Sita prays to her mother, the Earth, to receive her and descends into her maternal home on a throne of serpents. In this concluding section, sage Valmiki plays a key role in which he gives refuge to Sita, acts as parent/guru to the children of Rama and Sita, reveals himself as the author of the Ramayana, and finally, mediates the last meeting between Rama, Sita, and the children. As Ramlilas all over Delhi come to a close with the enthronement of Rama and Sita that preserves the fiction of constant, undivided sovereign power, the Balmiki colony in Mandir Marg, where I did my fieldwork, continues to enact the remaining portions of the epic text recounted above because their guru, Valmiki, appears only in these sections. The symbolic tableaux that I witnessed during the Balmiki Jayanti procession of November 1999 featured the scenes of the mythical figures that evoke the second banishment: the pregnant Sita, her twins Lava and Kusha, and sage Valmiki whose name the community adopts for its identity. As noted earlier, the conclusion of the national telecast of the Ramayana too was marked by the strike of the Balmiki communities in north India who forced the government to agree to the telecast of the Uttara Ramayana. The narrative enactment of the erection of sovereign power is thus, fascinatingly enough, followed by the performance of the tableaux of the banished figures: the outcaste sage Valmiki, the pregnant wife abandoned by her royal husband, the twins who grow up in the forest hermitage rather than in the king's palace.

Historical Context of the Television Ramayana The Ramayana's shifting significance as a key cultural text, especially in the way it has redefined the relations between sovereign power, religion, and secularism, and the way it has also redefined the boundaries of the religious/secular public spheres, forms the context for the Balmiki community's dual intervention. It is also necessary to note the unique historical significance of Ramayana as a nation-building narrative, one that is integral to the way in which “secular” nationalism underpinned itself on a particular religious tradition that was passed off as universal mythology. The south and southeast Asian variations of the ancient epic tradition encompass Page 77 → a variety of tellings that fall into multiple religious traditions, including Islam, Buddhism, and Jainism. However, the Ramayana myth's narrative of sovereignty formed part of the foundational religious symbolism of anticolonial nationalism in India as articulated by its single most powerful figure, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The Ramayana was particularly effective as a nation-building narrative because it generated powerful rhetorical tropes interweaving the politics of nation and religion with that of sovereign power and banishment. In Gandhian rhetoric, Rama's banishment from the kingdom was a metaphor for British colonization; while Sita's ascetic devotion in Lanka symbolized the activist female subjectivity of renunciation of material goods of the British empire.15 Partha Chatterjee's analysis shows how the concept of Ramrajya, or the kingdom of Rama, is a central tenet of Gandhian anticolonial ideology and its adoption of Vedantic Hinduism for the nationalist cause.16 Through Gandhian rhetoric, a particular ideological version of the Ramayana—one that foregrounded the Rama who was banished from the kingdom and who must regain it through ascetic means, or life in exile—became part of the foundational religious narrative of the secular nation. A certain rhetorical version of Brahminical Hinduism was built into this selective reading of the Ramayana that imagined sovereign power not as a positive exercise of domain authority but as a negative exercise of renunciation, as Sujata Patel has shown in her analysis of the

gender politics of Gandhi's text.17 In the 1990s, the narrative of Rama formed a critical rhetorical and visual resource for the multiple popular campaigns that led to the rise of Hindutva, or Hindu cultural nationalism, and its political success. Over the late 1980s and through the early 1990s, the Hindutva organizations, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Viswa Hindu Parishad together built the cultural foundations for their political ascendancy through a visual rhetoric in which the divine figure of Rama played a central role. The Hindutva organizations' cultural creativity lay in using a range of newly popular audiovisual technologies for public communication to construct a new, Hinduized public sphere. The Hindutva political agenda was based on an “end of secularism” narrative that sought to demonstrate pluralist secularism as a bankrupt ideology that would only end up giving more and more space to the minority communities. Rama was a powerful symbolic resource for the renarration of secularism due to the multiple narrative contexts his figure evoked. Rama's status as a vulnerable victim of destiny, exiled by his own father, as Tanika Sarkar has pointed out, resonated with the Hindutva campaign that rhetorically featured the weak, effeminate Hindu who was the subject of invasive governance. Page 78 → Simultaneously, his battle against Ravana and his victory symbolized the warrior-god-king who would, like the masculine subject of Hindutva rhetoric, turn into an angry, fierce combatant capable of defeating enemies. While clearly functioning as a Hindutva symbol, Rama also symbolized the “failure” of Congress-style “plural secularism”; indeed, he was a victim of this type of secularism, and therefore justly outraged, righteous, and vengeful. Central to the visualization of this postcolonial Ramayana was the national telecast of the epic shot in Hindi film mythological style and telecast on the state-owned television network, Doordarshan. Rama became the powerful metasignifier of violated upper-caste Hindu identity that fueled the campaign led by Hindutva political parties to build a temple for Rama at Ayodhya on the very same spot where the sixteenth-century mosque, the Babri Masjid, stood. The Hindutva parties' campaign, conducted during the time of the telecast, argued that the mosque was built by medieval Islamic conquerors who did so by demolishing a Rama temple that stood at the same spot. Three years after the telecast, the campaign culminated in the frenzied mob destruction of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. I now turn to the two moments when the banishment scenes of the Ramayana are evoked and enacted. The two moments are historically significant: the first is the Balmiki communities' strike against the television Ramayana's ending that excluded the role played by sage Valmiki and other “outcasts” of the kingdom. This occurred at a time when the Congress government in power defended a particular version of secularism that adopted the television Ramayana as a secular Ramayana, a national epic. The second is the annual performance of the scenes of banishment in the form of a public procession I witnessed that was staged during the rule of the coalition government headed by the Hindutva combine. The scenes of banishment thus place the Balmiki community outside the national public, or the hegemonic political spaces of the time, and blur the distinction between Congress or Hindutva forms of state power.

Spectacular Strike against TV Ramayana The Ramayana telecast represented the paradigmatic shift to the 1990s secular ideology in which the neo-Hindu discursive regime would set the parameters for any new debate on secularism itself. Selectively focusing on the ultrareligious version of the text that extols Rama as a Hindu deity, the television Ramayana excluded the scenes of Sita's pregnancy, banishment, Page 79 → and exile, as well as the role of Valmiki as protector and guru of the king's abandoned children. Instead, the narrative closed its borders safely with the enthronement of Rama as unchallenged, universally worshipped sovereign. In doing so, the telecast formed the cornerstone for a new secularism that was crafted through the reworking of the semiotic relations between public religiosity and savarna Hinduness through visual culture, in which television played a key role. Rajagopal writes that the decision to broadcast the Ramayana “signaled an attempt to formulate a cohesive, Hindu upper-caste dominated cultural identity for the nation.”18 However, in retrospect, the telecast was significant not so much for the propagation of savarna Hindu ideology as it was of a new secular ideology. The television epic's protagonists functioned in

postcolonial Hindu middle-class culture as semipedagogical figures who embody exemplary citizenship within the family and the nation, with Rama's sovereign power as its semiotic frame. The televised image of the national Hindu family formed a perfect discursive match with the Hindutva campaign that rhetorically featured the longsuffering Hindu, colonized in turn by medieval Muslim and British invaders; whose rights are always already violated by the “minority” Muslim community. The Congress government's defense of the telecast of this particular version of the Ramayana that eulogized Rama and excluded the banishment episodes demonstrated how its “inclusive” secularism blurred into Hindutva's political staging of Rama as a national icon for a new form of sovereign power. The Balmiki labor strike against the television Ramayana, cast into this narrative context, challenged the semiotic relations between the state-owned medium as a public communicative site, public religiosity, and the vision of divinely sanctioned sovereignty. The strike was motivated by the fact that the television series ended the epic conveniently with the coronation of Rama, thus excluding the Uttara Ramayana and its episodes that would feature the exile of the pregnant Sita, the return of Rama's sons to the kingdom, and the emergence of Valmiki as a powerful guru. As the epic presented a Rama cleansed of all “polluting” narrative material and reached a sanitized conclusion, garbage piled up on the streets of Delhi and Chandigarh, as if it were an artistic installation of what the telecast had glossed over. The Balmikis used the streets of the national capital to make a dramatic public statement of their banishment from the visual regime of television. The Balmiki strike contested the government's defense of its decision to air the epic. The television Ramayana was all along presented as a secular epic, defined by a national community united through a negation of Page 80 → identity more than an affirmation: “not Hindu, not Muslim, not Sikh.” While sections of the English-language press objected to “religious television” and caricatured the widespread audience practice of treating the telecast as a devotional ceremony, the government defended the Ramayana as a part of Indian tradition, which in its negative ambiguity belonged to no one and everyone. In parliament, the ruling Congress government rebutted legislators who argued that the telecast was not secular, and instead stated that the television Ramayana was part of “national tradition.” Door-darshan, the Congress stated, would not telecast religious programs, but only those that dealt with “social, cultural, aesthetic, and ethical values.” The television Ramayana, in the government's perception, was not a religious text but a secular national text that reflected the social values of the country.19 In contrast to the government's claims, the press reports on the television Ramayana's phenomenal success testify to the semiotic coordination between visual culture, public religiosity, and the new secular. By July 1988, television reached only 60 percent of the population, according to central government figures, but the English press and magazines widely reported the “national popularity” of the Ramayana series. Telecast from January 1987 to July 1988, it quickly climbed in ratings so that it was soon watched by more than 80 percent of TV households.20 The negative secular matched with television's own ambiguous status as a medium that simultaneously inhabits the privacy of the home even as it appears to belong to the public sphere due to its content. The serial had the highest audience ratings in television history so far, and the highest earnings too, with state-owned television netting huge amounts in ad revenue per episode. The business did not stop at television; the series spawned sales of videocassettes, audiotapes, Ramayana calendars and posters, and books on the epic including comic books and children's stories, as well as a range of Ramayana toys including maces and bows and arrows. Capital and religion met in the secular space of television. Framed in the religious terms of the Vaishnavite devotional cults of north India, the Ramayana transformed television viewing into a positively valued activity for the grandparents who believed in the ritualistic significance of the text, for the women of the household who could legitimately take time off Sunday kitchen routines for a devotional purpose, and for children who could learn their mythology and cultural history even in the modern urban cultural vacuum. The devotional aura gave television legitimacy in more conservative homes, where women audiences reportedly adorned the television set with flowers and sandalwood paste to welcome the visiting gods. Page 81 → Among the newspaper reports that mythologized the series is that of the Chandigarh bride who refused to set out for the marriage ceremony until the day's episode had concluded. A fifty-six-year-old viewer died of a heart attack watching an epic character grieve over the death of his demon-brother, Ravana, apparently reminded of the death of his own brothers (demonic

identifications unexplained in report). The Gorkha National Liberation Front's political negotiations with the central government were rescheduled so that all negotiators could watch the series. Fifty thousand people turned up at Jaipur airport in Rajasthan to catch a glimpse of Arun Govil and Dipika Chikhlia, who played TV Rama and TV Sita. Doctors of the state-run hospital at Cannanore, Kerala, who slipped away, leaving their patients in queues, to watch the coronation of Rama were caught in the act by journalists who took photographs following public complaints. During the Reliance cricket cup finals, Mumbai crowds cheered on Australian batsman David Boon with cries of “Bali, Bali” (one of the monkey heroes of the epic). Ramanand Sagar, producer and director of the series, was sought after by ministers and vice-chancellors, and invited by various social groups to bless, lecture, and counsel Ramayana fans. The not-too-successful Hindi filmmaker and Rama devotee abandoned meat and liquor along with the entire crew for the duration of the series, acted as semi-god-man throughout the telecast, and even appeared seated on a lotus along with the gods in the final episode to shower flowers on the royal couple.21 The tight bind between the popularity of television and the popularity of the Ramayana made it impossible to identify whether the secular medium or the religious epic was hitting gold. Television became synonymous with the Ramayana, and in that process it defined the parameters for a new secular discourse that married public religiosity to new communication technologies. It was this union that the Balmiki strike disrupted, in a regional protest. As the telecast drew to a close in the last week of July 1988, the Balmiki communities in Delhi and in Punjab towns issued a call of rebellion. The communities went on strike from July 22 when the television series concluded the narrative at a politically unambiguous moment, leaving the controversial “forest” sections of the epic that involve sage Valmiki untold. The sanitation workers charged that the role of Valmiki had deliberately been excluded from the series, and that this omission was a sign that the government was being run by people of the upper castes.22 Represented by the All-Indian Safai Mazdoor Union (sanitation laborers' union), the workers filed a suit in the Chandigarh high court against Ramanand Sagar, producer of the series, Doordarshan, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The agitation was supported by sanitation Page 82 → workers in smaller Punjab towns, including Ludhiana, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Muktsar, Fazilka, and Batala. As the weeklong strike progressed, garbage began piling up in the streets, and the Jalandhar municipal corporation was confronted with a possible gastroenteritis epidemic, as well as pressure from traders who threatened to shut down all business establishments. The workers also courted arrest and faced police batons while countering the local government's efforts. “This community has no other weapon. This society has not left us with an alternative, ” one of the laborers told a journalist.23 Recalling the strike a decade later, a Balmiki leader and member of the Congress Party, Sukha Pradhan, told me how his wife had taken a can of kerosene to the demonstration, threatening to set herself on fire. Finally, ending the stalemate, on August 4, 1988, the central minister for information and broadcasting, H. K. L. Bhagat, announced that in view of the popular demand, the government had decided to allow the continuation of the telecast, which would resume as soon as the producer was ready with the episodes.24 At least some sections of the press attributed the change of stance to the fact that the Congress Party could hardly afford to alienate its lower-caste vote bank.25 The Balmiki strike interrupted the telecast of the Ramayana that presented a highly sanitized, upper-caste version of the epic that drew on Vaishnavaite devotional cults and idealized Rama as a divine warrior prince with unquestionable sovereign power. As pointed out earlier, it brought up the question of Valmiki as a figure who, in narrative terms, challenges the legitimacy of kingly power through the figures of the abandoned wife and children. The narrative of the forest sections also tainted the morally and physically pure Sita of the telecast who could be held up as unproblematic symbol of national womanhood, the pativrata, or the chaste wife of the puranic model. The victory of the strike, in symbolic terms, leaves us with several questions. Was this strike a challenge to the Kshatriya-Brahminical or upper-caste version of the Ramayana and its imagery that metaphorically represents sovereign power through the figure of Rama? In that case, it is noteworthy that during my fieldwork, very few Balmikis would use the word Dalit, the term that originated in the struggle against the caste system in twentiethcentury colonial India, to describe themselves. Or was it, instead, a response to the new cultures of visuality through which the nation was being imaged? The new secularism, in which public religiosity, popular text, and a pervasive new communication medium were blended together Page 83 → so powerfully, refuses an either/or

answer. The Balmiki strike arguably reflected the politics of the visual/spatial turn where the contested truths of maternal purity were inextricably intertwined with television's power to grant visibility to multiple players in a new public sphere. Sita and Valmiki as actors in the bitter end of an epic's karmic cycle where the king must confront the most primary exclusions of the kingdom—his disowned wife and children—had to be reenacted in a visual culture where image, body, and spectacle prevailed. What is significant here is the way the strike foregrounds the banishment of the community and challenges the politics of the new visual culture, and the way the visual domain critically crafts the semiotic coherence between sovereign power, secularism, Hindutva, and television.

Return of the Exiles If the strike was an ideological challenge to the visual culture that secularized new forms of political religiosity, it opens up the question that I was able to pursue in my fieldwork: that of the Balmiki communities' interpretive performance of the Ramayana. This was visible in the annual performance of the Balmiki Jayanti, held to honor sage Valmiki, the guru and patron ascetic of the community. The origin of the Balmiki Jayanti procession that I witnessed in November 1999 was itself symbolic: it started out from the historic, if overrun, shabby, and dustridden, Red Fort (still impressive to my eyes) around sunset and took almost four hours to reach Mandir Marg, following a circuitous route that traveled along several other Balmiki colonies in the New Delhi area. I had been prepared for the event over the past two months in the two bastis that I frequented, the Mandir Marg basti and the Sau Quarters basti in Karol Bagh. In home after home that I visited, I had been invited to the Balmiki Jayanti. Conversations about the contemporary social position of the community or questions about the Ramayana telecast strike invariably referred to the visual spectacle for which many localities join together as an anchor of community pride and identity. The procession itself is preceded by a monthlong tour of the Balmiki bastis all over Delhi by a Valmiki Jayanti organizing committee that involved patronage from dominant political parties, including the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which was leading India's coalition government at the time. On the auspicious day, the Mandir Marg basti was Page 84 → overflowing with families dressed in festive clothes: the little bunch of kids who used to follow me around the colony (with cries of “surveywaali aa gayi!”—the survey person has come!) were disciplined into an excited herd. Many men dressed in traditional Haryanvi or Punjabi clothing, while others wore stiff ironed shirts and neatly creased trousers. Women and girls stole the evening; all of a sudden they transformed into look-alikes of Hindi film heroines wearing fine chiffons, glittering silks, gauzy dupattas, and showy jewelry, the price differences from their upper-class counter-parts hidden by the night light. The preparations began with a long wait: everyone had to stand in line and first offer worship at the Valmiki temple in the basti, one that was normally deserted during my frequent visits. Today, however, priests appeared from nowhere to mediate the general worship of Balmiki and to accept money and offerings from the long train of devotees who appear there once a year. It was a curious performance of the new secularism, where a deserted temple took life from a claim to citizenship rather than the spontaneous belief of its devotees, or from the expression of faith without a collective purpose (which one sees in so many little wayside shrines in India, where there are little mud lamps flickering at sunset). This orchestrated celebration was also quite distinct from the Vinayak Chaturthi–type public celebrations where year-round worship of the elephant god culminates in a massive religious spectacle. What was noteworthy here was that the orchestrated public festivities had, largely, a purely public existence that was not backed up by the daily rituals of “private” faith. In that sense, the Balmiki Jayanti in this New Delhi colony represented the triumph of the new secularism in the age of visual political culture, where the spectacle asserts the faith rather than vice versa. In this context, the parade itself was intriguing for the gendered visual spectacle into which it translated the banishment episodes of the Ramayana. Almost all the floats referred to the Uttara Ramayana, or the portions excluded in the telecast of the Ramayana and, normally, in the performance of the Ramlila. However, what seemed significant were the narrative elements of the mythological text that they focused on, which were primarily two. Since there was a parade-planning committee, it was clear that these choices were hardly random, but something which the community leaders had approved of. The floats from over thirty localities emphasized

selected moments in the excluded text: a pregnant Sita, surrounded by female ascetics and companions in the forest hermitage of Valmiki after she had been cast out from the kingdom at Rama's initiative; a nativity scene featuring Sita with her newborn sons shielded by a host of Page 85 → fierce demons; and the dominant visual of Valmiki, guarded by the bow-and-arrow-bearing sons of Sita—Lava and Kusha—now grown into militant youths. The images of both Valmiki and Sita are ruptures in the long tradition of Ramayana's iconography in visual culture. As we watched the floats pass by, it was clear that Sita was a recurring symbol; there she sat with her girl companions and newborn twins, almost resembling the presentational tableaux of nativity, with the crib. This visual depiction of Sita is highly unusual given Sita's traditional appearances in nationalist iconography.26 Sita's childbirth is, by itself, a critique of Rama as her husband who did not trust her and abandoned her at a point of vulnerability. The “illegitimate” maternal floats of Sita visually challenge Rama, who, as sovereign and warrior, occupies a prime place in the new visual domain, in contemporary Hindu nationalist iconography, and in the rhetoric of Gandhian nationalism. If Rama, arguably, is an icon that condenses the multiple meanings of sovereign power, the Sita who gives birth outside the kingdom and is given shelter by an ascetic suggests the illegitimacy of this power. Even if the floats challenge the nationalist icon of Rama, do they affirm Sita as a symbol of Indian womanhood—the upper-caste womanhood that symbolizes the inner essence of nationalism? My conversations with Balmiki women before and after the celebrations contradicted such an idealistic view that differentiates between the spiritual-feminine and materialist-masculine of Partha Chatterjee's and feminists' reading.27 Instead of idealizing “Ma Sita” or mother Sita as the television series often referred to her, the women's reading of Sita, curiously enough, was dominated by a practical rationality that ruled over the upper-caste Hinduism's projection of Sita's sacrifice and virtuosity as depicted in the pativrata (literally, one who takes wifehood as a vow) model. To give brief examples: Kavita, a twenty-three-year-old daughter of a sanitation worker, pointed out that no one today could make the decision that Sita made, which was to follow her husband to the forest, leaving the kingdom and its luxuries behind. Nirmala, an NDMC sweeper, described how Sita's own selfless action was unrewarded; how her own husband, Rama, disowned her after the battle on suspicions that she was the willing object of Ravana's desire. My conversations with women in the basti about Sita involved rational calculations of how selflessness was first of all, inconceivable, and second, if achieved, unrewarded. (This is not to state that the women I spoke to rejected religious devotion; in fact, they offered worship primarily to mother goddesses such as Vaishno Devi and Kali rather than to the community's professed object of worship, sage Valmiki.) Far from idealizing or deifying the epic characters, Page 86 → Rama is seen as a husband who gave way to the interests of sovereign power in abandoning Sita. In turn, Sita is seen as a helpless woman, making her choices that cannot but be lamented now as paths that led to no incentive or reward but actually merited punishment from her own husband. Clearly, then, Sita appears in a float on the day that is the community's equivalent of pride and power statements in the West only because she affirms something that is really positive. That is, even as she feminizes the public visage of the community through her unexpected spectacularization of an unusual moment, she provides a moment of communal pride. And in this context, it seemed important to visually knit together the Sita floats with the other and more prominent category of floats—the floats depicting the sage Valmiki with Lava and Kusha, the grown up sons of Sita. As Rogoff points out, visual culture “opens up an entire field of intertextuality in which images, sounds, and spatial delineations are read on to and through one another, lending ever-accruing layers of meaning.”28 Reading the floats “through one another,” Sita appeared proudly as the mother of Lava and Kusha, the future princes of the kingdom, not as the chaste wife of the national icon, Rama. Armed, clad in saffron or yellow, the mythical twins dominated the scene more than Valmiki, due to the peculiar lighting of the floats that left shadowed anything placed too low or too high. Valmiki appeared either sitting on a high pedestal, sometimes the world itself, or a throne, or sitting on a level with the standing twins; in either case, he was often left in shadow or gained less visual prominence than the twins. The same lack of visual prominence was evident for the seated Sita and her cradle. Standing out against the night and glowing bright in the light of the petromax lamps was the image of the two powerful, armed youths that, unlike Sita's image of nativity, formed an intervisual link with the representations of Hindutva masculinity. Clad in the robes that mark the male warrior, they could very well have

passed for Rama and his half brother, Lakshman, who form so integral a part of contemporary Hindutva visual representations. Coupled with sage Valmiki, they also, as if by default, represented a combination of sagacious, all-powerful guru and warrior princes that in turn was not different from Hindutva's representation of the alliance between Brahmins, the priestly castes, and the Kshatriyas, the warrior castes. The maternal moment of generation is followed upon, or as the sequence of floats went by, continually interrupted and dominated by another: the paternalistic, militant moment, where Lava and Kusha stand forth as warriors trained by their guru who looms in the background. The gendered public sphere—as constituted ephemerally through the Jayanti procession—would seem to reinforce this reading. The passing Page 87 → floats punctuated by excited male entourage, and thus the parade as a whole, not only formed a site of the performance of community identity but also of the performance of masculinity for the young boys and men of the community. In this spurt of carnivalesque energy, women and girls (except the very young girls who were part of the Sita floats) participate primarily in their role as observers of male heroics. In a gender-segregated community, boys, youths, and men played an active, energetic role in managing, directing, and enacting the visual spectacle. From every open truck carrying floats that passed by, youths and men hung out, giving warm pockets of channa dal wrapped in leaves, pooris, and sweets made of semolina to the spectators. Several of them, in filmi style jackets and shoes, found outlets for machismo by driving borrowed bikes zigzag through the crowds that lined the sides of the streets. Sitting on the sidelines with women and teenage girls from families I was close to, I watched at least three minor upsets where a motorbike would lose balance and tilt, undermining the driver's heroics. This ended in a common murmur among the women whom I was with, that the men should be more careful. Veena, a temporary sweeper for the New Delhi Municipal Corporation in her mid-thirties, came to the heart of the event: “They are saying, look, it is our Balmiki Jayanti. See what all we can do!” But Kanchan, her daughter, then in tenth grade, was not happy anticipating my response: “Didi must be thinking how gandi [despicable] these people are!” Despite this brief moment of reservation, in all, my photographs of the floats, and of families I knew, were in high demand over the next few days. Indeed, it was the finest hour of the public visage of the community according to all accounts I encountered as the American who had arrived to conduct research on the “Balmikis”: had I not been repaid in my search for marginal identities?

Primacy of Exile The Balmiki “interruptions” of the narrative of sovereignty with the scenes of banishment call attention to the semiotics of the hegemonic secular that poses as universal ideology while retaining its particular roots. In his essay on the French “secular” state's measures against the Islamic veil, Asad argues how the state resorts to a semiotics that imposes a disciplining code between the sign, its “public” meaning, and the will, desire, and subjectivity of the wearer. The claim to secularism rests, in other words, on the imposition of a particular mode of reading that in turn conceals the ground of Page 88 → the state's own “authoritative interpretations.” “What is at stake,” he writes, “is not the toleration of differences but sovereignty that defines and justifies exceptions, and the public spaces in which it does this.”29 The state's claim of political neutrality toward religious groups is problematic because various groups compete with unequal power in the formulation of public policy. So is the state's claim to universality that rests on the assumption that it is the privileged interpreter of the semiotics of particular identities while concealing its power of constituting and closing significations. The Ramayana telecast and the Balmiki “supplement” to the telecast throw light on precisely this dynamic of the semiotics of secularism, and its processes of signification that mediate the “particular” and the “universal,” especially in the context of television and visual culture. The Ramayana created in the public sphere by Hindutva, and the telecast endorsed by the Congress government, with a narrative closure that ensures sovereignty and the Balmiki foregrounding of the narrative supplement that deconstructs sovereignty, call into question the semiotics of the secular. Here Zizek's arguments regarding what he terms “postmodern postpolitics” and liberal multiculturalism are particularly relevant due to their possible translatability. The arguments are particularly compelling if we agree

with him that the model of competing communities/cultural identities as bases of citizenship effectively forecloses the possibility of “politics” itself. Zizek points to the paradox of the particular and the universal that maps the terrain of citizenship in the context of identity politics. The postpolitical liberal establishment not only fully acknowledges the gap between a mere formal equality and its actualization or implementation, it not only recognizes the exclusionary logic of the false ideological universality, but it even actively fights this logic by applying to it a vast legal /psychological/sociological network of measures, from identifying the specific problems of each group and subgroup (not only homosexuals but African American lesbians, African American lesbian mothers, African American single unemployed lesbian mothers, and so on) to proposing a set of measures (affirmative action, for example) to amend the wrong. However, what such a tolerant procedure prevents is the gesture of politicization proper: although the difficulties of being an African American single unemployed lesbian mother are adequately catalogued, including even the category's most specific features, the concerned subject nonetheless somehow feels that there is something wrong Page 89 → and frustrating in this very effort to render justice for her specific predicament. What she is deprived of is the possibility of the metaphoric elevation of her specific wrong into the stand-in for the universal wrong.30 For Zizek, then, the state's effort to create more and more specific devices of inclusion for the “particular” community only ends up in a paradoxical situation where the “particular” community goes on to experience a denial of political space. Similarly, the “tolerant” Hindu majoritarian secularism creates room for the particular in order to legitimate its own claims to universalism, yet constantly denies religious or cultural minorities the possibility of “metaphoric elevation” of a specific wrong into a universal wrong. Such a denial of “metaphoric elevation” is made possible by the fundamental contract that the prevailing state ideology of secularism forces on all religious or minority communities: that a part must represent a part, and not the whole. The Balmiki performance of the banishment scenes of the Ramayana in public visual culture functions as a political metaphor that precedes the semiotic meanings that constitute the “universal secular.” As Zizek points out, the closely categorized particular is forever, by virtue of that classification and particularity, denied the possibility of metaphoric elevation of a specific wrong into a universal wrong. The banishment symbolizes the primacy of this denial that constitutes the basis of the secular public sphere. The privilege of “including” exclusively rests with the monocultural middle; the “minority” can never “include” the majority. The “excluded” particular or the part cannot be “included” because to do so would require the transformation of the social order and defeat the very conditions through which the included acquired the power to include the “Other.” To pursue Zizek's point, if the African American lesbian unemployed mother is to universalize her sense of social justice, it requires nothing less than an upturning of the social order, so that she loses her particularity in the imagined universality. If we translate Zizek's argument regarding the “African American lesbian mother” semiotically, it means that the particular is condemned forever to signify the particular; it can never aspire to the fullness of meaning that constitutes the universal. In this context, Agamben's theorization of sovereignty allows a critique of both the universal/particular and the inclusion/exclusion paradigms of secularism through which marginal identities are conceptualized. The Balmiki foregrounding of the banishment episodes of the Ramayana seem to contain a powerful political metaphor of the exiles who can never return Page 90 → to the shelter of sovereign power; who must commit themselves ritually to reenact the episodes of their banishment. Prior to the secular semiotics of the particular and the universal, of inclusion and exclusion, is the condition of exile. The exile as metaphor for the hidden violent dynamic of sovereign power reveals, in its symbolism, a more fundamental paradox that is integral to the way this power is constituted. The semiotic relation between the “universal” and the “particular” is underwritten by the metaphor of banishment. The simple, repeated visual performance of the banishment has a fundamental phenomenological significance: that of the primacy of exile as a metaphor of the citizen/state contract. The political problem of the exile and the banishment that Agamben's work suggests functions, in his words, as a “paradigm”—an example that defines the intelligibility of the way in which the semiotics of secularism functions when it works on the dynamics of sovereign power.

While Agamben's concept of the ban inspired me to rethink the Ramayana as episodes of sovereignty and banishment, I do not wish to make easy connections between different strands of political philosophy. The problem of power in the Ramayana is rendered much more complex due to the presence of ascetic power, or the power of renunciation as a more primary form of power than sovereign power. The fact that the guru of the Balmikis is upheld as Valmiki, the outcast ascetic, itself fundamentally changes the way in which the “structure of the ban” may be imagined. My purpose here is also not to idealize the marginal community as a site of resistance to the state or to hegemonic culture, or to define them as occupying ambiguous zones of cultural emancipation visà-vis the state. Feminist critiques of religious/caste-based communities that argue that the communities are “competing patriarchies” with problematic gender politics that reproduce a network of relations of power and influence that ultimately strengthen the state through the extended bonds of family, kinship, caste, and religion, even if they purport to challenge them.31 As microsites of gender governance, labor discipline, and cultural reproduction, caste- and religion-based communities play a critical role in sustaining the dynamic of statemaintained order on an everyday basis. Thus, my ethnographic observation of the Balmiki Jayanti shows how the gender roles within the community remain markedly segregated even in the midst of powerful images of the symbolic violence of banishment and exile. Exiles, in other words, produce more exile, so it is not my intention to reify or valorize that experience as one of unproblematic “resistance.” Partly due to this, I have avoided making simplistic assertions that could equate the Balmiki communities with homo sacer, or bare life, as Page 91 → against the sovereign power they challenge. First, Agamben's work is not easily translated into empirical terms in the context of this essay, which focuses on the symbolic tropes of sovereignty and exile. Second, the visual images of exile that I witnessed are themselves not all the “same” kinds of exile: the distinction between the militant, armed twins guarding sage Valmiki and the bare power of maternity that mark Sita, the one abandoned by the king, emerged clearly in the floats. Sita's power of maternity is clearly biological: she reproduces biological life that is then nurtured by the guru. “At once included and excluded,” her generative moment—where she gives birth or appears as the mother who gives birth to more exiles—can arguably be a metaphor for bare life. In contrast, even while armed, the twins, Lava and Kusha, guarding their guru, appear to symbolize the perpetual journey of the exiles toward the kingdom. The twins with the sage, as I noted, appeared to be a mirror image for Kshatriya-Brahminical power, even in their status as exiles. The figure of these exiles, who so closely resemble the configuration of sovereign power, appears as a mask for the only kind of cultural citizenship that the community can claim, one that also must stand in for political citizenship.

NOTES I wish to thank the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, which funded the fieldwork in New Delhi. The responses of the “secularism collective” that forms the genesis of this book, as well as Srirupa Roy's comments, were critical in reformulating this essay. I thank Veena, Sarala, Neeru, Kanchan, and Kavita, as well as Annie and Rosa, for their labor that remains invisible on paper. 1. Slavoj Zizek, “A Leftist Plea for Eurocentrism,” Critical Inquiry 24 (1998): 1001. 2. For a history of the Balmikis, see Vijay Prashad, Untouchable Freedom: The Social History of a Dalit Community (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000). 3. Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 108–9. 4. See Thomas Blom Hansen and Finn Stepputat, eds., Sovereign Bodies: Citizens, Migrants, and States in the Postcolonial World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005). 5. Although the narrative has innumerable versions, one definitive edition is the Srimad Valmiki Ramayana, 3 vols. (Gorakhpur, India: Gita Press, 1974–76). 6. Ibid., 111. 7. Talal Asad, “Reflections on Laicite & the Public Sphere,” Keynote address at the Beirut Conference on Public Spheres, October 22–24, 2004, accessed July 21, 2011, /Asad_Talal_Reflections_On_Laicite_The_Public_Sphere. Page 92 → 8. Thomas Blom Hansen, “Predicaments of Secularism: Muslim Identities and Politics in Mumbai,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 6 (2000): 256. 9. Purnima Mankekar, Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood,

and Nation in Postcolonial India (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999). 10. Arvind Rajagopal, Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). 11. My fieldwork, funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation of Anthropological Research, was conducted primarily during 1999–2000 and in the summers of 2001 and 2002. 12. Paula Richman, Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991). 13. Richman, Many Ramayanas. 14. Babasaheb R. Ambedkar, “The Riddles of Rama and Krishna,” in Writings and Speeches, vol. 4 (Bombay: Government of Maharashtra, 1987). 15. Usha Zacharias, “Trial by Fire: Gender, Power, and Citizenship in Narratives of the Nation,” Social Text 19 (2001): 29–51. 16. Partha Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993). 17. Sujata Patel, “Construction and Reconstruction of Woman in Gandhi,” Economic and Political Weekly 23 (1988): 377–87. 18. Rajagopal, Politics After Television, 61. 19. U. Zacharias, “The Question of the Audience: Television and Cultural Politics in the Time of the Ramayana” (PhD diss., Ohio University, 2000). 20. Rajagopal, Politics After Television. 21. Zacharias, The Question of the Audience. 22. Ashwini Talwar, “Balmikis' Stir Gains Momentum,” Times of India, July 31, 1988, 14. 23. “20 Held for Ramayana Extension Stir,” Hindustan Times, July 28, 1988. 24. “13 More Ramayana Episodes,” Hindustan Times, August 5, 1988. 25. M. Jain, “The Second Coming,” India Today, August 31, 1988, 155. 26. Partha Mitter, Art and Nationalism in Colonial India, 1850–1922: Occidental Orientations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 27. Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). 28. Irit Rogoff, “Studying Visual Culture,” in Nicholas Mirzoeff, ed., The Visual Culture Reader (London: Routledge, 2002), 15. 29. Rogoff, “Studying Visual Culture.” 30. Rogoff, “Studying Visual Culture,” 1001. 31. Kumkum Sangari, “Politics of Diversity: Religious Communities and Multiple Patriarchies,” Economic and Political Weekly 30 (1995).

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4 Secularism, Islam, and the National Public Sphere Politics of Commemorative Practices in Turkey GIZEM ZENCIRCI This chapter examines the politics of commemorative practices in Turkey as a site of intervention between discourses of secularism and religiosity. This analysis is based on arguments developed in this book analyzing secularism as a constitutive norm of the national experience of the public sphere. The focus is on the politicization of commemorative practices between Islamist and secularist constituencies in Turkey in the last two decades, which I argue to be an instance of the negotiation, contestation, and realignment of the discursive and performative mediations of secularism in the Turkish national public sphere. This chapter takes national holidays as sites through which the peculiar relationship between secularism and the national public sphere can be put under scrutiny. Specifically I argue that the shift from authoritarian tendencies to participatory, popular, and democratic practices in the celebration of national holidays in Turkey are part and parcel of discursive interventions carried out in the name of secularism in the national public sphere. Put another way, new interventions aiming to reconstitute the public performance of national holidays have resulted in the stripping-off of state secularism from its authoritarian tendencies and have taken a more participatory, joyful, and pluralistic tone. These transformations reconfiguring the national subjects' experience of public spectacles of nationhood have resulted from attempts of secularist Page 94 → groups and the Turkish military to counteract criticisms posed by Islamist constituencies to authoritarian state secularism. To argue that one can discern the visual and performative contours of the secular-religious relationship via an analysis of the national holidays is not a common undertaking in studies on secularism and religion. To some extent the necessity of an inquiry concerning interconnections between the study of national commemorative practices and performative politics of secularism results from unique features of Turkish secularism. Until the mid-2000s, secularism has increasingly been perceived as in need of protection by the Turkish army and secularist groups and associations in the face of the increasing visibility of public Islam.1 The following example explains the ways in which questions of secularism have been intertwined with concerns over the practice and symbolic repertoire of national holidays, highlighting the necessity of a theoretical awareness about the centrality of practices in the study of both national identity and the secular-religious relationship. The presidential candidacy of the then foreign minister Abdullah Gul was at the center of political discussions in 2007 causing a constitutional crisis because secularist groups such as the Association for Atatürkist Thought were campaigning against the prospect that a president's wife would wear a headscarf, and organizing Republic Rallies to show that secularism was popularly supported by Turkish citizenry. In the midst of these discussions, a controversial press release (referred to as the e-coup in media discourses) was released on the Turkish military's official website. A military officer had said ten days earlier that it was preferable to have a president who adheres to “secularism in essence,” so the military's position on the presidential election—as preferring a president who was loyal to the principles of secularism, and hence not Abdullah Gul—was more or less well known and understood by the public. Defying expectations, however, this press release did not elaborate on the military's position about the upcoming presidential elections, at least not directly. Rather the press release was criticizing various events organized for the celebration of the Children's Day national holiday (April 23). According to this press release, activities such as recitations of the Koran by schoolchildren, singing of religious songs (ilahis), or the commemoration of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed during the week of an official national holiday were undesirable, because they were attempts to mix Islamic practices with the public repertoire of national commemorative practices. These practices, which used religious symbols in celebration of national identity and in remembrance of national history, posed a challenge to the Turkish military's understanding Page 95 → of what secularism meant, and the ways in which secularism needed to be practiced, performed, and embodied by schoolchildren during the celebration of the Children's Day holiday.

This e-coup, as it came to be known, was further followed by a number of mass demonstrations known as Republic Rallies, which have been organized by secularist groups with the central purpose of supporting the ideology of state secularism and criticizing the AK Party (Justice and Development Party) government as well as the perceived Islamization of Turkish society. The e-coup and the ensuing Republic Rallies in 2004 hence are one of many examples of the politicization of commemorative practices that have marked the Turkish national public sphere in the last fifteen years. In an attempt to explain and understand the interconnections of national holidays and debates over secularism in Turkey, this chapter asks the following questions: Why were particular ways of celebrating national holidays perceived as a threat to secularism according to the military? Why was reciting the Koran on the Children's Day holiday seen as challenging the Turkish state? Why was it necessary for people to take to the streets to show their support for secularism in the aftermath of the military's e-coup? Why were people mobilizing for and against secularism perceived as emblematic of democratization? I propose that answers to these questions need to be sought through the web of interconnections between public meanings and practices of secularism, religion, and democracy as they have historically developed in Turkey. After briefly reviewing the ways in which the norm of secularism has been a constitutive element in the founding of the national public sphere in Turkey, I move on to an analysis of the early organization of national holidays and suggest that we can discern two shadows of secularism in these celebrations: First, these national holidays were public displays of the new Turkish nation as cleansed from religious symbols and rituals, and second, they were utilized as public sites where the constitution of the Turkish nation as an imagined community has been mediated through references to order, regularity, and solemnity, resulting in a co-constitution and even a confluence of the public experience of authoritarianism and secularism. Next, I turn to the contemporary period and examine the negotiation of the secular-religious relationship through focusing on the politicization of national holidays with a specific focus on the reenvisioning of the Victory Day celebrations by the Turkish military in 2004, which took place a couple of months after the abovementioned e-coup and the ensuing Republic Rallies. I argue that the transformation of the public experience and emotional appeal of national holidays from authoritarian and militaristic tendencies Page 96 → to democratic, participatory, and joyous experiences are attempts by secularist groups and the military institution to counteract criticism posed about authoritarian state secularism.

Secularism and the Turkish National Public Sphere Secularism has been closely connected with the staging and representation of modernity2 in Turkey. The hopeful modernization of the nation was carried out by initiating various reforms that were intended to penetrate into the lifestyle, manners, behaviors, and daily customs of the people, transforming them into modern, civilized, and secular members of the newly imagined national community.3 The triangular dynamics between the everyday life of the citizens, the constitution of state sovereignty and legitimacy, and the production of national identity has been argued by Roy to be significant in the “creation of a national public,” where the national public sphere needs to be understood as being a “a result of deliberate projects or strategies of nationalization and etatization.”4 As a non-Western public sphere, in Turkey, the national public has been produced through the proliferation of the images of the state, and the state has been constituted as the proprietor of modernity and secularism. In terms of the constitution of the secular-religious relationship, the removal of religion from the public sphere was understood as a crucial move for modernization and differentiating the new nation-state from the historical legacy of the Ottoman Empire. Such re-visioning of the public life of the Turkish citizenry was managed through introducing various secularization-oriented reforms such as the abolishment of the Caliphate, closing the institutions of folk Islam, the creation of a new nationalist education system, and promulgation of new nonreligious codes of governance: “all secularizing moves of significance”5 in terms of the constitution of the national public sphere. Furthermore, there were multiple reforms initiated to change the clothing habits of people in an attempt to create a new and secular Turkish citizenry. These reforms were directed toward the creation of a modern, West-oriented public domain that was partially communicated through the changing visibility, role, and clothing of women in the public sphere. Such modernist-secularist interventions to the female body included the ban on veiling, and the display of modern women wearing modern clothes while engaging in modern activities together with their husbands in the public sphere, such as dance receptions Page 97 → and evening gatherings promoted by the state that in a sense attempts to “feminize the

public sphere” under state supervision.6 Turkish modernist-nationalism7 through these reforms implemented secularism as a way of governing society and emphasized the primacy of the performative norms and the visual practices in the domain of the national public sphere. Put another way, the national public sphere was constituted as a site for the implementation of a secular, modern, and progressive way of life. In other words, secularism was by and large the constitutive norm and the basis of public life in Turkey.8 Similar to the discursive interventions of the Turkish state in reconstituting public life in conjunction with a modern and secular way of life, the Islamist sociopolitical movement utilized public strategies contesting the constitutive norm of secularism. Hence Gole considers the interventions of Islamist politics during 1990s as “public Islam” and argues that “public Islam testifies to a shift in the orientation of the Islamic movement from macro-politics toward micro-practices.”9 In a sense, public Islam in Turkey has developed as a counter public contesting and transforming the contours of the public mediation of secularism. Fraser defines counter public as “parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counter discourses to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests and needs.”10 The microstrategies within the domain of the politics of commemorative practices in Turkey need to be seen as a struggle over structuring the conceptual, performative, and visual contours of the national public sphere between a secularist hegemonic public and an Islamist counter public. In order to understand the politicization of secularism, religious nationalism, and democracy in the national public sphere, in the next section I will discuss the role of national commemorations in the nation-statist project in Turkey and explain two shadows of secularism as they have historically emerged in the celebration of national holidays.

Shadows of Secularism in Commemorative Practices Commemorations, as national rituals, occupy a significant place in the everyday experience of national identity alongside monuments, museums, street names, and other rituals. Rituals are significant in an attempt to understand the terrain of the “social-national” because rituals structure how people think about national identity and the nation-state relationship.11 In Page 98 → other words, commemorative practices carry a message about sociocultural production through functions such as repetition, acting, special behavior, order, and staging. In a world of nation-states, public spectacles such as national holidays serve to constitute, shape, and normalize national identity.12 Through the utilization of iconic images, objects, symbols, performances, and people, national commemorations narrate a larger story about the nation. In other words, through the public performances of national holidays, “the nation itself is anthromorphized and portrayed as having an identity, a national character, and a biography.”13 According to Roy, the construction of national identity through rituals of national commemorations serves two interrelated roles in nationalist projects. First, they serve as an effective way for nationalization. The seamless, linear and teleological narratives of national time that are generated during national commemorations elaborate and consolidate the idea of the nation as a permanent or timeless and unified community…. Second, commemorations are also sites and arenas for the performance of nationhood…. Such encounters can also take place outside the ritualistic space-time of annual commemorations.14 Put another way, national holidays both create a venue for the ideological-symbolic reproduction of the nation and are also a site for the performances, expressions, and practices of nationhood.15 In this reproductive performance, the aim to normalize the contours of who belongs to the nation and what such belonging entails is not without contestation. Another function of public spectacles as such is that they are used to “communicate those very things which are in most doubt because ritual is a good form for conveying a message as if it were unquestionable.”16 The occurrence of a micropolitics of the secular-religious relationship in the domain of national holidays hence attests to the fact of the inherent inconsistency of the public mediation of secularism. Indeed, rituals of national commemorations might explicitly serve to recreate nationalist sentiments, but implicitly they also express deep contradictions in the social and cultural system: troubles, uncertainties, conflicts, and paradoxes. That these rituals of national commemorations are sites of contestation and negotiation of national identity attests to the fact that

such rituals are not a mirror of existing social arrangements but rather have the capacity to make and mark a shift in the constitutive parameters of the national public sphere.17 These shifting modes of commemorative practices go hand in hand with the instability, contestability, and contextuality of national narratives such as secularism. Page 99 → As many other nation-states, the Turkish nationalist project introduced various dates in the then near history to mark the time-space of society through both the remembrance and the performance of national memory and identity. The national holidays that mark the national experience around the year thus refer to events with the start of the Independence War, May 19, 1919 (Youth and Sports Holiday), the opening of the national parliament, April 23, 1920 (National Sovereignty and Children's Day), Victory Day on August 30 which marks the end of the Independence War, and Republic Day, referring to the proclamation of the Turkish Republic which is celebrated on October 29. Although all of these holidays refer to a different moment in official national history, their public performances closely resemble each other. These national holidays were organized in national stadiums in the large cities of Ankara and Istanbul, and small-scale replications of such stadium celebrations were carried out in city squares, schools, and public buildings in other cities. Since these celebrations were deemed “official” spectacles of the newly founded nation-state, they were carefully organized by special committees. These public displays of the nation-state were powerful mediums in the communication of the legitimacy and authority of the new state institution and were also a venue for presenting the official national imagination. The new Turkish nation, as seen by the state, was generally portrayed by elaborate cartographies of orderly and compulsory participation by soldiers, students, villagers, and various other groups that were being called in to take their place in the public imagination of the new Turkish nation. Representation of the new Turkish nation via its constituent parts was also supplemented by heroic nationalist speeches, poems, and songs spruced with themes such as liberation, unity, and modernization.18 Two shadows of secularism can be discerned in the initial institutionalization of Turkish national holidays. First, these public displays of the “new Turkish nation” were instrumental in signifying the decline of the control of religion in the public sphere. The rituals and symbols of celebrations were purified from religious significations that had an important role in Ottoman ceremonies. In other words, the religious symbolism of Ottoman rituals were replaced with secular symbols of modernist nationalism. People from different religions were wearing their “modern” clothes and watching the ceremonies next to each other. The new republican women and their daughters were performing in modern, Western clothes together with men in gymnastics, sports, and other performances.19 The display of young and modern female students in shorts and miniskirts was a signifier of the modernist idea of emancipating Turkish women from the confines of Page 100 → Islam. Despite this emancipatory rhetoric, these national holidays still included performances upholding gender differences between female and male students. While male students would perform tasks showing strength and endurance, female students would perform dances that would show their beauty and delicacy.20 Still, these national holidays were significant venues for signifying the embodiment of the secularist norm by female students marked through the visual representation of the unveiled women in public displays of the new Turkish nation, understood in secularist and modernist terms. Second, and more central to the inquiry undertaken in this chapter, in these national holidays the national community was represented and performed through a symbolic repertoire of order, regularity, respect, and solemnity. These national holidays were venues for the representation of the nation to its members, as well as mediums for constituting the relationship between the state and the nation in the public imagination. In other words, like many other nation-states, the Turkish state has utilized the direct contact between a huge crowd and central symbols and activities of the state as an effective way to foster their legitimacy, to inculcate a sense of solidarity, or to create identification with certain key symbols.21 The calligraphy of stadium performances and the accompanying street celebrations were micromanaged through various publications in national newspapers. An example from the 1934 Ulus newspaper outlining the preparations for the celebration of the Republic Day holiday can give readers a sense of the emphasis put on order, consistency, and regularity. This newspaper article dictated that all the buildings, houses, cars, and minarets of mosques had to be decorated with red and white ribbons22 and national flags and illuminated with electricity; that the scouts and villagers who arrived in Ankara

from all over the country were planned to salute the Victory Monument at 14:00 and would first sing the national anthem followed by the Oath of Loyalty; that the magnificence of the wreaths that were going to be placed on the Victory Monument would be ensured by the municipal government; that the people attending the ceremony were to be grouped according to their occupation, and each of these groups had to march following the previous group at twenty-five steps behind; and that during the firing of cannons at night those who hear those sounds had to stay put in the hazirol (position of attention) for a minute. This emphasis on order and regularity in the organization of Turkish national commemorations are closely linked to the pervasiveness of militarism in Turkey. Altinay defines militarism as a set of ideas in public life that glorify practices, attitudes, and norms associated with militaries.23 Her Page 101 → analysis of school curriculums, compulsory military duty, and discourses around conscientious objection reveals the extent to which being a “military nation” is entrenched as a norm defining state-society relations in Turkey. This coupling of militarism and nationalism can also be discerned in the organization of national holidays. Most of these public spectacles have traditionally involved messages about the role of the military in the Turkish nation in slogans written on posters such as “Turkish military is the essence of the nation.”24 Moreover, such military technology as tanks, ships, and helicopters has always been a central part of these celebrations. Perhaps more important, there were close parallels between the orderly organization of performances by students and by soldiers, portraying the nation as an extension of the military. Situated in the historical context of a modernist and secularist nation-state project, rituals of national commemorations in Turkey hence had a consistent form that included “sentimental poetry recitation, orderly but hard-to-adapt stadium performances, tiring costume parades, and an authoritarian organizational style.”25 Over the years, such celebrations of the nation had become consolidated and normalized in the national consciousness as ordinary forms of respecting a sacred form of national history and identity. In fact, up until the 1990s, although national holiday celebrations were potent instances of nationalist glory and respect, still the “most participatory act many citizens performed for Republic Day was to hang Turkish flags.”26 In order to understand the ways in which a rhetoric of participation has become a central aspect of the public experience of national holidays in Turkey, as exemplified by the popular Republic Rallies, it is crucial to situate the shift in the repertoire of national holidays in the secular-religious relationship as mediated through the national public sphere.

From Order and Respect to Joyous Participation The normalized, commonsense celebrations of national holidays started to change drastically from the 1990s onward and became a site for the negotiation of the secular-religious relationship. The reason for such politicization was the newly adopted strategy of Islamists who drew parallels between the boring, repetitive, and orderly ways of celebrating national holidays with the public experience of authoritarian state secularism. In response to such a critique, secularist groups and the Turkish military developed an alliance to transform the emotional appeal of secularism through various measures. Page 102 → The election of Islamist mayors to major municipalities in 1994 marks the origins of the politicization of commemorative practices in the national public sphere. Initially the mayors of the Islamist Refah Party of Istanbul and Ankara were reluctant to organize and administer the accustomed official rituals of national commemorations. This reluctance was coupled with a critique of state secularism as single-minded, cold, and serious like the experience and emotional appeal of commemorative practices in the manner they approach society.27 In the discourse of Islamists, state secularism was labeled as having the traits of national commemorations, which were argued to be authoritarian, involuntary, and unexciting. Thus the consolidated way of celebrating national commemorations in a formal, hierarchical, predetermined manner was portrayed as exemplary of state secularism. Within this perspective the national public sphere was marked as being a solemn public sphere, equating secularism with authoritarian rule and, for that reason, viewing state ideology as being distanced from the needs and aspirations of society. Conversely, Islamists framed their effort as the wishes of the society, which they argued to be evidenced by the large-scale participations on Ottoman Day celebrations and other public events

organized by municipalities such as free concerts. The introduction of May 29 celebrations and the refusal to organize ceremonies for the Republic Day were initially “instrumental in the performance of an alternative national identity and the construction of an alternative national time that challenges official secular national history.”28 Secularists' attitude toward the society was argued to be observable from the manner and attitude in which national holidays had been celebrated in Turkey, which opened up a space of Islamist intervention to the experience of public life. Islamist groups initially were able to differentiate themselves from the Secularists by claiming that secularism felt like an involuntarily attended national holiday as opposed to their own participatory and democratic presence in the public sphere. By intervening in the emotional appeal of commemorative practices, Islamists were able to contest the political imagination of the Turkish national public sphere in regard to the relationship between secularism, democracy, and religion. The 1995 victory of the Refah Party in general elections and the following coalition government was brought to an end by the National Security Council decree in 1997 with a “list of measures designed to nullify the supposed Islamization of Turkey and fortify the secular system.”29 Although the military did not take over power, the coalition government dissolved and the Refah Party was shut down. The celebrations for the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Turkish Republic that occurred a year after Page 103 → the military's intervention and have marked a shift from previous ways of celebrating national holidays. Such a drastic change surprised multiple generations of Turkish people who had learned that national holiday meant respect, formality, and order. This transformation did not occur as a direct result of the democratization and the power of civil society as it was often represented in national media. Rather, the transformation of the performative repertoire of Republic Days was initiated by the secular establishment to respond to the criticism about the authoritarianism of national holidays, and in this rethinking of the political imagination, secularist groups utilized the “idea of civil society”30 to signify a democratic form of secularism in Turkey. In this line of inquiry, Ozyurek argues that the Turkish state utilized the anniversary for three purposes. First, it was a means to show that the Turkish Republic was democratic, and thus secularism did not necessarily mean that it was imposed from above. Second, this reaction to the undemocratic character of the Turkish regime was made possible by the demonstration of citizens' voluntary support of the state and therefore of the military's intervention in civilian politics. Third, such politicization of commemorative practices were directed toward curbing the power of political Islam.31 For this end, the government worked together with a nongovernmental organization that planned a mass celebration with the hopes that “if celebrated enthusiastically and without the involvement of the government, the Republic Day celebration would be a proof of popular support for the new government in power and the anti-Islamist measures.”32 To change the emotional appeal of national commemorations, the newly organized celebrations thus emphasized a festive and joyous public experience. Such a change in the emotional appeal of commemorations was signified by organizing the time and space of the national public sphere differently. The public space of the celebrations moved from stadiums to streets, and the tone of celebrations turned toward popular music concerts rather than formulaic nationalist speeches. More important, an emphasis on spontaneity and voluntarism took the place of the predetermined organization of events taking place during the celebration of the national holiday. According to Ozyurek, the aim of such spatial and temporal reorganization by the secularist groups in Turkey was to show that the “Turks freely supported the official ideology, rather than being forced to do so.”33 The attempts to democratize the experience of official secularism in Turkey hence lie at the heart of the politicization of commemorative practices. By showing that the republic could also be celebrated through festivals that were marked by spontaneity, voluntarism, informality, and free expression Page 104 → of emotionality, the seventyfifth anniversary of the celebration put the people and their participation in national holidays at the center.34 The years following the military's intervention in 1997 witnessed a transformation in the ideological outlook of the Islamist movement in Turkey, and the closing down of the Islamist Refah Party affected the Islamist politicians and led them to reconsider their ideological positions vis-à-vis the Turkish state. After 2001, the Islamist political agenda developed along two lines: the traditionalists and the reformists, who took a different posture in the presence of the military's threat.35 The new face that the reformist AK Party (Justice and Development Party) adopted was an entire break from the tradition that the party had come from, and the success

of this party in the 2002 election proves that the new path that the AKP adopted in their split from their initial party has proved efficient. Ozbudun suggests that the AKP reconciled with the principles of secularism in the constitution; in fact, even in the party program it is stated that “while religion is one of the most important institutions of humanity, secularism is a sine qua non condition for democracy, and the guarantee of freedom of religion and conscience.”36 Such moderation can also be seen in regard to patterns of politicization of national holidays: the significance of Ottoman Day celebrations in public discussions diminished, and Islamist groups embraced the national holidays as legitimate arenas where state secularism could be contested.

The Emotional Appeal of Commemorative Practices As a result of this transformation, secularism also acquired meanings through an increasing emphasis on voluntary participation instead of compulsory attendance at ceremonies of official national holidays. In a sense, the seventyfifth-anniversary celebrations of Republic Day, emphasizing festivity, joy, spontaneity, and participation instead of formality, order, respect, and attendance were followed by multiple efforts to civilianize and popularize national holidays and to alter the emotional appeal of secularism. For example, the Turkish army, which traditionally organizes and supervises the Sovereignty and Victory Day celebrations of August 30, in the hopes of restoring its public image after the e-coup, attempted to alter the emotional appeal of the rituals of commemorative practices for the 2004 Commemoration. Traditionally, the official ceremony starts with the visit of high-ranked military officials to Anitkabir and is not open to the public. Then the officers move on to the stadiums where they can watch the stadium Page 105 → performances performed by military schools' students. This stadium performance is usually broadcast on television, and military cars, tanks, helicopters, and various other pieces of equipment go around the city. For ordinary people, primarily because schools are on summer vacation during this holiday, Victory Day does not receive that much interest in comparison to other national commemorations. At best, it would be a display of the military on the streets of major cities by which the presence and the technological strength of the military can be seen. Shifting the emotional appeal of these rituals of militaristic achievement and strength required a three-tiered strategy on the part of the organizers. First, the military set out to organize free music concerts for the “people.” Eurovision Song Contest winner Sertap Erener and singer Muazzez Ersoy were the performers in the Ankara Hippodrome, which is traditionally the site of the stadium performances and military parades. For this “People's Concert,” the organizers provided free buses from twenty-five points in Ankara so that people could travel to this concert easily; thus the military adopted the strategy of Islamist municipalities of providing free transportation for various events in order to ensure participation. These concerts were also supplemented by public concerts where rock music was played. Traditionally, the music during the celebration had been played by a military band, and attempts to incorporate popular tunes would be considered disrespectful in relation to the seriousness of Victory Day. Yet, the military institution had to take its place in the civilianization and democratization of the experience of national holidays. Hence, during the Victory Day celebrations the military parachuting from the sky above the stadium was accompanied by the theme song from the film Mission Impossible: a hollywoodization of the display of military strength.37 Second, the military establishment attempted to reach out to people by using alternative slogans such as “Let's live this excitement together.” During the stadium performances, there was a billboard on which “Dear Turkish society, We are happy to be a part of you, We are strong with your Love”38 was written. With this billboard, the celebration of Victory Day was constituted as a civilian, humane, and more approachable letter written by the military to the Turkish society. Other billboards were also used to emphasize the joyful, festive character of Victory Day: “Happy Victory Day.” Instead of displaying the military in unitary vision, this time the bill-boards had a soldier with a child sitting on his lap, and on top of this photograph was written, “The security of the people is above everything else,” yet another attempt to create an intimate, yet still respectful public experience of secularism. Page 106 →

These slogans were supplemented by ten advertising videos each lasting forty-five seconds with thematic emphasis on showing the ways in which the military works for the betterment of the Turkish nation: supporting peace efforts, supporting the rural areas, earthquake relief works, and international activities of the Turkish military were all broadcast on television during Victory Week. In these videos a wide range of popular celebrities were hired to assist in communicating the changing emotional appeal of commemorative practices and the realignment of the relationship of the Turkish military with the larger society. Third, the military invited 150 civilians to accompany them in their official “protocol” in Anitkabir, where traditionally only military officers would be attending. Not surprisingly, these civilians were relatives of martyrs and war veterans who had been asked to come from eighty-one cities of Turkey. At the end of the official part of the ceremony now complemented by the participation of civilians, the high-ranking military officers got their photograph taken together with the civilian group. Such efforts by the Turkish military to alter the emotional appeal of national holidays were to some extent a response to the growing discomfort with stadium celebrations. But this attempt to change the emotional appeal of the celebration of Victory Day was more an effort to strip secularism and the military from its authoritarian connotations, in response to criticisms posed by the rising Islamist opposition in Turkey. The re-visioning of Victory Day as a joyous, festive, and civilian experience marks a transformation in the emotional appeal of commemorative practices and an attempt to alter the public experiences of secularism by presenting the military institution as more approachable and humane. This is not to say that norms of authoritarian secularism are no longer constitutive of the performances of national holidays in Turkey. For example, the Meeting Forum of Young People petitioned for altering the way in which Youth and Sports Day has been celebrated in Turkey. The association argued that it was time to bring an end to celebrating Youth and Sports Day through student performers' obligatory attendance, as these stadium ceremonies were “the reflection of an authoritarian state ideology.” These young people argued that although the early institutionalization of national holidays aimed to show the world how populous, how active, how strong it was, it was now the time to bring an end to such images of military might that associate political legitimacy and power with authoritarian tendencies. According to this organization, changing the way in which the May 19 Youth and Sports Day was celebrated would also be a message against the rise of authoritarian tendencies in the world. Hence, Page 107 → for these young people, altering the way in which a national holiday was celebrated in Turkey was a means to criticize authoritarianism. Unsurprisingly, this petition caused major public discussion as to whether such a radical change in abolishing the stadium performances was acceptable. On the one hand, such an abolishment would certify that “secularism” and the “state” were not just a from-above imposition if authoritarian spectacles of national holidays were no longer needed, if they ever were. On the other hand, such an abolishment of commemorative practices could be taken as giving in to an Islamist threat to secularism. For example, the minister of education, Huseyin Celik, replied to the forums' petition, “I agree with you, it is necessary to save 19 May celebrations from stadiums. These symbolic ceremonies can not be found anywhere around the world anymore, the substance and spirit of the national holidays have been forgotten. We need to give substance to celebrations.” His comment was criticized later by various public voices, including the chair of the Union for Education, Alaaddin Dincer, who responded, “I think I know what the Minister Celik's purpose is, I don't even think that he accepts the importance of 19th May.” To this and other criticisms Celik replied, “I did not mean to suggest abolishing national holidays, I only said that they should not be confined to stadiums.”39 A criticism posed to the authoritarianism of national holidays was yet again wrapped in discussions about the secular-religious relationship and its negotiation in the national public sphere. Stadium celebrations are still a central aspect of the public repertoire of national holidays in Turkey, although they are increasingly accompanied by street celebrations where the public performance of secularism is increasingly mediated through emphasizing joyfulness and democratic and popular participation. The ways in which ordinary citizens perceive such a purposeful transformation of the public experience of secularism is the subject of another study, but attempts to alter the emotional appeal and the public experience of secularism so as to counteract

Islamist criticism in Turkey show the ways in which the secular-religious relationship is co-constituted in national public spheres. In sum, through examining the contestations in the domain of commemorative practices in regard to the secularreligious relationship as mediated in the public sphere in Turkey, this chapter highlighted the ways in which the public experience of secularism has shifted from an authoritarian, solemn, and orderly outlook to a site where enjoyment and pluralistic, voluntary participation have become central in its emotional appeal. The practices and ways in which the secular-religious relationship are constituted, contested, and reconfigured hence are crucial to take into consideration Page 108 → both in the study of secularism and in the study of national identities. In other words, without acknowledging the tight interconnections between the public resonance of the secular-religious relationship and performances of democracy, it is not possible to understand the intricate workings of national public spheres.

NOTES 1. Nilufer Gole, “Islam in Public: New Visibilities and New Imaginaries,” Public Culture 14, no. 1 (2002): 173–90. 2. Timothy Mitchell, “The Stage of Modernity,” in Questions of Modernity, ed. Timothy Mitchell (London: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), 1–34. 3. Caglar Keyder, “Whither the Project of Modernity? Turkey in the 1990s,” in Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey, ed. Sibel Bozdogan and Caglar Keyder (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997), 37–51. 4. Srirupa Roy, “Seeing a State: National Commemorations and the Public Sphere in India and Turkey,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 48, no. 1 (2006): 200–232. 5. Andrew Davison, “Turkey, a ‘Secular' State?,” in Relocating the Fault Lines: Turkey beyond the EastWest Divide, ed. Sibel Irzik and Guven Guzeldere (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003), 337. 6. Alev Çinar, Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey: Bodies, Places, and Time (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005). 7. Ayhan Akman, “Modernist Nationalism: Statism and National Identity in Turkey,” Nationalities Papers 32 (2004): 1. 8. Y. Navaro-Yashin, Faces of the State: Secularism and Public Life in Turkey (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 7. 9. Gole, “Islam in Public,” 71. 10. Nancy Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy,” in The Phantom Public Sphere, ed. Bruce Robbins (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990), 115. 11. S. F. Moore and B. G. Myerhoff, “Introduction: Secular Ritual; Forms and Meanings,” in Secular Ritual, ed. S. F. Moore and B. G. Myerhoff (Amsterdam: Van Gorcum, Assen, 1977), 4. 12. J. R. Gillis, Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 5. 13. Laleh Khalili, Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 1. 14. Srirupa Roy, Beyond Belief: India and the Politics of Postcolonial Nationalism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007), 66–67. 15. Ibid., 102. 16. Moore and Myerhoff, “Introduction: Secular Ritual: Forms and Meanings,” 24. 17. Ibid., 5. 18. Esra Ozyurek, Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006), 135. Page 109 → 19. Diler Ozdemir, “The Ankara Hippodrome: National Celebrations of Early Republican Turkey 1923–1938” (MA diss., METU, 2004), 74. 20. Yigit Akin, “Ana Hatlari ile Cumhuriyet Doneminde Beden Terbiyesi ve Spor Politikalari 1923–2005 [Main Characteristics of Physical Education and Sport Policies in Republican Turkey 1923–2005],” Toplum

ve Bilim (2005): 103. 21. Ben-Amos, Avner, and Ben-Ari Eyal, “Resonance and Reverberation: Ritual and Bureaucracy in the State Funerals of the French Third Republic,” Theory and Society 24 (1995): 163–91. 22. The colors of the Turkish flag. 23. Ayse-Gul Altinay, The Myth of the Military Nation: Militarism, Gender, and Education in Turkey (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 2. 24. Ozdemir, “The Ankara Hippodrome,” 94. 25. A. Ozturkmen, “Celebrating National Holidays in Turkey: History and Memory,” New Perspectives on Turkey 25 (2001): 49–50. 26. Ozyurek, Nostalgia for the Modern, 132–33. 27. Yael Navaro-Yashin, “Uses and Abuses of ‘State and Civil Society' in Contemporary Turkey,” New Perspectives on Turkey 18 (1998): 8. 28. Çinar, Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey, 388. 29. Umit Cizre and Menderes Çinar, “Turkey 2002: Kemalism, Islamism, and Politics in the Light of the February 28 Process,” in Relocating the Fault Lines: Turkey beyond the East-West Divide, ed. Sibel Irzik and Guven Guzeldere (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003), 309. 30. John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, “Introduction,” in J. Comaroff and J. Comaroff, eds., Civil Society in the Political Imagination in Africa: Critical Perspectives (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999). 31. Esra Ozyurek, “Public Memory as Political Background,” in The Politics of Public Memory in Turkey, ed. Esra Ozyurek (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2007), 119. 32. Ozyurek, “Public Memory as Political Background,” 120. 33. Ozyurek, Nostalgia for the Modern, 137. 34. Ibid., 168. 35. Cizre and Çinar, “Turkey 2002,” 311–15. 36. “William Hale and Ergun Ozbudun,” Islamism, Democracy and Liberalism in Turkey:The Case of the AKP (New York: Routledge, 2009), 21. 37. Hurriyet, August 31, 2004, “30 Agustos'ta Zihniyet Devrimi” (Revolution in the Mentality of August 30th). 38. Hurriyet, August 31, 2004, “30 Agustos'ta Zihniyet Devrimi” (Revolution in the Mentality of August 30th). 39. Milliyet, May 20, 2003, “Stadyumda Toren Istemiyoruz” (We don't want ceremonies at stadiums).

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Part 2 Mediations

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5 Mediating Secularism Communalism and the Media Assemblage of Hindi-Urdu Film AMIT S. RAI What is the relationship between filmic representations of “difference” (caste, gender, religion, sex, region, nation, etc.) and the system of transformations that over the past twenty years has communalized everyday life in much of north India? As Kidwai points out in her contribution to this volume, secularism and fundamentalism in India have actually developed hand in hand over the past thirty years, blurring the once obvious lines demarcating their social fields. This blurring, Kidwai argues, has been accomplished through the figure of woman—the veiled Muslim woman has been both agent and palimpsest in an ongoing struggle to define secular India in the era of transnational fundamentalisms (both Hindu and Islamic). These definitions, so sacred to the seemingly secure identities of representatives of the fundament and the nation, have proliferated across heterogeneous populations through newly globalized media contagions (defined as capitalist technologies of image-sound-sensation and habituated practices of consumption). As is well known, the dawn of economic liberalization in India also saw the opening up of national(ist) broadcasting to transnational media conglomerates in the early 1990s. This historical conjuncture created a media ecology molded to the new consumerist ethos of the ascendant middle classes across India. Yet, as Öncü's contribution to this volume makes clear, popular media assemblages are ordered as contradictory sites where domination, opposition, and cultural creation coexist; moreover, as an assemblage of bodies, technologies, capital, and evolving social forces, globalized media is a multiplicity accreting in different spheres of daily life. Page 114 → Thus, as the Indian nation fragmented in terms of coherent economic planning, state control, and nationalist development, seemingly archaic identities, transnationalized and yet thoroughly chauvinist, were reinvented through these media contagions. It is in this context that we must situate the system of transformation of “secular” India's contemporary media assemblage. No doubt, film has for the past five decades formed a shifting “basin of attraction” for this media assemblage, and it is only in the past five to seven years that satellite television, video gaming, and FM radio have come to shift the media assemblage toward something more multicentered. Media in India is in the process of a definitive phase transition. This media phase transition (a process of re-assembling practices, new technologies, exhibition strategies, populations, and state policy) has established volatile feedback loops with the discursive and material struggles of (religious, sexual, caste) minorities in their efforts to redefine the very nature of secularism in India. The project of secularism in India can be related to what Öncü, in the Turkish context, has called “a totalizing enterprise,” in which all religious or communal thought and activity was centralized and monopolized under state auspices. In that sense, secularism in India is indistinguishable from the failed modernization of the postcolonial development state. The slogan so common among Hindu chauvinists in their interested definitions of the failed modernizing Indian state—pseudosecularism—has become a catchall for all the many and muddled critiques of the so-called favoritism toward minorities embedded in postcolonial “reservation” (in a North American context, affirmative action) policy. And yet the term is an apt, albeit over-general description of the history of minority representation in mainstream Hindi-Urdu cinema.1 The dominant Bombay film has most often reduced minority representations to what can be translated into countable slots of identity, and the form of that identity has always been predetermined by the nation's (upper-caste Hindu, male, heterosexual) citizen. It is that “mold” of the secular citizen (as Öncü notes) that fragmented definitively over the past decade. Something else—a qualitatively different assemblage—is now in the process of becoming the new dominant, and it is, as Alev Çinar argues, in the field of performances, appearances, images, and displays—that is, the contemporary public sphere—that this fraught negotiation is unfolding.

Yet Hindi-Urdu popular cinema in India is a hybrid industry: born of the collaborative energies of Parsis, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians, its aesthetic form (melodrama, social realism, “masala,” “art,” musical-music video), its political ideologies (secular, nationalist, cosmopolitan-capitalist, socialist, popular-religious), its collective mode of production, Page 115 → and its economic infrastructures (finance, production, distribution, and exhibition) are all deeply marked by the legacies and struggles of diverse communities fighting over the contexts and contours of film culture, as well as the profits of a vast industry. I argue that the recent representations of Muslim “outsiders”—terrorists, agents provocateurs, parasites, but now also lovers, collaborators, and potential comrades2—need to be situated within a broader understanding of the changing assemblage of media and filmic practices and technologies under liberalization (as economic policy) and globalization (as a much broader social phenomenon). If part of what has been transformed by these twin legacies in the past fifteen years is a certain conception of the secular citizen-consumer—indeed, as I will argue, the consumer has come to figure the very agency of the secular citizen—the analysis of minority representation must seek its conditions of possibility in the particular mode of assembling subjectivities and everyday practices with affective life, capitalist pleasure space (the Talkie-Multiplex), public policy, social segregation, and the temporalities of globalization. In the first section, I briefly chart this assemblage and its attendant lines of force across identities, spatiotemporalities, and communities. In the subsequent sections of the essay, I look closely at one filmic genre as it produces a discursive regularity that I will call terrorist monstrosity.

Communalism, Urban Space, and the Media Assemblage I begin with an anecdote from the field. My research into film culture in Bhopal for the past six years has focused on the rise and fall of Lily Talkies, one of the premiere “family”-oriented single-screen theaters in the city. Situated in a poor Muslim community exactly midpoint between the old gated Muslim City and the new administrative and largely Hindu capital, Lily has been at the center of many communal tensions over the past fifteen years (the BJP once touted Bhopal as the future capital of the coming Ramrajya, or Hindu Nation). During this period, as Hindu nationalist forces such as the Bajrang Dal and RSS have remapped the social geography of the city, film culture has become more and more associated with the dangers of communal/sexual violence; since all but three of Bhopal's twelve movie halls are in the old city, cinema-going has come to be seen as mostly a poor Muslim pastime. For those who can afford it, cable, satellite, VCDs, and VCRs have transformed viewing habits through the proliferation of piracy circuits. Given the ever-increasing immiseration of the Muslim underclass throughout India, singlescreen exhibition practice has segmented Page 116 → these audiences through B- and C-grade and “blue” films; in fact, the city administration recently ordered the closing of Lily Talkies for screening blue films. It was in this fast-changing context that Lily Talkies screened the Hindu nationalist superhit film Gadar in the summer of 2001. Set in partition-era Punjab, the movie is a romance about a Sikh truck driver and an aristocratic Muslim girl falling in love amid the chaos of partition riots. As one Muslim viewer put it, “Gadar is a sublimely annoying movie that might drive your senses towards insanity…. If you go by this movie, Pakistan should have never come into existence, Pakistanis are weird wacky Muslims, and that the state of India is all love and fun!”3 Not surprisingly, the Muslim community leaders in Bhopal agreed with this viewer (without having seen the film, however!). According to the Hindu owners of Lily, Muslim leaders “goaded” their male youths to protest the film, laying siege to the theater on opening day. Violence ensued, as clashes between Hindu counterprotestors, Muslim protestors, and the police apparatus escalated into a full-scale communal “riot”—a police constable lost his arm in the clashes. The regular constable for Lily then resorted to an unprecedented tactic: he roused the viewers milling in the courtyard to push back the protestors and counterprotestors, and reclaim the space of the theater. It worked briefly, until further police reinforcements could be called in to disperse the crowds, arrest the leaders, and impose martial law.

This example shows, I argue, that what is at stake in the politics of rep-resenting Muslims in Hindi film is not essentially a question of a film's diegesis or narrative but rather a question of how audiences are addressed and segmented through film culture and this culture's connections to the changing social geographies of postliberalization, post-Hindutva India. In that sense, we must situate the critique of minority representation as part of a much broader argument around the radical changes in what I call the media assemblage of globalizing India.4 For instance, given a yearly loss of over two lakh rupees, the owners of Lily Talkies have shifted their capital investment to a newly booming industry in Madhya Pradesh: DJ equipment retail, rentals, and training (the number of DJs grew from around four in 2000 to over sixty currently in Bhopal). Much of this equipment is used in upper-caste, upper-class DJ-baraats (bride-groom processions) for Hindu weddings, private parties, and social events. From the relative fixity of the audiovisual space of the theater, the projection of a moving and dynamic aural space has become a new strategy for redrawing the urban geography of the city. What this implies for social space in Bhopal has everything Page 117 → to do with how Muslims are represented in, and represent themselves in relation to, film culture. Thus, what has happened to the representations of Muslims in Hindi-Urdu films since the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 has to be seen as part of a much broader dynamic in the mediatization of social and private space in India. The globalizing aspirations of city elites (the over-whelming majority of whom are Hindu) has necessitated a redrawing of the social boundaries separating the “impressionable backward” rural elements5 and the “antisocials” (during 2004 panchayat elections, over 75,000 so-called antisocials were “preemptively” arrested throughout Madhya Pradesh) from the cosmopolitan elites; this redrawing of the social has been enabled by the proliferation of (often pirated) audiovisual technologies used to secure gendered media-pleasure in the middle-class home (still very much the space of woman). As the cassette cultures of VCRs give way to the digital infomatics of VCDs, satellite, and Internet, new articulations of the domestic pleasures of film, music videos, and TV serials have created new scope for the massive penetration of media piracy infrastructures.6 One of the largest producers of pirated Bollywood optical disks is of course Karachi.7 Importantly, there are specific imagistic regimes8 that accompany and yet interpenetrate each segmented social space in north India. How is this articulation of imagistic regime and segmented social space accomplished? It is here that film exhibition space must be seen as a multiple imagistic-control technology.9 First (but not necessarily most important), the talkie is the site for the actual projection of submarket specific narratives: in C-grade theaters the antilegendary Dharmendra, star of one of the most popular Hindi-Urdu films in Bollywood history, Sholay (1976)—regales the mostly single male audience with recycled dialogue—“Maa! Maa!” (Mother!)—in rape-revenge fantasies set in rural India. Interpolated into these screenings are one-to-two-minute “bits,” that is, Western-produced porn often focused on violent sex between a black man and a white woman. Second, theater exhibition space is the site of the habituated performance of social segregation: lower classcaste, stall seats, balcony seats; female versus male ticket lines; the requisite lathi-charge (crowd-controlling baton-charge) on first-day/first-show for potential superhits, and so on. The ticket window clerk, gatekeeper (ticket collector), the usher, the black-market ticket seller, and the constable form a more or less tight assemblage of surveillance, patronage, and discipline. It is preeminently a cash economy. Third, the actual or counterfeit technologies at play in the exhibition space themselves project a certain image: the use of audio Dolby technologies Page 118 → in minor metros (B-grade cities, in common parlance) like Bhopal translates into the prominent display of the Dolby logo rather than the actual technology in many theaters throughout the Muslim-dominated old city. The variety of concession stands inside and outside the theater, quality of seats, cleanliness of bathrooms, “air-cooled” theaters (currently no theaters in Bhopal have actual air conditioning), and the demographics of the surrounding neighborhoods all combine to project specific images for each talkie. The more cosmopolitan-oriented the theater the more A-grade films, the more consumer enticements the more “orderly” the surrounding neighborhoods (less chance of riots), the more up-to-date the technologies the more privileged the audience. These are all positive correlations, with their own historical resonances (which is another way to define a media contagion), which index not merely a change in intensity toward the globally “more” but an actual change in kind, a differentiation in the very nature of the bodily disciplines and affects of exhibition practices.

More and more, the quality and quantity of services as well as the quality of the theater space has deteriorated in the Muslim sections of Bhopal. In other words, there has been a realignment, if not an actual rupture, between imagistic regimes and exhibition spaces between the Hindu-dominated new city and the old city. This has translated into a kind of social segregation not only of exhibition spaces but also of every aspect of social space itself along communal (i.e., religious) lines. In conversation after conversation I had with both Muslims and Hindus in Bhopal (over a period of two years), I was struck by the increasing delimitation of social spaces where something like an actual nonantagonistic interaction between the two communities was possible. In practical terms, this suggests that the assemblage between the public sphere and film exhibition, which was a central part of political and social life in postindependence India, has been utterly vitiated by communal affects.

On Communal Imagistic Regimes In Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Mission Kashmir (2000), we are witness to a scene beyond the borders of the nation, where a play of shadows mimes the secret negotiation of political-economic interests and religious sentiment. Hilal Kohistani (Jackie Shroff), an Afghan militant famed for his resistance to Russian colonialism, accepts a new mission from his Pakistani and Saudi backers; withdrawn in the shadows is the immobile silhouette of a turbaned man who commits $20 million for the entire operation. Page 119 → MILITANT:

They say that in Afghanistan the Russians used to fleetheir tanks at hearing your name.


Leave names. Talk of work.


Mission Kashmir. This work …


Will be done. Price?

Don't worry about money. Complete the mission and we'll pay you any price you want. Since 1947, all the attacks on India have been governmentorganized. We owe allegiance to no government. We are a free group, and we are soldiers for freedom. There are more Muslims in India than Pakistan. After our mission they too will join our jihad. And our unknown group will become the most illustrious. We will have the most illustrious name among all the world's mujahideen. In 1971, India changed the map of Asia. Now, we will change the shape of India. For every great goal, a great sacrifice is necessary. And the reward is also very great, God willing. M:


Ten million. Dollar.


Twenty million. To give money for jihad is as virtuous as giving alms. But even the name of this mission can't go

beyond these walls. K:

Secrets buried in a Pathan's heart don't emerge even on Judgment Day. You take care of your own people.


We have organized the arms and ammunition aspect. TV camera, tapes and technical support will be provided as needed. If you need anything else …


A man who isn't afraid of death. Who so despises his own existence that I can fire him like a missile to destroy the target and himself.


A man like that …?


I have such a man … Altaaf.


Where is your Altaaf now?


Crossing into Hindustan.

The film cuts to a scene of dense forests and picturesque mountains, across which moves inexorably a lone figure, Altaaf, making his way into Hindustan, like an infection moving through the body politic. The metaphor of an infection attacking the otherwise secure social body is of course quite common in the discourse on terrorism.10 In India, these metaphors translate into concrete practices of purifying the nation of all anomalies or inconsistencies: the Indian citizen and the Muslim subject are locked in a Page 120 → violent embrace of normalization that seeks to suture the Other (the Muslim) to the project of Indian nationalism. In Mission Kashmir, Altaaf is that element of infection; his character poses a challenge to fantasies of immunity, which animate contemporary discourses of Indian nationalism. The remainder of this essay traces the representation of the Islamic terrorist in three popular Hindi-Urdu films: Sarfarosh (“Self-Sacrifice,” 1999; dir. John Mathew Matthan), Fiza (“Air,” 2000; dir. Khalid Mohamed), and Mission Kashmir (2000, Vidhu Vinod Chopra). These films are part of what one critic has recently called the renewed “cinepatriotism”11 of Bollywood: a set of films, indeed a genre now, that seeks to represent, visualize, and narrativize the sovereignty of the supposedly secular, but in practice upper-caste, Hindu Indian nation. As such, they have both critiqued and fueled the ongoing tensions between Hindus and Muslims that mark India's post-coloniality. These tensions have been punctuated by murderous clashes between Hindu nationalist forces and Muslim communities,12 which accompany the sometimes low-intensity, sometimes guerrilla, sometimes open war between India and Pakistan over the northern state of Kashmir. Set against this social and political backdrop, the new wave of cinepatriotism emerging from Bollywood is especially important because its narratives intervene in the debates around Muslim identity and Indian nationalism by rearticulating a kind of secular national subject. In this essay, I draw together a group of recent Hindi-Urdu films that both activate and refuse Hindu nationalism in particular ways. First, I link the melodramatic form of Bombay cinema to the romance of the (Hinduized) national family. I then tie the representation of the Muslim terrorist to the construction of the abnormal monster in contemporary discourses of counterterrorism both in the West and in India. This monstrous figure serves to legitimate strategies of normalization through the performance of the proper minority subject, and through the figuration of “nationalized” women. These films show the many strategies—complex and contradictory—at work in contemporary Hindi-Urdu films aimed to manage that infection known today in Hindu India as the Muslim “Other.”

Melodrama and the National Family Hindu nationalism is a communal discourse that seeks to integrate a historical memory of trauma into a purified space of the Hinduized nation. Its hegemonic project seeks to narrow the field of cultural representations of difference to a battleground where all non-Hindu communities must repeatedly Page 121 → perform their

allegiance to the nation. As Neera Chandhoke notes, the current debate around secularism in India has been sparked off by two explosive political trends: first, the recurrence of communal riots between the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority; and second, the rise and consolidation of what has been referred to as majority fundamentalism or hindutva.13 Historically, Hindi-Urdu cinema has had a complex relationship with these Hindu images and themes. From the very first Hindu “mythological” Rajah Harishchandra (1913), the project of Bombay cinema has been to access the visual styles of popular religiosity (e.g., vernacular Hinduism and calendar art) while constructing an inclusive nationalist mode of address seeking to bridge religious, regional, linguistic, caste, and class differences. The recent spate of cinepatriotism rearticulates, expands, and shifts this historical legacy. Contemporary representations of Muslims in Hindi-Urdu films position specific cultural and religious identities as both necessary and intolerable to the security of the Indian nation. The figures of the radically alienated Muslim, juxtaposed with the patriotic Muslim and Christian citizen, and the dominant, often unmarked Hindu show how difference is crucial to the stability of the Indian nation—but not excessive difference: the militant Muslim is the figure of an intolerable difference. Tying the question of community identity to broader economic processes, Arvind Rajagopal has recently argued that negotiating the tensions between national allegiance and other, more local forms of identity becomes increasingly important with the progress of globalization.14 These tensions stem from the resilience of community as a locus of affiliation, one that resists the homogenizing impetus of capital by acting as a site of historic memory and a resource of alternative futures. As Rajagopal states, “The kinds of rights asserted here are distinct from the chiefly individual character of the rights sought [after] and contested in western society. Classical liberal theory is unable to recognize communities as political actors … rendering it incapable of coming to terms with the kinds of developments witnessed in the contemporary world.”15 It is in this at once communalized and globalizing context16 that I would situate the construction of Muslim militant identity in Hindi-Urdu films—an identity simultaneously inside and outside the Indian nation. In Hindi-Urdu films, hindutva takes the form of a postsecular nationalism, one that produces irreducible differences through melodramatic narratives of authentic belonging to the national family. As we shall see, the patriarchal family is still quite literally the model for the nation.17 Moreover, the family provides a template for citizenship as well, through which minority subjectivity, Page 122 → once differentiated, normalized, and marked off from the Muslim terrorist, is repatriated into the national family.18 The heterosexual, usually extended Hindu family is the norm and telos of these narratives, in which a reconstituted family structure sutures the trauma of monstrosity, the trauma, that is, of a certain history. The suture here works in two ways. First, the traumatic history of partition is imaginarily resolved through a romanticized notion of the national family. And second, the anxiety caused by the political demands of India's heterogeneous minorities (not only Muslims but also non-upper-caste Hindus) is managed by this image of an organic national community. Not surprisingly, this sense of belonging to a national family is also an occasion to position women as both supplementary to the violent struggle between opposed masculine forces and central to their eventual normalization in domesticity. As Geeta Kapur suggests, national narratives have to engage with the anxious problematic of identity “wherein what is insecure is mapped on to the female body: the body posed for unabashed viewing outside the margins of history but inside a national pictorial schema.”19 Extending and transforming an older nationalist imaginary around the figure of woman—for instance, in the classic Mother India (1957)—these films position femininity ambiguously between the sacred space of the home and the contamination of the world, while heterosexualizing this zone of ambiguity through a fetishistic male gaze.20 This space of ambiguity forms a kind of stage where Muslim women enact their patriotic duty: as “good” domesticated citizens, they are agents of normalization who draw the wayward Muslim male back into the national fold. In the films I discuss below, this ideologically constructed aesthetic is manipulated in specific ways through the use of melodrama. We should keep in mind some

recent work that has sought to tie melodrama to an analysis of trauma and history. For instance, E. Ann Kaplan has argued that as a Western genre “occupying the space between history and the unconscious, melodrama offers an imaginary focused on the private sphere of the family—where traumas are secret, hidden—yet an arena structured by male power in the public sphere.”21 This necessary bridging of the private/public divide through melodrama can also usefully be thought of as a symptom of what Kaplan calls “cultural trauma.” In the Hindi-Urdu films that I consider here, the “impact of an overwhelming event” (both psychic and historical), which cannot be absorbed and is therefore split off, becomes repeated and resolved through narratives that ensure “closure and cure at the film's end.”22 Sometimes this trauma takes the form of a specific violent act in the film, but always there is an oblique reference to the founding trauma Page 123 → of the Indian nation: the partition of 1947, where millions of people died in communal rioting. It is in repetition that trauma is specifically activated and managed. According to Kaplan, “The repetition of certain stories may betray a traumatic cultural symptom, while the mode's adherence to realism, and thus to closure, seals over the traumatic ruptures and breaks that the culture endured. The style reassures the viewer, who leaves the cinema believing she is safe and that all is well in her world.”23 Of course, the “certain story” that gets repeated in these Hindi-Urdu films is a repetition in multiple forms of the partition narrative—a sudden loss, an end to speech, a death, a murder. In the three films that I consider here, a historical trauma tears apart a family. In Fiza, the loss of a son during the 1993 riots provokes his sister's search for the truth of those events. In Mission Kashmir, the death of a Hindu child and the murder of a Muslim family are unequally balanced on a scale of justice that is questioned again and again. In Sarfarosh, the murder of a brother and the maiming of the father by terrorists give force to the national sacrifice of the main character. The force of these traumas is then dispersed throughout the narrative in specific ways and with specific effects. Moreover, the specific events in the filmic narrative make oblique reference to and hence keep alive the memory of partition. At the same time, this repetition disrupts the linear progression of these stories, problematizing the narrative structure. The experience of trauma is organized through paralysis, repetition, and circularity. For this reason, the “struggle to figure trauma's effects cinematically leads to means other than linearity or story: fragments, hallucinations, flashbacks are the modes trauma cinema characteristically adopts.”24 There are, however, examples that test the limits of this theory of trauma and melodrama. Certainly all three films utilize memory, flashback, and narration. They repeat again and again the loss that animates both the central characters and the story itself. Indeed, in keeping with the fragmentary nature of Hindi-Urdu film aesthetics, this trauma serves to interrupt repeatedly the narrative flow. However, unlike the typical Bollywood use of flashbacks, the cinepatriotic film reactivates the trauma in order to forge a link with a socially real history that must be reimagined so that the future can be transformed.

Cinematic Depictions of Trauma Through flashbacks, dreams, and spliced images,25 an individualized memory—and by extension the fragmented narrative itself—becomes a negotiation Page 124 → between the subject, the Muslim Other, and the trauma of history. The pain of communal, militant, or state violence is worked through, reiterating and shifting the meaning of the trauma through each repetition, moving finally toward possible narrative closures. In Fiza,26 the closely connected lives of a lower middle-class Muslim family are torn apart by the communal riots that devastated Mumbai (Bombay) in 1993.27 Widow Nishatbi Ikramullah (Jaya Bachchan) and her daughter Fiza (Karishma Kapoor) witness a Hindu mob attack the son Amaan (Hrithik Roshan) and murder his friends. In the narrative, the memory of the communal riots returns explicitly at least three times: in Fiza's initial narration, in Inspector Shingle's recounting, and then in Amaan's final explanation. It is through Amaan's narrative that we learn how he survived the riots by killing three men, and how he found what Saskia Sassen has called an “alternative circuit of survival”28 by joining an Islamic jihad. Amaan is recruited by Murad Khan (Manoj Bajpayee), the leader of the militant group struggling against, he claims, both Hindu and Muslim “tyranny, injustice, and hatred.” Khan teaches Amaan that far from a life of dignity, a dignified death is not even possible under the current system. The last retelling,

filling in the little mysteries of Amaan's flight and Fiza's search, does not serve to suture the narrative but opens the story to the new traumas that will be visited on the Ikramullah family as Amaan turns more and more to terrorist activities. About the Mumbai riots, Amaan says to Fiza, “Everyone knew what was happening in that city, which everyone calls the most modern. How people were being massacred, how in the name of TADA [Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act] women and old people were being molested and harassed.” It is as if the horror of the event expands each time, until finally we understand that although still living, Amaan is in some fundamental way already dead. As he says in his final speech, just before he asks his sister to shoot him, “I died a long time ago on the streets of Mumbai.” Amaan is a subject haunted by his own ghost. Trauma sets up the central problem that will be resolved through narrative, a resolution that reconstitutes the nation in the figure of the individualized and domesticated protagonist. In the climax of Fiza, we can see this resolution and reconstitution taking shape through the charged dialogue between brother and sister, Amaan and Fiza. Murad Khan, the leader of the jihad, decides that two Hindu and Muslim political leaders (Singh and Syed) who try to suppress inquiry into the riots must be killed in order to prevent a Muslim-supported, Hindu-dominated coalition government. Khan chooses Amaan for the mission. Amaan trains his body and then kills the two leaders. But Murad Khan never intended that he survive: as chaos Page 125 → once again engulfs Mumbai, Khan orders his men to kill Amaan. Instead, Amaam kills them. In the last scene of the film, with the police chasing him, Fiza confronts her brother. FIZA:

So much hatred, Amaan? Forget all this. There is still time.


This is not hatred. It is a voice raised against hatred. They call those who die fighting in jihad martyrs [shaheed].29

Jihad means a fight for truth, and the truth is that we are of this country and will remain part of it. Where is it written in the Koran that to win your point you must spill blood? What kind of warrior [mujahid] are you that you can't accept this fact? Right yourself, Amaan. Accept it. Look, only what is right will prevail. F:

What is right, sis? What happened to me six years ago, was that right? Are these Singh and Syed people right? If they wanted to, they could fix all this. But they don't do that, sis. They have power, but with that power they pit us against each other. Separate us from each other so they can retain their own seats of power. If such people are right then I have done no wrong. I am pure [pak]. I didn't take up this rifle as a hobby. It just came to me through a line of fate in my hand. A:

As the police take their position against Amaan, he begs his sister to shoot him, saying, “I died a long time ago on the streets of Mumbai. Let me die with honor.” Fiza pulls the trigger. In this complex and heartrending climax, Fiza stands for the assimilated Muslim and Amaan for that trajectory beyond the pale of normality. In their dialogue, honor can be taken ironically to mean both living by the duties of the proper minority citizen and dying with the cry of those who will never be allowed into the nation. Similarly, in Mission Kashmir, the drama centers on the possibility of Muslims being included in the nation. Inspector of Police Inayat Khan (Sanjay Dutt) seeks vengeance for the death of his son, who died due to circumstances arising from a fatwa issued by Islamic militants. Marshalling his police force, he dons the black mask of the militants and lets loose a hail of bullets that not only kill the militants but an innocent Muslim family as well. This killing, reminiscent of so much police repression and outright assassination of innocent Muslim people, forms the trauma that will return and expand through the narrative. The only survivor of Khan's

killing spree is a twelve-year-old boy, Altaaf, who before fainting from terror glimpses Khan's eyes behind the mask. Altaaf's nightmares keep the past Page 126 → present, as if Khan's eyes were keeping watch over a memory that can only be presented through fragments and repetition. Trauma gives birth to a character who conflates the present with the past. In one nightmare, Altaaf (now the grown up Hrithik Roshan) blurs the object of his desire, his childhood sweetheart Sufi (Preity Zinta), with the memory of his foster mother, Neelima. In this scene, a dream sequence of the adult Altaaf, a certain struggle over Islam is at stake. ALTAAF: SUFI:

Why did you hang up on me, Sufi?

I don't want to speak with you.


And so you put a picture of me on TV to get me killed?


What of all the people you've killed?

Sufi, why don't you understand? I'm doing all this for my religion. A:


I'm a Muslim, too. Islam doesn't permit the murder of innocent people. You're only taking revenge for your parents' death, Altaaf.

[As she walks away, he screams her name, demanding she stop; finally, he shoots her. When he turns her body over, he finds it is Neelima Khan.] In this dream sequence, the loss of Altaaf's childhood love Sufi not only blurs with a subliminal desire for his foster mother but also foreshadows the moment when Altaaf accidentally kills Neelima. In a plot to avenge the murder of his family, Altaaf plants a bomb to destroy Inspector Khan, but it kills Neelima instead. Here, as in other cinepatriotic films, the memory of trauma functions to link the subject beyond the law of the nation to the sentimentalized ties of kinship, and then to rupture those very ties through the fragmentation of narrative. Inspector Khan and his police force track down the Afghan mujahid, Hilal Kohistani, just in time to discover the real meaning of Mission Kashmir. The militants plan to blow up Hazratbul masjid30 and the Shankaracharya temple,31 and a preproduced videotape will fix the blame on Hindu soldiers with the ultimate aim of inciting communal riots throughout India. In the climactic fight scene, Inspector Khan, the man who killed Altaaf's family, convinces Altaaf of the sinister plan. Altaaf remembers his foster mother's words of love. She had said, “In reality, this war is not between you and Khansaab. On one side is love [mohabbat], on the other side hatred [nafrat]. On one side is compassion [insaniyat], on the other side brutality. Between innocence and guilt, good and evil, and humanity [insaniyat] and bestiality [haivaniat]. What will remain of Kashmir— Page 127 → this is what you, only you have to decide. So think very carefully before firing that gun, Alaaf.” As if suddenly humanized, Altaaf shoots Kohistani and foils the terrorist plot. The movie ends with Altaaf, Inspector Khan (who now serves as his reclaimed foster parent), and Sufi reunited and at home. Thus, the trauma that haunted Altaaf is displaced and resolved through the elimination of Kohistani and the integration of a chastened, repatriated Altaaf into a new family structure. We must note the specific role of women, domesticity, and humanization through memory and flashback that marks this genre of Hindi-Urdu film. In a crucial sense, without the figure of Sufi and the memory of Neelima, Altaaf would be lost to the forces of evil. In our third film, Sarfarosh, we find a similar problem and an analogous resolution. The narrative is launched through a trauma of familial violence. The patriarch of an extended Hindu family, on his way to give evidence against atankvadis or “terrorists,” is abducted, and the older son is killed. Ajay, the younger son, witnesses it

all. The father is tortured and then returned to the family, incapacitated for life. The complex narrative follows Ajay as he joins the Indian Police Service bureaucracy and goes on to become a feared officer who tortures suspected criminals. Finally, we see Ajay avenge the death of his brother and the maiming of his father by displacing the trauma onto the doomed terrorist Gulfam Hasan, a Pakistani agent posing as an entertainer, who smuggles arms into India trying to foment insurrection. The movie ends with Ajay promising his college sweet-heart, Seema, that he'll be home for dinner as soon as he apprehends another insurgent criminal with his Muslim subaltern sidekick, Salim. All these narratives resolve the individualized memory of collective trauma in terms of the success (Ajay and Salim in Sarfarosh, Inspector Khan and Altaaf in Mission Kashmir) or failure (Amaan in Fiza) of reintegrating the liminal subject into the national family (where the family stands in for the nation).

Monstrosity and Terrorism As if a breach or gap had opened in the national imaginary, trauma allows for the emergence of a monster, fully formed and “incorrigible,” one whose implacable cruelty will be pitted against all the forces of humanity and justice that the state represents. I should immediately state that monstrosity is not a category through which viewers I have talked with in India or in the diaspora experience Hindi-Urdu films. The interviews I have Page 128 → conducted with viewers both in India and in America on the question of filmic representations of religious difference in Hindi-Urdu films focused mostly on how specific films enabled the stars to showcase their talents, or how these narratives positioned difference and its relation to broader constructions of Indian citizenship. So I make no claim to any ethnographic verity. Rather, my interest in the question of monstrosity focuses on the experience of an event as a reversal or displacement of power relations. By this I mean two things. First, the appearance of the monster realigns all the relations of power in a given narrative such that inhumanity and brutality become his essential characteristics. Second, the figure of the monster renders transparent the relations of power between dominant (in this case Hindu and nationalist) groups and minorities (Muslims). In this section, I draw certain connections between monstrosity and the modern construction of the terrorist as an enemy of the state. This will allow me to show in the next section how the filmic text is bound up in certain strategies of normalizing power through narrative space and narrative fragmentation. Specifically, I wish to understand monstrosity as a way in which historical trauma is remembered, repressed, or even quarantined. In what way has monstrosity come to organize the present discourse on terrorism? To answer this, we can merely glance at the language used by the dominant media in its depictions of Islamic militancy. As an article in the New York Times points out, “Osama bin Laden, according to Fox News Channel anchors, analysts, and correspondents, is ‘a dirtbag,' ‘a monster' overseeing a ‘web of hate.' His followers in Al Qaeda are ‘terror goons.' Taliban fighters are ‘diabolical' and ‘henchmen.'”32 In these invocations of the terrorist as monster, an absolute morality separates good from a “shadowy evil.” As if caught up in its own shadow dance with the antiWestern rhetoric of radical Islam, this discourse marks off a figure like Osama bin Laden, or a government like the Taliban, as the opposite of all that is just, human, and good. The terrorist monster is pure evil, and must be destroyed, according to this view. Here we can begin to chart a complex genealogy of the modern terrorist in Indian and Western media. The figure of the abnormal33 terrorist ties together the American government's ongoing War against Terrorism and the Indian government's attempts to neutralize Islamic fundamentalism. Indeed, as I (along with Jasbir Puar) have argued elsewhere,34 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, national strategy planning in India and the United States has converged on the dominant theme of “homeland security.” In India's scramble to take up its “frontline role” in the War against Terrorism, in its frank ambition to become a “global Page 129 → power,” much more is at stake than righteous posturing against Pakistan. The somehow always failed ambition of securing the nation from both internal and external threats has led to some signal innovations in India and the United States. With a newly shared rhetoric constellated around such bogeys as “jihadi

terrorism,” the internal Muslim “threat,” and cross-border infiltration, there has been an increasing cooperation of counterinsurgency military and intelligence resources. To illustrate this rhetoric, consider the government response to the December 2001 attacks on the Indian Parliament. According to opinions ranging from the Right to the Left, “Revenge is the only compensation for this attack” (the title of a web-based forum with leading Indian politicians regarding the attacks).35 From the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party's Right, Shiv Sena's Bal Thackeray declared, “Does the government have the ability to take revenge? Whether it is Pakistan, Taliban, or the ISI [Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence]: they shouldn't have the guts to attack us again.” Or, from the center, Congress party politician MLA, Salman Khursheed argued for simply more restraint: “We have to tell the US that Afghanistan is no longer a priority. Now they've to tell us what they intend to do about cross-border terrorism…. This is not like the US where an exclusively external threat affected their interests. Here, an external threat is trying to ride on the discontent of our own young people.” Or, from the Hindu nationalist BJP party, Arun Jaitley remarked, “It's clear that we need to dramatically strengthen our intelligence network. The time has also come for our security forces to send a chilling message to the terrorists and those who harbour them.” In these responses, the “terrorist” functions (1) to position India geopolitically with the West and the ongoing War on Terrorism; (2) to cohere India by isolating internal enemies (disaffected Muslims, especially youth) who are allegedly supported by external enemies (Pakistan); (3) to resituate tactical knowledge or “intelligence” as key intellectual capital that must be accumulated and exploited; (4) to call for a “chilling” military response. What I am suggesting is that the construction of the Islamic terrorist as monstrous Other in fact enables the elaboration of a normative Hindu identity. In specific ways, the cinepatriotism of contemporary Hindi-Urdu films portrays the terrorist monster through a normalizing narrative aesthetic involving the repeated spectacles of familial trauma. With varying degrees of psychological complexity, Hilal Kohistani in Mission Kashmir, Murad Khan in Fiza, and Gulfam Hasan in Sarfarosh36 emerge as figures of violence, betrayal, inhumanity, bestiality, irrationality, deracination, and irresponsibility. Page 130 → However, what is also important about these Hindi-Urdu films is that they show the forces of justice and humanity already blurring into the violence of injustice and inhumanity. Indeed, both Inayat Khan, the Muslim inspector general of police in Mission Kashmir, and Ajay Rathod, the assistant commissioner of police in Sarfarosh, resort directly to tactics that would otherwise be called terrorist, while Inspector Shingle in Fiza could rightly be said to embody the stereotype of the corrupt and communal cop. The state thus matches its terrorist double in terms of brutal violence. In that sense we can see that violence is not what separates the state from its Other: the means are the same, but the ends (national unity vs. fundamentalist fragmentation) differ. For instance, in Sarfarosh, we see the routine brutality and corruption that mark Ajay's ascent into police stardom. Moreover, in Mission Kashmir, two sequences show an enraged Inspector Khan who resorts to outright assassination after the loss of family members—first his son and then his wife. In Fiza, however, the critique of the state and the critique of Islamic militancy are tied together in far more explicit ways. Thus, the opportunistic betrayals of elite leaders such as Singh and Syed only mirror the tactics of Murad Khan, the militant leader who draws Amaan into terrorism. Meanwhile corruption, communalism, or simple incompetence implicates Inspector Shingle and the Mumbai police in a kind of self-interested passivity. In this example, we can see how even as the monster is severely marginalized, Shingle and Khan present equally moribund options for both Amaan and Fiza.

Performing Identity

Through the process of isolating and eliminating the terrorist monster from the national imaginary, the normalized Muslim citizen performs her identity-in-difference as her duty to the national family. In all three films, we see the emergence of something like the normalized minority subject who speaks her belonging to the nation. Historical trauma, then, not only gives birth to the monstrous terrorist, it also enables the narrative to repeatedly question who can legitimately represent the nation and the community. What is at stake for these narratives is to wrest the language of jihad (struggle, or war), shaheed (martyr, one who sacrifices life for community or nation), kaum (community), and muhajid (soldier for Islam) away from militant Islam, thereby contesting the militant's claim of standing for the community. This strategy is coupled with the insistence that the Page 131 → Indian nation is a plural, necessarily heterogeneous space. By insisting on the pluralistic composition of India, contemporary cinema is in keeping with a long history of Muslim representation in Hindi-Urdu films. However, the sign of a historical shift is precisely in the fraught and contested discourse around jihad. The ideological work of cinepatriotic films is not merely to assert Muslims and Hindus are one family like the Congress Party's tired claim of Hindu-Muslim bhaibhai (brother-brother). Specifically in Sarfarosh, we find an example of the Muslim subject who must convince his peers of his allegiance to the nation. Salim is the Muslim officer who once trained Ajay Rathod at the academy but is now made to serve under him. Through an extensive information network, Salim is able to get tactical information that no one else on the force can. And yet the police commissioner takes Salim off a crucial case, claiming, “The whole department is saying that he let [a Muslim criminal] go because he himself is a Muslim.” In the confrontations that follow, Ajay and Salim together probe the nature of belonging to the nation. Repeatedly layering the questions of religious difference and class (Salim is poor and resents Ajay's middle-class wealth) and social inequality (as an Indian police services officer, Ajay is a member of India's bureaucratic elite), the narrative exposes the complexities of social antagonisms. There are a series of confrontations between Salim and Ajay in which the very possibility of Muslim Indian citizenship and subjectivity is fought over and contested. It is resolved, finally, as both accept each other's role in fighting the enemies of the nation. Salim is able to gather crucial tactical information that leads to a breakthrough in the case. Having given his information, Salim walks away. AJAY:

Wait Salim. I need you.


What do you want now? … Go save your country, your home. What do you need me for?


I need you. To save this home I don't need one I need ten Salims.


Not ten, Sir. You'll find ten thousand if you trust in us. Don't ever tell another Muslim that this country is not his home [walks away crying].


[walks over to him as his men look on] I won't say it. Never again.

They embrace amid a crescendo of sentimental music. Salim is reintegrated into the national family through this sequence, such that when the Page 132 → criminals try to get him on their side by appealing to his Muslim identity, he questions the genuineness of their faith and labels them traitors to the nation. We see here the complicity, if not paradox, that marks this representational strategy: a protest against discrimination translates into an assertion of inclusion in the national family. Similarly, in a scene from Mission Kashmir, the commissioner of police, worried over the impending official visit of the prime minister of India to Kashmir, asks Inspector Khan to step down from his post because he is Muslim. Khan refuses. COMMISSIONER:

Look, Khan-saab, one Indian PM [prime minister] was killed by her own security guards in the name of religion. Under the

circumstances, I don't consider it appropriate to entrust the security of the PM to you. Mr. Deshpande, this is not only the misfortune of Muslims, but rather of the whole country, that an officer who has dodged bullets for 21 years must repeatedly give proof of his loyalty [vafadari] because his name is not Deshpande but Inayat Khan. Look, Mr. Deshpande, my blood is in the Kashmiri soil. My nine-year-old son is buried in it. My love for this country needs no IAS [Indian Civil Service] certificate. I am this state's IG [inspector general of police], and until you dismiss me, the responsibility for the PM's security will be mine. KHAN:

We see through these scenes the construction of a mixed discourse where the struggle for equality and representation in the nation paradoxically produces normalized subjects and narrows the space of dissent that such minority subjects can occupy.37 In that sense, the liberalism of this filmic discourse belies a deeper monologic structure that is tied to the figuration of the essentially Hindu nation in hindutva discourses. This connection is oblique but, as I have been arguing, one can chart the relays between hindutva discourses and these films in both the structure of the narrative and the representations of the Muslim Other.

The Female Subject All three films discussed here tie the iconic38 body of woman and the female subject to tradition, culture, and family, on the one hand, and education, social mobility, and the secular, modernizing, Westernized public Page 133 → sphere on the other. As modern citizens of the nation, women serve as a foil for the Islamic terrorist. For instance, Sufi Pervez, Altaaf's childhood sweetheart in Mission Kashmir, grows up to be a newscaster on a local TV channel. She is the modern, liberal-educated Kashmiri Muslim woman who functions as a foil for Altaaf's extremism. She provides him with a nontraumatic mooring to his past and, through their romance, to another future.39 Thus, the normative woman appears to be that good Hindu or Muslim woman who offers to the wayward Muslim a secure mooring to the nation, family, romance, and idealized memory. Fiza disrupts the normative representation of women in these Hindi-Urdu films in many respects.40 She refuses to be rescued by her lover, insists that her voice be heard, and displays resolve to work outside the family. As the familiar modern, college-educated subject, Fiza serves as the norm against which Amaan's transgressions are weighed. Through her search for her wayward brother in the deserts of Rajasthan, she moors Amaan to a family, a genealogy, and the affective ties of community and responsibility. Thus, oddly, the independent-minded Fiza is the one who says to Amaan, “Do you know what they call a man who leaves two helpless women? A coward.” This is the same Fiza who says publicly that, as women, “we are not helpless.” In other words, Fiza, depicted as both an independent and helpless woman,41 provides the narrative foil for Amaan while at the same time presenting masculinity with its traditional and also always anxious object of patronage and benevolence. The representation of women also includes the typical objectification of women in romantic segments and dance sequences, constituting a temporary focal point for a normative male heterosexual gaze. In Sarfarosh, the good Hindu girl, Seema, sports miniskirts and bathing suits, and lives the good life as one of India's modernizing postcolonial elite. As a well-disciplined college graduate she can easily negotiate, translate, and move between the different cultures of India. She can also provide Ajay (and the implicit male viewer) with both romantic diversion and heterosexual security.42 Indeed, the heterosexual family finally provides the justification for national security and also functions to secure gender identity, and to stabilize (by idealizing) the memory of home and family in these narratives. But, of course, these three heroines do not exhaust the role of women in these films, nor the commodification of the feminized bodies. As I have suggested above, in keeping with the genre of Bollywood melodramas, it is specifically the iconic bodies of women that are used to manage the anxieties of the modernizing nation. In

specific fantasy musical sequences, through the objectifying cabaret songs, women's bodies are frequently displayed. Page 134 → This produces an overall discursive regularity that ties women and heterosexuality to fantasy, humanity, and the nation. On the face of it, of course, it might seem that humanity and objectifying fantasies might be in contradiction with each other and the construction of the nation. As I see it, this seeming contradiction provides a discursive regularity. Women offer the heroes of these films with the possibility of sexual fulfillment, hence securing reproductive heterosexuality and, by extension, the family—as with the example of Seema. This secure heterosexuality is what calls the liminal Muslim back from the edge of ruinous, monstrous violence into the folds of domesticity—as when Sufi foils Kohistani's plans for Altaaf. Finally, the modernizing Muslim woman, who serves as the object, target, and instrument for the nation, becomes the idealized image through which a normalized minority is reintegrated into the folds of the nation—Fiza for Amaan. In this last case, we see a kind of failure of the suturing that structures the other two films. In the end it is Fiza who, having pulled the trigger on her brother Amaam, is left standing without family or support. Alone, she will carry on the struggle for and as an Indian Muslim. Thus far, I have tried to map a certain narrative structure that ties historical trauma to melodrama in narratives of national belonging. My sense is that these narratives provide the occasion to reconsider the relationship between history and Hindi-Urdu films more generally, and the relationship between Muslim identity and cultural representation more specifically. Clearly, my analysis of the terrorist monster also has wider implications for the manipulation of dominant media around the world, especially after 9/11.43 Nevertheless, it is important to study media in its specific cultural and political context. Only through such analysis can we grasp the contextual strategies of resistance available through and beyond their mode of address. As I have suggested above, perhaps it is in representing the specific kinds of discrimination used against Muslims at so many levels in India that all three of these movies seem to be at their most disruptive and effective. I conclude with a question: How do cinepatriotic narratives render violence at once antinational and legitimate? We can see that the monstrous terrorist is that subject who uses any means, violent or otherwise, to secure his goals. Arrayed in decided opposition to these violent forces is the legitimate violence of the state, as well as the legitimacy of normalized citizens. As such, these narratives perform both the fetishization of this legitimacy and its undermining. This fetish of the state seems to forge a strategic alliance with the filmic construction of woman and thus is able to function through a cluster of signs, discourses, practices, and subjectivities that form Page 135 → the knot of postsecular nationalism that I have outlined here. Specifically, this knot ties the state to insaniyat, ghar, parivaar, aur mohabbat—humanity, home, family, and love. At the same time, in highlighting the antagonisms and traumas that haunt the state's exercise of power, the legitimacy of that very exercise is brought to crisis. For what is the basis of the Indian state's legitimacy when grotesque abuses of its coercive apparatuses are central to its everyday operations? The state represents all that is good and just but must resort to all that is evil and unjust to secure itself—that is, to terrorist tactics. The state of exception is produced in and through the performance of the nation. What, finally, would it mean to think the postcolonial secular project in terms of the production and proliferation of states of exception? Giorgio Agamben has argued that the state of exception (where law withdraws itself to found itself) is strictly speaking a foundational aporia in the history of representative government in the West; we see as well that media ecologies themselves can be a means of repeating and refunctioning this singular aporia. Media contagions, then, would be a means of mutating—rather than merely mediating—the state of exception across the socius. What remains to be seen is whether or not these mutations can yield new creative energies for movements of radical social justice in the face of a pervasive status quo–ist consumerism and a none-too-subtle form of globalized chauvinism.

NOTES 1. I say mainstream cinema because not much work has been done on the Muslim social film; see Iqbal Masud's “Muslim Ethos in Indian Cinema,” accessed

July 21, 2011, I owe a debt of thanks to Priya Jaikumar and to all the respondents on [email protected] who contributed to a discussion on Muslim socials recently. 2. For this recent shift see Veer-Zara (Yash Chopra, 2004), Main Hoon Na (Farah Khan, 2004), Deewar (M. Luthria, 2004), and Dev (G. Nihalani, 2004). These filmic representations of course suggest a signal shift in precisely the topology of monstrosity that I have mapped in the following pages. That topology has morphed into the Kargil War film—see Lakshya (F. Akhtar, 2004), Tango Charlie (M. Shankar, 2005), and LOC Kargil (J. P. Dutta, 2003). 3. See accessed July 21, 2011, fr=c2l0ZT1kZnxteD0yMHxsbT01MDB8dHQ9b258ZmI9dXxwbj0wfHE9Z2FkaGFyfGh0bWw9MXxubT1vbg__;fc=19;ft=21;fm=1. 4. Certainly media, globalization, and India are not new objects of critical inquiry; understanding them as assemblages, as continuous multiplicities that through feedback loops, basins of attraction, and dynamic thresholds cross the Page 136 → body through the machinic phylum of media (and here I am drawing on Manuel Delanda's elaboration of Deleuze and Guattari's notion of the machinic phylum in War in the Age of Intelligent Machines) requires we think the function and variability of the changing ecologies of media that constitute globalizing India. See my Untimely Bollywood: Globalization and India's New Media Assemblage, Duke University Press, 2009. 5. See Akhil Gupta, Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India, esp. chaps. 2 and 5. 6. Brian Larkin, “Degraded Images, Distorted Sounds: Nigerian Video and the Infrastructure of Piracy,” Public Culture 16, no. 2 (2004): 289–314. 7. “According to the BPI news report ‘Pakistan was named a Priority Foreign Country, in the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)'s submission to the U.S. Trade Representative. The 2005 report says that due to the Pakistani government's fundamental failure to address optical disc piracy, Pakistan remains one of the world's worst overproducers and exporters of pirate optical media. The ten known facilities in Pakistan produced upwards of 230 million discs in 2004 (up 30 percent from the 180 million discs produced in 2003). An estimated 205 million of those discs were exported.'” Anjali Bedi, “Bollywood Piracy in Europe—Thanks to Pakistan!” Accessed July 21, 2011, 20Piracy%20in%20Europe.htm. 8. On imagistic regimes see Brian Massumi, Parables for the Virtual (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002). I use the term to refer to a moving whole: the structured order of images and sounds that are explicated in certain genres, discourses, information channels, social practices, spaces, bodily habitations, technologies, or any combination of these. The moving whole, however, is never given as such, it remains implicate, not explicate, and virtual in the sense that it exceeds each actualization, each event or performance actualized in and through the assemblage. 9. I am suggesting that film exhibition be thought as an articulation between discipline and control. As is well known, the disciplinary regimes described with eloquence by Foucault were pushed toward the continuous regulation of “societies of control” by Gilles Deleuze. I am not claiming any purity for the exhibition space in terms of either one of these abstract machines. I am interested in finding the most rigorous method for following the actual articulations of power in them; discipline and control are two heuristics that help us to move toward that specificity. 10. As some terrorism experts based in America put it some years ago, “The open societies of the contemporary global arena are confronted by a form of warfare which, while not altogether new in itself, is unprecedented both in its dimensions and in its linkages, reflecting a common thread between episodes of violence that are threatening stability in areas as far apart as South Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, Western Europe, and the Western Hemisphere. To date, mysterious immunity to this epidemic appears to have been acquired by one type of regime only, and that prevails generally in the closed societies which follow the Leninist doctrine. Interestingly, however, at least in some of the regions infected, the immune regimes appear to be located in close proximity to the open societies which are under attack.” Uri Ra'anan, Robert L. Pfaltzgraff Jr., Richard H. Shultz, Ernst Halperin, and Igor Lukes, eds., Hydra of Carnage: The International Linkages of Terrorism Page 137 → and Other Low-Intensity Operations—The Witnesses Speak (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1986), xiii. 11. Manisha Sethi, “Cine-Patriotism,” in Samar: South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection 15 (2002): 31–33. Such films as Maa Tujhe Salaam, Indian,

and The Hero have come to form a genre distinct from the Congress-aligned nationalist films of Manoj Kumar such as Purab aur Paschim or Roti, Kapada, aur Makaan. 12. For instance, the Godhra carnage and communal pogroms in Gujarat in the spring of 2002 once again assured Indians and the world that Hindu chauvinism will forward its agenda of national purification by any means necessary. The background to this carnage was the Hindu Right's declared intention of building a commemorative temple at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India (which was demolished by Hindu chauvinists in 1992). In the spring of 2002, returning from a pilgrimage to the site of the razed mosque, a trainload of Hindus from the state of Gujarat were killed (who killed them is still not certain). The Hindu Right seized on that opportunity and fomented a brutal pogrom against the Muslim community in which thousands of people lost their lives and livelihood, and hundreds of women were brutally gang-raped. 13. Neera Chandhoke, Beyond Secularism: The Rights of Religious Minorities (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999), 2. Glossing the ideology of Hindutva, Chandhoke argues, “Cast in the mould of cultural nationalism, majoritarianism calls for the erasure of all specific identities and demands the constitution of a culturally homogeneous nation. And this is cause for concern, for cultural or organic nationalism, as history shows us, is constructed on a ritualized and systematic suspicion of strangers (i.e., minority groups), upon the privileging of one ethnic, linguistic or religious community, and on calls to exterminate ‘impurities' in the organic nation. In India, the project of hindutva does all this. It appeals to the mythic unity of the Hindu people, invokes an ahistorical version of a glorious Hindu past, disparages minority identities, and demands conformity and homogeneity in order to accomplish two tasks” (9). According to Chandhoke, the first project of hindutva is to establish the identity of the nation on the basis of a narrow definition of Hinduism; as home minister L. K. Advani put it, “India is essentially a Hindu country. My party emphasizes that India is one nation and not a multinational state” (quoted in Chandhoke, ibid., 10). The second project of hindutva is the systematic and insistent denigration of minority communities. “In a tenacious, ordered, and subversive mode, the votaries of hindutva cast suspicion on the moods and motivation of the community against which hindutva is largely defining itself—the Muslims (and now Christians)” (10). 14. See N. S. Siddharthan, “Globalisation and the Budget,” EPW, March 17, 2001, 889–92. 15. Arvind Rajagopal, “Thinking Through Emerging Markets: Brand Logics and Cultural Forms of Political Society in India,” EPW, March 3, 2001, 773–82. 16. We can situate a bit more rigorously what such a context entails. Globally, developing economies “had to implement a bundle of new policies and accommodate new conditions associated with globalisation: Structural Adjustment Programmes, the opening up of these economies to foreign firms, the elimination of multiple state subsidies, and, it would seem almost inevitably, financial crises and Page 138 → particular types of programmatic solutions” (Sassen, 101–2). This has, by and large, been the case in India since the implementation of the IMF liberalization plan in 1991. Recent trends are also not encouraging: “The year 2000–01 experienced a sharp decline in the growth of industrial production and growth of infrastructure, decline in the Indian share in world trade, decline in the savings and investment rates, and an absolute decline in the foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.” See N. S. Siddharthan, “Globalisation and the Budget,” EPW, March 17, 2001, 889–92. 17. For the relationship between cinema as an institution shaped by society with roots in the national culture and the unpresentable differences that constitute that national culture, see Negar Mottahedeh, “Bahram Bayzai's Maybe … Some Other Time: The un-Presentable Iran,” Camera Obscura 15, no. 1 (2000): 163–91. 18. For an illuminating discussion on the recent resurgence of “family value” Hindi movies as technologies of disciplining the neoliberal subject, see Patricia Uberoi, “The Diaspora Comes Home: Disciplining Desire in DDLJ,” Contributions to Indian Sociology 32, no. 2 (1998): 305–35. 19. Geeta Kapur, When Was Modernism: Essays on Contemporary Cultural Practice in India (New Delhi: Tulika, 2000), 174. 20. See, for instance, Partha Chatterjee's “The Nationalist Resolution to the Woman's Question,” in Recasting Women; see also Samir Dayal, “Constructing Nation as Family: Gandhi, Ambedkar, and Positionality,” Socialist Review, 97–142; Amit S. Rai, “A Lying Virtue: Ruskin, Gandhi, and the Simplicity of Use

Value,” South Asia Research 13, no. 2 (1993). 21. E. Ann Kaplan, “Melodrama, Cinema, and Trauma,” in Screen 42, no. 2 (2001): 201–5. 22. Ibid., 202. 23. Ibid., 203. 24. Ibid., 204. 25. Khan's masked face repeatedly flashes across the screen in moments when the camera seems to take in Altaaf's subjectivity. 26. A word that is a popular name for both people and places, and that translates as “air,” “atmosphere,” but more poetically as in the fizan of springtime. It connotes beauty, warmth, and a feeling of exhilaration commonly associated with springtime, and relates more to the beauty of nature. 27. These riots were sparked off by a series of bomb blasts throughout Bombay, apparently in retaliation for the demolition of the Babri Masjid a year earlier by radical Hindu “kar sevaks” intent on building a temple for the god-king Ram. 28. Could one think of radical Islam as a specifically masculine “alternative circuit of survival”? Sassen writes, “It is against this context of what I would consider a systemic condition marked by high unemployment, poverty, bankruptcies of large numbers of firms, and shrinking resources in the state to meet social needs, that alternative circuits of survival emerge and can be seen as articulated with those conditions” (103). Of course, I do not mean to suggest that militant Islam is just one bad alternative out of a few, but rather that one pursues a course of action in life that is tied (but not reducible) to material and psychic conditions the histories of which are obscured and interrelated. 29. The definition of shaheed is worth quoting in full: a martyr (religious or political: properly, one martyred in the name of Islam). With the verb hona: to be Page 139 → killed in battle against unbelievers; figuratively: to become a patriotic hero; to fall desperately in love. 30. Hazratbal Mosque is situated on the western banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar. The mosque is home to a holy strand of hair belonging to Prophet Mohammed that was sent to Kashmir by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and is exhibited to the public on certain days of the year. This shiny mosque is across the Dal from Shalimar. It is made of white marble with a dome and a miniature. 31. It is located at 1,100 feet above surface level of the main city on the Shankaracharya hill. The Shiva temple, as Kalhana believes, was constructed by Raja Gopadatya in 371 BC and so is the oldest shrine in Kashmir, though it is not certain if the temple exists in the same form as when it was built more than two thousand years ago. The first repair of the temple is believed to have been undertaken during the reign of Lalitaditya in the eighth century CE. According to the historian Shrivara, Zain-ul-Abideen conducted second repairs of the temple after it had been damaged in an earthquake. The third repair was undertaken during the Governorship of Sheikh Mohi-ud-Din when the temple is believed to have been named as Shankaracharya. Dogra ruler, Maharaja Gulab Singh, constructed stone stairs up to the temple. 32. Jim Rutenberg, “Fox Portrays a War of Good and Evil, and Many Applaud,” New York Times, December 3, 2001, accessed July 21, 2011, 33. Consider the racialized and sexualized group of monsters known as the abnormals. Michel Foucault ties the history of the monster to the overall discursive practice of abnormality in the West. According to Foucault, (1) the monster contravenes the law, disturbing “juridical regularities”; (2) the monster can be both half an animal as well as a hybrid gender, and later in the text Foucault will go on to position the onanist as the third of the abnormals; (3) the monster is both impossible and forbidden; finally, (4) he is to be differentiated from the individual to be corrected on the basis of whether power operates on it or through it (in other words, the sovereign, repressive power that produced and quarantines the monster finds its dispersal in panopticism, or what I have referred to above as a normalizing form of power). See Michel Foucault, “The Abnormals,” trans. Robert Hurley, in Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth, ed. Paul Rabinow (New York: New Press, 1997), 51–58. 34. See “Homeland Insecurity,” Samar 15 (2002): 2; Amit S. Rai and Jasbir K. Puar, “Monster, Terrorist, Fag,” Social Text 20, no. 3 (2002): 117–48.

35. “Revenge Will Be Our Only Compensation,”, December 24, 2001, accessed July 21, 2011, 36. In Sarfarosh, Gulfam Hasan is the Pakistani (or Indian?) refugee who publicly embraces the deep cultural bonds between India and Pakistan, asserting, “There are emotional ties that link Pakistan and India. Such ties are stronger than all others. In the Ghazal language, we call this bond, mohabbat [love]: ‘No consciousness is left, no attention is left. A person in love is no longer a person.'” These cultural bonds, however, mask political identities that are in fact rooted in the opposite of mohabbat: Gulfam Hasan, who, as a singer, is supposedly a cultural representative of the long-standing connections between Hindi-Urduspeaking peoples, turns out to be an agent of Pakistan's proxy war against India. Pretending Page 140 → to further cultural bonds, Hasan uses the cover of singer-entertainer to oversee the smuggling of arms into India, and helps to encourage the armed insurrection of a disaffected tribal community in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. As Miriam Cooke reminds us, the Mohajir Qaumi Movement consisted of Muslims who left their homes in Muslim-minority states in India before and during the 1947 Partition to resettle in the northern Muslim-majority states that were to become Pakistan. The word Mohajir, which means “migrant,” comes, like hijra, from the Arabic root h-j-r, which means “to emigrate.” These Muslims named themselves Migrants, so as to describe the move as one from Dar-al-Harb, the Abode of War (a place where Muslims cannot practice their faith), to Dar-al-Islam, the Abode of Islam. “Women, Religion, and the Postcolonial Arab World,” Cultural Critique 45 (2000): 150–84, 158. 37. Not to mention that these narratives both invoke and then expel two figures who have come to represent the new developing economies of excess under global capital: the female sex worker and the migrant laborer. For a compelling discussion of this point, see Saskia Sassen, “The Excesses of Globalisation and the Feminisation of Survival,” Parallax 7, no. 1 (2001): 100–110. In the last scene of Sarfarosh, Salim's urchin-informant leaves for Dubai; in Fiza, Amaan's Hindu assailants ask if he was in Dubai these past six years; in Sarfarosh and Fiza, the female sex worker is explicitly represented in relationship to “criminal gangs.” 38. Geeta Kapur writes, “The iconic image is formatted to converge spiritual energies through inviting the devotee's gaze upon a condensed motif, thus establishing hypostasis. The tableau, a theater fragment of a larger whole, also invites the viewer's gaze, but by framing it. The image-tableau acquires an imminent (not manifest) narrative” (When Was Modernism: Essays on Contemporary Cultural Practice in India [Delhi: Tulika, 2000], 168). Tying iconic in painting to Indian film, she argues that “[the] iconic in the language of cinema derives its characteristics from painting. Figurative images, especially portraits, rest not only on likenesses or resemblances but equally on an economy of representation, and with that an autonomous logic of positioning and structure. This inevitable distancing between the pictorial image and the real world acquires additional virtues in the transfer between painting and cinematography. The iconic sign, peculiar to cinema, denotes precisely this transfer (of icon-image-sign) and helps in breaking down a rigid assumption: that the cinema upholds ultimate verisimilitude” (237–39). Indeed, melodrama is tied to the transference between the sacred and the secular on the terrain of the woman's body that characterizes Indian modernity. Drawing on Peter Brooks's theory of melodrama, Geeta Kapur has argued that “the melodrama … is predicated on the replacement of the sacred; it enshrines the beloved in the space evacuated by the sacred orders to the profane. We know that the invented genre of the Indian ‘mythological' massively mediates western romantic and melodramatic forms of narration and, coming full circle, alludes to the iconic. That is to say, if melodrama involves the transference from the iconic/sacred to the simultaneously familial and public registers of the image, the mythological takes that over but reinscribes the detached beloved back into a quasi-sacred space. It maintains, in lieu of the lost realms of the gods, this close register between the iconic, the familial and public” (171). Indeed, as we have seen, it is the bodies of women that will effect such a transference. Page 141 → 39. As one web review put it, “Preity looks a perfect Kasmiri beauty providing romantic relief in the otherwise action-packed militant affair.” See Tanuka Chakraverty, “‘Mission Kashmir': A Wrap Worth Looking Out For,” accessed July 21, 2011, 40. Put in the broader context of Hindi films, the cinepatriotism of this genre plays on some of the recurring themes of gender, sexuality, and femininity

common to Indian cinema. Notably, in Hindi films, representations of women have supported and contested patriarchy in numerous and subtle ways. The variety of representations ranges from the “avenging women” to Mother India (dir. Mehboob Khan, 1957), from Helen, the Dancer of the Night (as in films such as Teesri Manzil [1966] and Jewel Thief [1967]), to Nadia the Fearless (in such films as Jungle Princess [1942] and Stunt Queen [1947]), and from actresses like Shabhana Azmi who take on feminist roles, to the cloying glamour-doll roles of Aishwarya Rai. Cinepatriotic Hindi films narrow this representational range in some ways and extend it in others. See Lalitha Gopalan, A Cinema of Interruptions (London: BFI Publications, 2002). 41. Fiza is in some ways represented as preternaturally strong and as completely weak: she single-handedly tracks down her brother but cannot defend herself from the local Hindu thugs who harass her and her mother. 42. In terms of the use of women's bodies, one web reviewer put it in this way: “Sonali Bendre is sizzling in ‘Sarfarosh.' She romances Amir Khan in the film. [The] Director has used her beauty to its full potential. She looks really stunning in sexy sarongs. [The] Waterfall songs are a treat for [the] eyes of frontbenchers.” See Ajay Chaturvedi, “Patriotism's Battle with Terrorism,” accessed July 21, 2011, 43. See Amit S. Rai, “Of Monsters and Terror-Tali-Tubbies: Biopower, Terrorism, and Excess in Genealogies of Monstrosity,” Cultural Studies 18, no. 4 (2004): 538–70.

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6 The New Kid on the Block Bahibb Issima (I Love Cinema) and the Emergence of the Coptic Community in the Egyptian Public Sphere SAMIA MEHREZ

The State and the Cultural Field The modern culture industry in Egypt has historically been produced and administered by the state. The making of a modern nation-state in the aftermath of the initial Western colonial encounter—the French Expedition to Egypt—involved the creation of a national imaginary, the construction of a national identity, and the protection of national sovereignty, all of which were primary concerns for the nineteenth-century reformists. To this end, the Egyptian state, since the rule of Muhammed Ali (1805–49), has established various institutions responsible for the production and dissemination of modern cultural products in the cultural sphere. Initially this enterprise manifested itself in the establishment of a printing press, Arabic newspapers, and literary translations, but also the establishment of a school of translation and a modern infrastructure for secular education. Gradually the modern institutionalized culture industry expanded to other fields of cultural production. Despite the fact that these modern institutions and cultural products were initially set up according to the Western colonial model, they were permeated from the start with a serious effort to forge a national Egyptian image and culture. This effort can be clearly seen in the pioneering translation/Egyptianization projects in the fields of literature, drama, music, painting, and architecture meant to render the cultural field at once a modern and an authentic Egyptian one. Page 143 → The change of political regime in Egypt in 1952 was a continuation and systemization of the role of the state in the production and dissemination of the expanding Egyptian culture industry. The new socialist regime created a Ministry of Culture, a Ministry of Information, and a Ministry of Tourism, all concerned with defining, producing, and regulating national culture at home and abroad. The culture industry was reoriented from a pro-Western, elitist, exclusive field to a more indigenous, populist, developmentalist one. The Nasserite regime's strategic alliance with the Soviet Union allowed for the dissemination of new models of cultural production the impact and stamp of which can be readily seen in the various realms of the cultural sphere of the 1960s. With the advent of the 1970s the historic role of the Egyptian state in administering and controlling the culture industry began to recede with the late President Sadat's (1971–80) economic open-door policies (infitah) and his decision to sever ties with the Soviets, court the United States, sign a peace treaty with Israel, promote “village ethics,” accord more space to Islamist movements, close down the Ministry of Culture in 1980, “cleanse” the university from oppositional voices, and finally, in a desperate move to contain the increasingly volatile situation he created, crack down on all voices of dissent. These major shifts in political, economic, social, and cultural policies, over less than a decade, produced a series of new realities on the ground: an accelerated immersion in a global capitalist market, the deregulation of a socialist economy, the collapse of the state cultural apparatus, the increasing visibility and influence of Islamic fundamentalism, the exodus of many members of the cultural field (professors, journalists, critics, writers, artists, painters), and the advent of foreign investors in several domains. The Mubarak regime of the 1980s was heir to this contradictory set of realities that actually culminated in the assassination of President Sadat. In its attempt to restore its control over the cultural sphere, as a way of countering the rising Islamist wave and recapturing a modern secular image, the Egyptian state reinstated the Ministry of Culture that had during the Nasser period proven to be one of the strongholds of its control over a national, modern, and authentic Egyptian cultural sphere. This renewed attempt at control of the national cultural sphere also seemed like a necessary compensation for the loss of control over the political and economic fields that were now increasingly dominated by international global forces. Hence, even though the Egyptian state adopted new economic and political policies, it resorted, in the cultural field, to familiar, old ones. Rather than rethink the Nasserite defunct cultural machinery, the Mubarak Page 144 → regime revived the very same

institutions that had practically collapsed under Sadat. This perhaps indicates not only the political field's designs for the cultural one but also the importance and centrality of state control over the local cultural field in global contexts. However, during the 1980s and 1990s in particular, it became increasingly clear that the cultural field was not insular with respect to the general global flux of capital, privatization, “democratization,” and civil society movements. Hence we witness the emergence of a small but influential private publishing business, a private film industry, culturally oriented NGOs, a private curator market, and private galleries, all of which are areas that were predominantly controlled by the state and of which it had now, partly, conceded patronage but not ultimate control. At the same time, the Egyptian state was engaged in reestablishing itself as the moral and religious authority in the face of increasingly influential Islamist groups, discourses, and practices, at home and abroad, as well as the surging power of “street censorship” and its moral/religious authority that became the hallmark of the Islamization from below of Egyptian society.1 As Richard Jacquemond has pointed out, “street censorship” is actually a term used by the cultural milieu itself to designate “third parties who seek for themselves the authority of censors, at the margin of, or outside, a legal system to which they oppose superior, moral, or religious norms.”2 These selfproclaimed censors have included journalists, independent religious figures, academics, MPs, librarians, and employees in publishing houses and print shops, as well as student parents. Hence, in order to preserve its moral /national sovereignty in face of this volatile wave of “street censorship,” the state needed to maintain “moral” surveillance over the cultural field despite its discourse about “freedom of thought and expression” intended mainly for global consumption. This new situation can be readily assessed by examining the many erratic and mostly unpredictable censorship cases that have occurred during the last decade with regard to books, publications, newspapers, plays, films, all deemed threatening to the nation, the nation's youth, national ethics, and national unity.3

Copts and the Public Sphere It is against this backdrop that the release of the controversial Egyptian film Bahibb issima (I love cinema) directed by Usama Fawzi and written by Hani Fawzi (two young and already distinguished Coptic filmmakers) in Page 145 → summer 2004 triggered a heated debate of national proportion. Not only has the film propelled the Egyptian Coptic community into the very heart of the public sphere, but it has also confirmed the Coptic community as a new player in cultural politics in Egypt, a challenging new force for the Egyptian state to contend with in the latter's balancing act between secularism and religious nationalism.4 Bahibb issima is definitely the most radical example of the Coptic community's engagement in and with the public sphere. Not only is it a revelatory realistic representation of the Coptic community by members of the community itself, but, perhaps more important, it is one that actively participates in the elaboration of a national, not Coptic, metaphor that unsettles oppressive patriarchal power, in all of its manifestations, and upholds freedom of expression at the religious, political, and artistic levels. Because of its unprecedented audacity—social, religious, and political—Bahibb issima was subject to both official state censorship as well as “street censorship” by nonstate actors and finally ended up in the Egyptian courts for “contempt of religion.”5 The crisis surrounding Bahibb issima may be viewed as the culmination of a complex situation that had been developing over more than a decade during which the Egyptian state was compelled, by various internal and external factors, to step up its efforts to contain further exposure with regard to the Coptic question both locally and globally and to engage in manufacturing a new image of national unity.6 The irony remains, however, that it is precisely the state's anxious intervention to control the kind of image produced of the Copts that enabled the Coptic community to become a real and active participant in the cultural public sphere.

(Mis)managing the Coptic Question Many elements have converged to reorient and redefine not only the relationship between the Egyptian state and

the Coptic community since the 1990s but also the space that the Coptic community has traditionally occupied in the Egyptian public sphere. The nationalist banner “Yahya l-hilal ma‘a l-salib” (Long live the crescent alongside the cross) that continues to be produced at an official level with every national/religious crisis is one that conceals a history of discrimination and marginalization, if not alienation of the Coptic community, not only in its relationship to the Muslim majority but more crucially in its relationship to its own self-perception Page 146 → and representation within Egyptian society as a whole.7 It is true that the Copts supported the nationalist uprising of 1919 and were among the founders of the Wafd Party (the nationalist party against the British occupation) from the 1920s to the 1950s, but it is equally true that they were viewed, because of their elite's Western education and hence the positions they occupied, as pro-British, pro-Western, and therefore suspect, if not separatist.8 It is also true that the Arab-Israeli conflict has been crucial in cementing the national imaginings of the Coptic and Muslim communities, but it is equally true that the Copts are generally viewed (from the point of view of the Muslim majority, and from within the Coptic community itself) as second-class citizens.9 This ambiguity and duality explains not only the place that the Egyptian state has accorded the Copts, the largest religious community in the country during the twentieth century but also the place that the Copts have accorded themselves. On the one hand, the Egyptian state has continued to seek an official national representation of the Coptic community by appointing one or two Copts to ministerial and parliamentary positions, and by seeking the official representation of the Coptic Orthodox Church as part of a national/nationalist and secular public discourse. On the other hand, the state has actively sought to underrepresent (if not misrepresent) the Coptic community in the public sphere whether that be in public service, educational curricula, or the cultural field in general leading to grave misconceptions within the majority Muslim community in its relationship with the Coptic one.10 This misrepresentation of the Coptic community has understandably translated into two important reactions: a predominantly disgruntled Coptic Diaspora that exposes, at the international level, the discriminatory practices of the Egyptian state with its transparent secular discourse and a predominantly, equally disgruntled, visibly less docile, and dominated Coptic minority within Egypt. The Sadat era witnessed the rise of Islamic extremism (as well as Coptic fundamentalism, as a consequence) that eventually led to unprecedented, bloody clashes during the 1980s and 1990s between Muslims and Copts, with the latter paying the highest toll in lives and persecution.11 The state's repeated and scandalous mishandling of these crises has totally exposed the dangers of the Egyptian state's practices toward the Coptic community. Furthermore, the regime's inadequate responses to sectarian violence called into question the long-standing official banner of national unity “Yahya l-hilal ma‘a l-salib” and opened up to public scrutiny the Egyptian state's practices toward its largest religious community as it attempted to cultivate a dual image of secularism (for global consumption) and religious Page 147 → nationalism (for the local one). All this coincided with the birth of the human rights movement in Egypt that started in 1982 and took fifteen years to be recognized by the Egyptian state. It also coincided with the Egyptian state's increasingly compromising economic and political dependence on the blessings of the United States whose religious Right in Congress, key supporter of the Bush administration, has increased attention to Christians abroad. With the convergence of these diverse, but interrelated, elements the Coptic question became a thorny issue for the Egyptian regime both internally and externally, and a reason for the state to rally most of the Coptic and Muslim secular and religious elites behind an official national/nationalist discourse. In its attempt to safeguard its secular image, the state resorted to two simultaneous strategies: one of denial, the other of reconciliation. An example of the denial mode was the 1994 international conference “Minorities in the Middle East” that was supposed to be hosted by Saad Eddin Ibrahim's Cairo-based Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development Studies, which was forced to hold its meetings in Cyprus after being denied permission by the Egyptian authorities to host the event in Cairo. This decision was based on the state's refusal, along with most of the dominated Muslim and Coptic cultural and religious nationalist elites, to publicly acknowledge the minority status of the Copts, insisting that they were part of a homogeneous Egyptian nation.12 Likewise, when the members of the U.S. Congressional Commission on International Religious Freedom arrived in Cairo in March 2001 to investigate religious discrimination against the Copts, in the aftermath of the notorious Kosheh incidents,13 they were received by President Hosni Mubarak, the head of the Coptic Church, and the Sheikh of Al-Azhar in an official show of

unshaken national unity.14 The U.S. congressional committee was otherwise boycotted by both Coptic and Muslim intellectuals, including Egyptian human rights activists committed to the Coptic question, all of whom felt that the commission represented direct U.S. intervention in national affairs.15 This official/nationalist denial phase was accompanied by the Egyptian state's rather transparent effort to doctor its global image and to appease the outraged Coptic community at home and abroad. The state moved to implementing various symbolic, conciliatory measures toward the Copts: in the year 2000 an effort was made to remedy the representation of Coptic history in educational curricula, in 2002 the Copts were granted, for the first time in history, a national holiday for Coptic Christmas, and the Egyptian state-run television broadcast Coptic Christmas celebrations live. Page 148 →

National Unity, Official Style Besides these symbolic measures, the Egyptian state sought to remedy the historic and glaring underrepresentation /misrepresentation of the Coptic community in the Egyptian media. Indeed, the history of the film industry in Egypt is telling of both the position of the Copts as a minority within the larger context of Egyptian society and the various stereotypes that are attached to this community as well. It is true that some of these cinematic representations reflected the cosmopolitan social fabric during the first half of the twentieth century with a spectrum that included many minorities in Egypt, however, they were also examples of where such minorities were positioned vis-à-vis the dominant Muslim majority.16 In early representations of the Copts and others that were to follow throughout the second half of the twentieth century in theater, cinema, and television, the dominant mode was stereotypical, with comedy predominantly lacking at the realistic level. Indeed, the very first Egyptian film, Barsum Affandi yab-hath an wadhifa (Barsoum Effendi looks for a job), produced in 1923 and directed by Muhammad Bayumi, was a comedy that featured a Copt in the lead role and was intended as a series that was never completed. It is also worth noting that whether such representations were made by Muslims, or by Copts, they almost always resorted to the same familiar roles that included the exploitative calculating clerk, or the liberal /loose Coptic woman, or in sharp contrast, simply the good, devout cross-bearing Copt. For example, in Hilmi Rafla's 1949 Fatima wa Marika wa Rachel (Fatma, Marika, and Rachèle) a young Muslim man tries to seduce three young women—a Muslim, a Copt, and a Jew respectively—by pretending that he belongs to the same faith as each woman and reproduces (in the case of his relationship with the Coptic and Jewish girls) various stereotypical markers of that faith to win over the girl's family. He ends up marrying the Muslim girl Fatima because she is morally superior to the Copt and the Jew. Another example is the representation of the Coptic head of the estate (al-nazir) and his daughter in Henri Barakat's 1965 adaptation of Al-Haram (The Sin) based on Yusuf Idris's 1959 novel where he is depicted as greedy and his family as Other in its mores and lifestyle from the Muslim peasants and workers on the estate. The persistence of stereotyping the Copts as greedy and exploitative of underprivileged Muslims can also be seen in Marwan Hamid's internationally acclaimed film Imarat Ya‘qubian (Yacoubian Building, 2006) that is based on Alaa al-Aswany's bestselling novel with the same title. Other superficial and stereotypical representations of the Coptic creed and religious practices abound in some of the more recent Page 149 → television serials where Copts are clearly marked as Other by wearing crosses, by using certain religious idioms, or with pictures of the Virgin Mary and Christ clearly adorning their living rooms. Despite these clichéd representations, however, the message in many of these media representations is often one of national unity. Such noted representations have included Hasan wa Murqus wa Kuhin (Hasan and Murqus and Cohen) by Fu'ad al-Gazayirli in 1954, based on a Naguib alRihani play with the same title: a stereotypical representation of the kind but impulsive Muslim, the cunning and elusive Copt, and the sly and Machiavellian Jew who, despite their differences, are business partners, united in their interests, and represent national unity against all odds. A later example of more romanticized and idyllic national unity can be seen in the television series Khalti Safiya wa l-dayr (Aunt Safiya and the Monestary), a 1996 adaptation of Bahaa Taher's 1990 novel with the same title that depicts positive and respectful relationships between Muslim villagers in a small village in Upper Egypt and Coptic monks in a nearby monastery.17 A more light-hearted version of this same romanticized national unity is depicted in Nadir Galal's 1994 film Al-Irhabi (The Terrorist) where Muslim and Copt watch and support the same national soccer team together.

Interestingly, such representations of national unity have often notably coincided with religious communal unrest.18 These dominant formulaic modes of minority representation in the media abound and have been thoroughly internalized by Muslims and Copts alike leading to the absence of realistic dramatic representations of the Coptic community on the screen whether in cinema, or, eventually, in the popular Egyptian television serials. Furthermore, as noted earlier, the fact that on the one hand, the Copts have historically refused to claim the status of minority, cementing themselves in a national identity discourse, while on the other seeking to forge a separate space for themselves that is exclusive of the dominant Muslim Other, have had lasting effects on their willingness to openly represent their own community. As Viola Shafik has noted, some of Egypt's most distinguished filmmakers are Christian (for example, Henri Barakat, Youssef Chahine, Yousry Nasrallah, Khairy Beshara, and Dawud Abd El-Sayyed), however, allusions to Christianity are almost absent from their works. She argues that such absence may be attributed to several reasons: their own level of integration in the dominant Islamic culture and their contempt for all forms of religious fundamentalism both Muslim and Christian, as well as their fear of being labeled confessionalist or separatist.19 Whatever the reasons, the ultimate result is the lack of public representation of the Coptic community from within the community itself. Page 150 → With the escalation of repeated confrontations between the Coptic and Muslim communities in the 1980s and 1990s, specifically in the aftermath of the Kosheh violence, and all the local and global repercussions of these bloody events, the Egyptian state made a decision to take Coptic representation, on the screen, into its own hands. In the grand tradition of didacticism that dominates the state-run television serial productions, the controversial Ramadan serial Awan al-ward (Time of roses), written by Wahid Hamid, one of Egypt's most acclaimed script writers and directed by Coptic filmmaker Samir Sayf, was broadcast in December 2000 on the eve of the release of the Kosheh victims from prison.20 Awan al-ward was intended as a lesson in “moderate” religious values for both Muslims and Copts, rendered through dialogues about premarital sex, together with low-cut and sexy actress outfits that scandalized the Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. The theme of national unity was symbolically represented through the unacceptable marriage (from a religious, Coptic point of view) between a Coptic woman and a Muslim man. This rendition of “national unity” where Copts and Muslims literally became “bedfellows” outraged many in the Coptic community and caused at least four Copts to file lawsuits against the Minister of Information to stop broadcasting the series. As Lila Abu-Lughod has argued, the case of Awan alward demonstrates that “television's enthusiasm for circumscribing religious sensibilities” “ends up revealing and exacerbating social cleavages, thus seemingly undermining the government's and some secular intellectuals' intentions of creating national community.”21 Indeed, never before had any other Ramadan television series generated such controversy and debate or garnered such national and international attention. Ultimately, the legal pressures from the Coptic community in particular led to a change in the script during the final episodes of Awan al-ward where the Coptic woman was made to recognize, at the end, that her marriage to a Muslim was a mistake.22 So much for national unity official style. Rather than serve as a didactic lesson on peaceful and harmonious co-existence between Copts and Muslims, Awan al-ward became a lesson for the Egyptian state itself in its new representational strategies of national unity, one that will inform and shape its involvement in other episodes. Likewise, the legal pressures exercised by the Coptic community in this instance heralded the Coptic community's newfound, active involvement with regard to its representation within the Egyptian public sphere. As can be seen from the case of Awan al-ward and other television serials that dealt with Muslim/Copt relations and representations, the state's determination to control the kind of image that is produced of the Copts in Page 151 → order to avoid “sectarian strife” and promote “national unity” did not achieve its desired effects.23 Indeed, the state's active and frantic involvement in representing the Copts and its attempts at reviving the lost paradise of national unity and the golden age of Egyptian liberalism have all been at the expense of more recent realistic endeavors to deal with these taboo topics. One such example is Film hindi (Indian film), written by Hani Fawzi in 1994, directed by Munir Radi, and belatedly produced in 2003 by the state-owned Media Production City (MPC), the biggest information and media complex ever built in Egypt. The final production, however, bore little resemblance to Hani Fawzi's original script.

The title of Hani Fawzi's film is actually a takeoff on Bollywood films of the 1960s that were so popular among the middle- and lower-class movie audiences in Egypt. The expression Film hindi has passed into colloquial Egyptian Arabic to refer to the melodramatic, the tearjerker, and the excessive. Hence the very title tells us from the start that the film is intended to be a parody, a satire. However, this initial intention in the script is lost in the final heavily censored production. Film hindi is a simple story about two friends from Shubra (one of the more popular areas in greater Cairo that has a sizable middle-class Coptic community and a concentration of churches, the same neighborhood where Hani Fawzi, himself a Protestant, grew up). In the film, Sayyid, an outgoing Muslim barber who dreams of becoming a rai singer, and Atif, a nerdy, sexually frustrated Coptic satellite dish installer are friends. Sayyid is engaged to Aida, while Atif is in love with Mary, and they are both looking for apartments to get married. They end up falling in love with the same dream flat. Because they are friends, each is willing, in an act of mutual sacrifice, to give it up for the other. However, their respective sweethearts' fight over the flat not only causes them to lose it but also brings their respective relationships to an end. However, despite their unrealized dreams at both the professional and emotional levels, at the end of the film Sayyid and Atif's friendship is preserved against all odds, thereby confirming the contrived allusions in the film to national unity, the legacy of the 1919 revolution. Even though the script was written in 1994, Film hindi was only released in 2003 and, despite the long and problematic wait, received lukewarm reviews. A particularly scathing one appeared in Al-Ahram Weekly where the film was deemed naive, simplistic, and nostalgic of the officially trumpeted “national unity” between Muslims and Copts. Both the scriptwriter and the director, Munir Radi, were blamed for a crude and hysterical reproduction of traditional religious, gender, and national stereotypes in a film that was produced by the state-owned Media Production City (MPC).24 Many of the weaknesses Page 152 → of the film listed in the review were real. However, the question remained, How did a film that was initially described by the censor as a “time bomb,” and whose production was delayed precisely because of that, become so compliant and so complicit? The answer is simply that the screenplay and the film as a whole were not what the filmmakers set out to make! Film hindi was released nine years after it was originally written. During that time it was transformed, through the labyrinths of state intervention, from a realistic representation of Egyptian religious diversity, with all this might entail of both conflict and harmony, to an ideological statement on national unity where Muslims and Copts happily share the same paradise. Entire scenes and dialogues were cut because, from the point of view of the authorities, they may have caused “national strife.”25 The authorities' apprehension and the length of time required to refashion the film led to a change of director, a change of actors, and a change of producer, that squarely landed the film in the lap of the Egyptian state through the MPC production.26

National Unity: Unofficial Style Despite the massacre of Film hindi, or perhaps because of it, Hani Fawzi proceeded to write and complete his film script for Bahibb issima (I love cinema) in 1996, that is, two years after he had finished writing Film hindi and still negotiating the final details of its production. Unlike Film hindi, the script for Bahibb issima was initially approved, however, it eventually encountered several episodes of discontent and resistance before its final controversial release in June 2004 and its subsequent trial for “contempt of religion.” Once more the title of the film is significant. Rather than call it “bahibb issinima,” which would be the standard way of referring to cinema in spoken Egyptian dialect, Hani Fawzi chooses the more popular, lower-class deformation of the English word issima thereby expanding and extending the love of cinema to a much wider range of social classes and grounding his film in the heart of the Egyptian middle class. Based largely on autobiographical elements, Bahibb issima focuses, in an unprecedented way, on the daily life of a Coptic middle-class family in Shubra from the point of view of Na‘im, the youngest child in the family, who, like one of his young uncles, loves cinema but is deprived of it because of his father's fundamentalist religious views. The story is framed by the voice of adult Na‘im who recalls memories of his childhood.27 At another level, this audacious film may be read as Hani Fawzi's riposte to the massacre of his first script of Film hindi, for, like young Na‘im in Bahibb issima, the adult scriptwriter Hani Fawzi loves cinema but is deprived of it by the Egyptian censor whose “fundamentalist” views made sure that the film would not cause “national strife.” Both the child, Na‘im, and his author, Fawzi, rebel against the oppressive forces that deprive them of cinema. In Bahibb issima

the mischievous little boy, Na‘im, literally pisses in more than one scene on all voices of censorship and authority. In writing the script for this film, Hani Fawzi does the same and echoes his young hero's proclamation in the film: “All my life I have hated doctors. Not just doctors, but all those who want to control us and to control our lives with the pretext that they know what is best for us.”28 Hani Fawzi's rebellious and uncompromising vision is brilliantly translated on the screen by the young and already prominent director Usama Fawzi whose earlier controversial, avant-garde films Afarit al-asfalt (Devils of Asfalt, 1996) and Gannat al-shayatin (Devil's Paradise, 1999) won national and international acclaim and awards at several festivals at home and abroad.

Page 153 → Bahibb issima opens with a highly dramatic scene in which Adli (Mahmud Himida), the fundamentalist Coptic father who incriminates all forms of art, threatens little Na‘im (six-year-old Yusuf Usman) with Hell for his love of cinema. This initial patriarchal image that condemns the freedom of the artistic imaginary is juxtaposed against Na‘im's imaginings of cinema, in an equally dramatic and phantasmagoric scene, when the child imagines cinema as the gateway to Heaven where he enters and is greeted by many loving angels.

Similarly, the father's cowardly relationship to God, based exclusively on fear, is juxtaposed against his child's subversion of that constraining relationship, symbolically rendered through Na‘im's deliberate public pissing in different authoritarian contexts: at home, in his doctor's clinic, and in the church. Not only does Adli oppress his little son but he does the same to his wife Ni‘mat (Layla Ilwi) whose self-realization is crushed on multiple levels. She is crushed as a wife, as a painter, and as headmistress of a primary school: her paintings of nude women are hung backward on the wall and painted over with natural scenes because, according to her husband's beliefs, they are haram, that is, prohibited by religion. She is crushed again as a wife whose physical and emotional desires are thwarted by a fundamentalist orthodox husband who imposes a relationship of chastity within the marriage leading Ni‘mat to “fall” for an extramarital relationship.

Page 155 → As the film progresses, we begin to make links between Adli's oppression of his family in the private realm and his own oppression in the public one. Set in 1966, during Nasser's increasingly paranoid repressive era, and on the eve of the Arab defeat of 1967, Bahibb issima translates private oppression into a national one. Adli is denounced to the state authorities as “a communist” by his superior for daring to expose the corruption that he witnesses in the school where he is a social worker. Adli's torture at the hands of the state becomes the moment of revelation and reversal in his life. It all culminates in one of the film's most powerful, moving, and loaded scenes: Adli's monologue with God where he tells Him, in a drunken stupor, “I do not love you. I want to love you, not fear you.” Adli's discovery of his heart condition finally brings about a total transformation in his relationship with his family: he buys a television set and takes Na‘im to the cinema; he makes love to his wife and dismisses her attempt to confess her betrayal. Adli finally dies, in another highly charged scene: he has a stroke as he is pedaling his son Na‘im on a bicycle at the seashore with the sun setting on the horizon on the very day that President Nasser delivered his abdication speech (simultaneously played on the soundtrack) after the Egyptian defeat against Israel in June 1967.

The makers of Bahibb issima have described their film as one that is against all forms of oppression where “cinema” in the title is synonymous to “freedom.” Such a declaration represented, from the outset, an open invitation to read the life of the Coptic family on the screen as a metaphor for all Egyptians, both Copts and Muslims, not only during the 1960s (when the film is set) but also in present-day Egypt. Moreover, the tyranny that Adli exercises over his young son, Na‘im, who loves cinema but is denied it because it is haram, that is, prohibited by religion, is the same tyranny that the Nasser regime exercised over him; the censorship the young child faces at home is simply a reflection of wider forms of institutional oppression: religious, political, social, and cultural. Page 157 →

Containing Representation A higher committee for censorship had approved the script for Bahibb issima, and the censor (following routine practice) had signed and approved every scene that was shot before the negatives were sent for development abroad. However, given the unprecedented realistic representation in Bahibb issima of the Coptic community, one that sought to liberate the Copts from stereotypical roles and render them human, national subjects, with emotions, faults, and contradictions, as well as physical, social, political, and metaphysical aspirations, the film was submitted, yet again, to another censorship committee before its commercial release. As has been the case in many other potentially explosive episodes in the cultural field, state-employed cultural actors within the field are always reluctant to bear the brunt of the responsibility. Setting up committees in moments of crises has routinely become a strategic way to diffuse such responsibility and to remap the limits of representation within the context of the official discourse on “freedom of thought and expression.” The representation of the Coptic community on the censorship committee that viewed the film was deliberately constrained: there was one Copt out of twelve members. However, this one Coptic member objected to several scenes in the film. Tellingly, her objections alone were enough to launch the chain of subsequent censorship committees that were to view Bahibb issima. These subsequent committees had a double unstated mission: either to isolate the objecting Coptic member of the second committee or to confirm her objections via new members who are invited to serve on these never-ending committees. The very constitution of these committees is also noteworthy, for they represent the hierarchy among various actors within the cultural sphere ranging from civil servants in the office of the Egyptian censor, to prominent intellectuals from both the Muslim and Coptic communities, and finally to the upper echelon of representatives from the Ministry of Culture, not to mention the possible inclusion of religious authorities, Muslim or Copt, depending on the case. Ultimately, the objective is to arrive at a consensus that would help minimize the risks taken by the state even if at the detriment of the cultural product it claims to “protect.” Given that the Coptic objections to Bahibb issima represented a minority view within the second censorship committee, a third committee was formed with predominantly Coptic intellectuals,29 who, despite their general enthusiasm about the film, noted that it will cause controversy and recommended that another committee be formed! At the top of this pyramid Page 158 → of censorship committees came one that was headed by the secretary-general of the Higher Council for Culture, Dr. Gabir Asfur, who is also the general director of the Office of the Censor, a professor of Arabic literature at Cairo University, and a distinguished literary critic; a series of official/public functions that may at first seem contradictory but that are also meant to bestow cultural legitimacy on some of the key actors in the state's cultural apparatus. In this final stage, and because of the pressures that were being exerted by the Church through the media, an invitation was extended to a number of Coptic priests to serve on this high-ranking censorship committee. The inclusion of religious Coptic authorities seems to have been prompted by the initial Coptic censor's negative report that had allegedly been leaked to the Coptic Church, thus putting the censor's office on the spot.30 It is important to note that the pressures exerted by the Coptic religious authorities and the acquiescence of the state cultural apparatus to their demands were not surprising. On the one hand, the Coptic authorities were actually reproducing a pattern that had repeated itself over the years with regard to the intervention of Muslim religious

authorities and groups in cultural affairs.31 The most recent examples of such interventions and potential threats during the same year had been the banning of Nawal El-Saadawi's The Fall of the Imam and the state's decision to grant al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy (IRA) search-and-seizure powers over illegitimate and unlicensed copies of the Koran and hadith (the Prophet Muhammad's collected sayings), which intellectuals and human rights activists feared might tempt Al-Azhar to extend its newly acquired powers to creative and artistic works.32 On the other hand, the state's acquiescence vis-à-vis interventions from religious authorities in general, and its systematic strategy to seek their deliberation over cultural production, ultimately re-confirmed the state's moral authority over its citizens and neutralized the religious groups' claim to that same authority. This strategy on the part of the state has not necessarily always worked, for sometimes consulting religious authorities has backfired and rather than containing the situation has rendered it more volatile.33 Not surprisingly, the makers of Bahibb issima (the producer, the director, and the scriptwriter) refused the arbitration of the Coptic religious authorities, correctly arguing that the film had already been approved by the censor as attested by the fact that the negatives were signed and approved and being developed abroad. They were supported in their endeavor to block the intervention of the Church by a massive sympathetic press campaign that warned against setting a precedent in the handling of this case Page 159 → and reminded readers of earlier examples of Muslim religious authorities and groups' interventions in the cultural field. In a strategic move to contain the onslaught on the film and to contest the legitimacy of both the state cultural apparatus (represented by the various censorship committees) and the Coptic religious authorities, the producer of Bahibb issima (Arab Production and Distribution Company) organized a preemptive private screening of the film for journalists, intellectuals, filmmakers, and critics, during which a questionnaire was circulated about the audience's reaction to the film and whether or not certain scenes should be censored. This strategy proved highly successful because it displaced the debate from the closed arena of the authorities, both political and religious, and opened it up to a cultural/national debate. By so doing, the makers of Bahibb issima effectively hijacked both the state's and the Coptic priests' “moral authority” over the film and placed it with the public that, on such occasions, is never heard but is always spoken for. The comments from the viewers who represented a mix of specialized and nonspecialized individuals were overwhelmingly supportive of the film: “a daring and unique film. I recommend that it be shown in full” (Mustafa Darwish, film critic and former censor); “Magnificent” (Ali Idris, film director); “Unprecedented in the history of Egyptian Cinema” (Samir Farid, film critic), as well as many other profusely enthusiastic comments by professionals and young students, both Copt and Muslim.34 Not only did the public debate over Bahibb issima redefine the parameters of the debate by including “the public” but it effectively embarrassed many high-ranking state-employed cultural players who found themselves caught between their cultural and political roles. For example, the chief censor, Madkur Thabit, himself a filmmaker and academic, who, in his official capacity as censor had set up all these censoring committees, confessed, after one private showing of Bahibb issima, that he had been moved to tears. Indeed, Thabit's public reaction on that occasion is a testimony on the compromised position of many noted Egyptian intellectuals within the state apparatus. I was so moved by the film, that I wept, because I found myself split in two. The first half is the professor in the Academy of Arts, the film-maker and artist within me, all of which drive me to support the freedom of artistic endeavors. In addition, I consider Usama Fawzi a son and a student for he is one of the most talented film directors. My other half is the censor, facing pressures and demands to cut.35 Page 160 → Moreover, the effectiveness of the public debate spearheaded by the makers of Bahibb issima was further confirmed when the fourth censorship committee, headed by the secretary-general of the Higher Council for Culture, met on June 7, without extending an invitation to the Coptic religious authorities as had been repeatedly announced and denounced in the press. At the same time, the debate surrounding Bahibb issima gave the state cultural apparatus occasion to enforce its

moral authority over all citizens (both Muslim and Copt) and to contain the Coptic religious authority's power within the cultural sphere, since deliberations on the film were made by the final censorship committee without the presence of the Coptic priests. The committee's verdict, two days before the release of the film, was the following: remove the word religion from Layla Ilwi's pronouncement in the film “Damn this world and religion” (mal‘un abu l-dunya ala l-din), cut the kissing scene in the church tower, and shorten the rowdy family fight inside the church. In addition, the committee recommended that Bahibb issima should be shown to adult audiences only. This last decision prompted Yusuf Usman, the ten-year-old child who played the part of Na‘im in the film with mesmerizing brilliance, to ask the logical question that seems to have perhaps escaped this final round of censoring committees: “How can a film in which the lead part is played by a child be released for adult audiences only?”36 Ironically, little Yusuf who is a Muslim was removed, by his mother, from his primary “Islamic” school where the headmaster persecuted him precisely because he was acting in a film! Cinema, as the Muslim headmaster told the mother, in an ironic parody of the father in Bahibb issima, is haram.37 Bahibb issima was released on schedule, on June 9, in some forty theaters where it was shown for a short twoweek period, to gradually decreasing audiences. Several factors combined to further contain the film's commercial success. In order to limit the confrontation with both the angry faction of the Coptic community and the state, the producer of Bahibb issima—Arab Production Company—labeled it a “festival” film, not a commercial one, thereby condemning it to a highly disadvantageous release-time bracket. This strategy impacted on the visibility of the film in the cultural sphere and buried the prospects of the commercial success that both the director and scriptwriter expected. In addition, the month of June is final exam period for most students, so the “adult audiences” to which Bahibb issima was restricted were grounded with their children at home. Furthermore, after the negative publicity and literalist reading that the film received in some of the press, Bahibb issima was definitely not deemed a specimen of “clean cinema” (sinima nadhifa), with which it was competing for the beginning of the summer season when younger audiences are on vacation and can go more often to the movie theaters.38

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Religious Authorities, State Secularism, and the Public Sphere More important, perhaps, than all of these containment strategies exercised by various state actors and market factors, Bahibb issima was subject to an unprecedented public boycott orchestrated by members of the Coptic religious authority and the objecting faction within the Coptic community, a campaign that spilled over into the Muslim conservative one. To begin with, in this particular instance, the Coptic religious authorities felt betrayed and marginalized. Historically, they had been systematically called upon by the state as part of a national/secular discourse. In return, the Page 162 → Coptic religious authorities had, on several other occasions, successfully embarrassed the state, without head-on confrontation, into various symbolic concessions. However, this time the Coptic priests were disinvited from the last censorship committee that viewed Bahibb issima, thereby depriving them of partaking of the “moral” authority usurped by the state. Their riposte was therefore in the making, modeled to a great extent on the relationship between the state and the Muslim religious authorities. First, the Coptic priests went to the press as representatives of the Coptic Church and the mobilized and outraged majority of the Coptic community. Like their Muslim counterparts, who have a longer history in cultural intervention, the Coptic priests used a literal and fragmentary reading of Bahibb issima to incriminate it.39 Their arguments against the film included the following: the film misrepresents the reality of the Coptic community and its values insofar as the main character Adli (a devout member of the Coptic Orthodox Church) is married to Ni‘mat (a Protestant), a highly unrepresentative example of marriage in the Coptic community; the film represents the Copts as fanatic; the film misrepresents the principle of chastity within a Coptic marriage; the film advocates sinful relationships; the film misrepresents basic Christian teachings about sin and repentance; the film offers a highly negative and vulgar image of the Coptic extended family; the film misrepresents the Coptic religious authorities and the Church itself through scenes that violate the sanctity of the holy place; the film misrepresents Christ and ultimately, God himself and our relationship with him.40 A hefty list of accusations never before leveled by the veteran Muslim authorities against any work they attempted to sack! To top it all, the film is made by a “self-hating” Copt who converted to Islam to marry a Muslim woman. Not only does the director, Usama Fawzi, the “convert” who continues to identify himself as part of the Coptic community, misrepresent the Coptic faith and traditions, but he does so at the expense of causing internal division within the larger Christian community in Egypt by using a Protestant church (not a Coptic one) as a site for shooting some of the most objectionable scenes in the film (the kissing scene in the church tower and the family fight during a church wedding). Ironically, the Coptic attackers of the film then used the “national unity” banner to mobilize their “Muslim brothers” through a set of magical rhetorical questions that struck a very sensitive chord: “Is this how our Muslim brothers perceive us?” “Would our Muslim brothers accept the same misrepresentation of the Muslim faith and community?” And finally, the not-so-subtle harping on the abhorred topic of “sectarian strife”: “What is the reason behind the production of this film?”41 Page 163 → The next strategic move involved the mobilization of the Coptic masses against the film. This was initially conducted in church and through the Internet. Copts were called upon to boycott the film and cripple it financially. This was a successful boycott campaign that left the movie theaters showing the film practically empty.42 At a later stage, the boycott campaign spilled into the street: there were demonstrations by Copts and some Muslims in solidarity against the film, even though the demonstrators, as is al-ways the case, had not seen it, and neither had the priests who campaigned against it! The Coptic religious authorities further escalated the confrontation with both the state and the filmmakers by using another unprecedented maneuver: a statement was issued through the Holy Council of the Coptic Orthodox Church by the little-known (at least outside the Coptic community) Committee on Church Artistic Works with the provocative title “An Egyptian View of Bahibb issima.” The statement basically incriminated, first and foremost, the censor, that is, the state for having approved a film that misrepresents the Coptic community and faith, thereby holding it responsible for sowing the seeds of “sectarian strife.”43 This particular move held mimetic resonance

for it was reminiscent of other occasional statements issued by the Muslim religious authorities during previous confrontations with the state in the cultural sphere. Furthermore, this new strategy on the part of the attackers of Bahibb issima shifted the battle, from one against the makers of the film alone, to one against the state and its apparatus that allowed the film in the first place. In another duplication of Muslim religious authorities' contestation of the cultural sphere, forty Coptic priests together with Christian and Muslim lawyers (who were equally outraged at the scenes in the church) wrote a statement to the general public prosecutor on July 5, 2004, protesting the release of Bahibb issima and demanding that legal action be taken against both the director and the producer.44 The alliance between Coptic and Muslim religious and legal authorities with regard to things cultural is not unprecedented. The same combined pressure was exercised in 1994 when Muslim religious authorities (the Islamic Research Academy of Al-Azhar), opposed to the human representation of prophets in artistic works, called upon the Copts to support a case against Christian film director Youssef Chahine for his representation of the prophet Joseph in his film Al-Muhajir (The Immigrant, 1994). In the Chahine instance, the state bowed to the pressure and, as usual, to outdo Al-Azhar, that has consistently sought to extend its purview over cultural matters, ruled, at the level of the Court of First Instance, that the film never be exported or shown to the public again.45 Page 164 → Ultimately, the Coptic attackers took Bahibb issima to court with the grave charge of “contempt of religion.” The significance of the court case is that it extends the accusation beyond the film's producer, actors, director, and scriptwriter, to include no less than the minister of culture (for having allowed the film through the censor that falls under his purview), the censor himself, and the minister of the interior (for not having stopped the film as the plaintiffs had demanded in their statement to the public prosecutor). This escalation represented an open confrontation with some of the Egyptian state's most powerful men. Given the state's unquestionable experience in dominating both the cultural and the religious fields it also meant that the attackers were now in no position to win. Eventually, the case against the film was dropped once the final censoring committee of the Ministry of Culture ruled that it be shown to adult audiences only. A close look at the scenario of the long-winded censorship procedures undertaken in the case of Bahibb issima is proof enough of the Egyptian state's ability to manipulate and control both the secular and the religious wings of the public sphere. First, the censor did not make an immediate, unilateral decision to release the film. Rather, a series of advisory committees was set up with the membership of prominent Coptic public figures whose testimonies have been used, throughout the crisis, to counter and deflate the outraged faction of the Coptic community. Second, the state has excelled in the role of guardian of public morality in numerous other crises with regard to the Muslim community. It has also succeeded in containing and neutralizing the repeated attempts by AlAzhar to exercise that role. In the case of Bahibb issima, the state was simply repeating the same strategies with regard to the recent emerging voice of the Coptic religious community: the censor did not release Bahibb issima without stipulating cuts and stigmatizing the film as an “adult audiences only” production. The state was also able to use dissenting voices within the Christian religious community at large to counter the disgruntled Coptic priests.46 Despite the damage that the censor has caused the film, the state still won the battle at the end of the day and was congratulated on its defense of artistic freedom! The censorship committee that actually censored the film was depicted as a “secular” committee that “will not succumb to any black-mail,” and the secretary-general of the Higher Council for Culture who headed that censorship committee was described as “the man who allowed explosive films.”47 Ultimately, the state itself, with its cultural apparatus, was trumpeted as an enlightened one that has challenged and defeated the forces of obscurantism.48 Page 165 →

We Love Cinema Despite the ferocious confrontation between the attackers of Bahibb issima and the state that ultimately led to the substantial containment of the film on the political, religious, artistic, and economic levels, one must still

acknowledge the active role that has been played by the filmmakers themselves in defining the parameters of the debate surrounding their film. It was evident from the outset that given their respective histories and cinematographic experiences, both Hani Fawzi, the scriptwriter, and Usama Fawzi, the director, thoroughly understood the local and global context in which they were making the film. It is true that the film represents a Coptic family, and it is equally true that it is pseudoautobiographical; however, it is also true that Bahibb issima aspires to a national, not a sectarian or historically bound, representation. By setting the film in the 1960s and focusing it on an oppressive Coptic father, the film was able to neutralize the state by not representing it in the present, thereby winning its silence, if not its support. In addition, the film's attack on Coptic fundamentalism and its ridicule of religious authorities (in one scene a Protestant pastor is beaten during a rowdy family fight in a church wedding celebration) was complementary to a larger catalog of attacks on Muslim fundamentalism in the public sphere (television serials, films, and plays) that have consistently received the blessing of the state. Furthermore, the filmmakers knew that they could count on the support of the secular cultural players, both Muslim and Copt, who over the past decade have conducted endless battles against both the religious and political authorities to safeguard the receding space accorded them within the public sphere.49 Finally, these young filmmakers could count on the new global rules governing the visual sphere, ones that are above and beyond the immediate control of the Egyptian state. The negatives for Bahibb issima, like many other films in the industry today, were developed abroad. Copies of the negatives were outside Egypt as the crisis surrounding the film developed. Creating a scandal for the Egyptian state was definitely a card to be played in the case of severe censorship, especially when the director, Usama Fawzi, repeatedly announced that he would not accept the massacre of his film. In this particular instance, the state had limited leverage, since Bahibb issima was made by two Copts, about the Coptic community whose situation in Egypt was already under global scrutiny. Last but not least, Bahibb issima was after all a post-9/11 film that came to light at the same time as the ongoing U.S. plan for the “Larger Middle East,” “democratization,” “reform,” and “good governance” in the Arab world. Given the Egyptian state's keen interest in promoting itself as one that is conducting its own democratic reforms, it would have been unbecoming to allow for heavy-handed censorship of the film.

Page 166 → But the real victory in the crisis surrounding Bahibb issima does not lie with any of these actors whether it be the

state, the religious authorities, or even the filmmakers themselves. Rather it lies with the film's audiences, Coptic and Muslim alike, for whom this magnificently conceived film has placed the question of representation squarely on the table. Within certain segments of the Coptic community that saw the film, there was an undeniable malaise at confronting the comic, at times farcical, representation of the community, so much so that some Coptic viewers confessed that they felt more comfortable with the stereotypical representation of the Copt in the history of the industry. However, this malaise has been attributed to the almost total absence of realistic Coptic representations in the visual sphere for close to a century during which images of the Muslim majority, in all of its manifestations, have dominated. Interestingly, the same malaise characterized the reaction of some Muslim viewers who had grown accustomed to the image of the Copt as a villain or a saint, but not as an ordinary, realistic, lower middleclass person who is actually just like them!

Page 167 → At the same time, Bahibb issima provided a kind of looking glass for the Muslim community who, in watching the representation of its “fundamentalist Other” could not but draw parallels with regard to its own situation. Conversely, other factions within the Coptic community welcomed the realistic and nonstereotypical representation of the Copt in the public sphere and felt that the film heralds a new era for the representation of the Coptic community. This new realistic image of the Copt has actually created a national conversation between Copts and Muslims with the latter suddenly realizing how little they know about the Coptic faith, traditions, and values. Suddenly a whole community was brought out into the public sphere in a manner unprecedented in Egyptian society. Another important triumph for Bahibb issima is that in many instances, Page 168 → it was indeed understood as a film, not about them (the Copts) but about all Egyptians, both Muslim and Copt, who identified totally with the freedom-loving, mischievous child Na‘im in his small, daily battles against the father simply because he loves cinema. Finally, and within the context of Egyptian cinema that for almost a century has participated in elaborating Egyptian national imaginings, Bahibb issima will be remembered as the first Egyptian film to forge these national narratives and imaginings through the life of a Coptic family that assumes the breadth and depth of a national metaphor in the public sphere.

NOTES 1. For a more extensive discussion of the forms of “street censorship” see Richard Jacquemond, “The Shifting Limits of the Sayable in Contemporary Egyptian Fiction,” MIT EJMES 4 (2004): 41–52. 2. Jacquemond, “The Shifting Limits of the Sayable,” 41. 3. For a panorama of some of the recent censorship cases in Egypt see the Introduction and chapters 3, 9, 10, and 12 in this volume; see also the special issue on censorship in Egypt, Al-Adab 50, no. 11–12 (2002). 4. For an overview of the Coptic community's history in Egypt see Saad Eddin Ibrahim et al., The Copts of Egypt, London: Minority Rights Group International in cooperation with the Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development Studies in Cairo, 1996, accessed July 21, 2011, /the-copts-of-egypt.html. The Copts are Egypt's largest and oldest Christian community dating back to AD 42 with the formation of the first church in Alexandria by Saint Mark the Evangelist. As Ibrahim states in The Copts of Egypt, from the outset, the Copts have been socially, economically, and culturally integrated and are represented in all classes of Egyptian society. However, it is the political integration of the community that leaves much to be desired. According to official, conservative estimates the Copts represent about 6–7 percent of the Egyptian population, though some enthusiastic Copts will put the proportion as high as 25 percent. It has been recommended by members of the Coptic community that the Egyptian state undertake proper and reliable statistics to prevent exaggeration and misuse of existing statistics (see Karim al-Gawhary, “Copts in the ‘Egyptian Fabric,'” Middle East Report 200 (Minorities in the Middle East and the Politics of Difference) (July–September 1996): 21–22. For a more general overview of the Christian communities in the Arab Middle East and their historic role in Arab Islamic civilization and culture as well as the political changes that have impacted their position within the context of Muslim societies see, for example, Andrea Pacini, ed., Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988). 5. Eleven priests, a Coptic lawyer, and reportedly one Muslim lawyer filed a lawsuit against the film after its release in July 2004 at the court for expedited procedures calling for its banning, and demanding that in the future the church be granted the right to prescreen such movies. See Al-Ahram Weekly, July 15, 2004. 6. See Vickie Langohr, “Frosty Reception for US Religious Freedom Commission,” Page 169 → in Middle East Report, March 29, 2001, accessed July 21, 2011, Among the internal and external factors cited that have impacted the Egyptian state's efforts to contain further exposure of the Coptic question are the unprecedented number of instances of sectarian violence, pressures from the Christian Right in the United States (to whom the Bush administration was indebted) that together with the immigrant Coptic community in the United States have expressed concerns over equal religious rights and freedom of religious expression in Egypt, Egypt's dependence on U.S. aid, as well as U.S. pressures on the Mubarak regime to influence Egypt's positions on the Palestinian and U.S.-led sanctions on Iraq. 7. See David Zeidan, “The Copts—Equal, Protected, or Persecuted? The Impact of Islamization on MuslimChristian Relations in Modern Egypt,” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 10, no. 1 (1999): 53–65, where he argues like many other scholars who have dealt with the Coptic question in Egypt that President Sadat's policy of appealing to Islamists, publicly attacking the Coptic Church, and detaining Coptic patriarch Shenouda III in 1980–81 alienated the Coptic community that during the first half of the twentieth century had been part of the secular, liberal, and pan-Arab nationalist ideology and movement (56–57). He also enumerates several discriminatory practices against the Copts that include the lack of permits for building new churches, the confiscation of Coptic waqf lands for Islamic purposes, disadvantages in personal law and conversions, the imposition of Shari‘a (Islamic law) on non-Muslims, as well as discrimination in government and public service (57). For a reading of the Coptic community's efforts to preserve its unity and identity in face of the rising re-Islamization or Islamic Trend in Egyptian society and the state's implementation of Islamic-leaning policies see Dina el Khawaga, “The Political Dynamics of the Copts: Giving the Community an Active Role,” in Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 172–90, where she argues that rather than seeking explicit forms of political expression, the renewal movement within the Coptic Church was able to organize the faithful and mobilize them not only through the institution of the clergy but also by its ability to provide

them with a space that compensated for their status as a minority and served to exclude the (Muslim) Other. 8. For an overview of the Coptic community's political and cultural role in national politics and cultural renewal since the nineteenth-century nahda see Andrea Pacini, “Introduction,” and Samir Khalil Samir, “The Christian Communities, Active Members of Arab Society throughout History,” in Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998): 1–24, 67–91, respectively. For the perception of Copts as colonial collaborators, a potential fifth column under British rule in Egypt, and as traitors, exploiters, and betrayers see Zeidan, “The Copts” (1999), 55–56, 61–62. 9. All of the literature I have consulted confirms that the Copts do not think of themselves as a minority but rather as Egyptians and Arabs sharing a common history and culture with Muslim Egyptians as part of an Islamic world and a pan-Arab nation and that their participation in moments of national crisis has always been motivated by their sense of national belonging. This nationalistic integration of the Coptic community is contradicted by their actual legal status. In the modern Egyptian nation-state whose legal system is informed by Shari‘a, the Coptic community Page 170 → continues to be granted privileges rather than given rights. There are obvious contradictions between the modern concept of citizenship that stipulates legal equality between all citizens and the premodern concept of dhimmi that defined the special minority status of the Copts under the Islamic Empire. For a reading of the Coptic community's legal status see Bernard Botiveau, “The Law of the Nation-State and the Status of Non-Muslims in Egypt and Syria,” in Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 111–26. 10. On the underrepresentation of Copts in the public sphere see Karim al-Gawahry, “Copts in the Egyptian Fabric.” Based on 1996 figures provided by Maurice Sadiq, director of the Center of Egyptian Human Rights for the Consolidation of National Unity, a Cairo-based human rights center focusing on Coptic issues, there is not a single Coptic governor in the twenty-six Egyptian provinces, only ten Copts head the boards of the 3,600 public sector companies, only one Copt served as ambassador, and not a single Copt is president of a university. The same figures are provided in the 1996 Ibn Khaldoun Center report, The Copts of Egypt, 23. Underrepresentation of the Copts in educational institutions and curricula include restricted admission to universities, colleges, military and police academies, and medical school (gynecology and obstetrics), among others; see Zeidan, “The Copts” (1999), 58. In The Copts of Egypt, it is stated that there is hardly any representation of Coptic history or culture and no representation of Christian doctrines and creeds; with the rise of Islamic religious extremism educational curricula have tended to increase the schism between Muslims and Christians (23, 27). 11. For more details on these instances of violence against the Coptic community see Ibrahim, The Copts of Egypt, 21, and Langohr, “Frosty Reception for US Freedom Commission.” 12. See Karim al-Gawahry, “Copts in the Egyptian Fabric.” The initial attack against the conference on minorities in the Middle East came from prominent journalist Muhammad Hassanayn Haykal, former editor in chief of the largest and oldest Arabic daily, Al-Ahram, and a close confidant of the late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. In an article entitled “Citizens or Protected Minority?” Haykal refuted the “minority” status of the Copts and described them as “part of Egypt's unbreakable fabric,” warning against politically motivated foreign funding and foreign intervention in national affairs. Similarly, Pope Shenouda III issued a statement rejecting the designation of Copts as a “minority” and stressing that they are “part and parcel of the Egyptian nation.” The public debate surrounding the conference involved at least 200 intellectuals both Coptic and Muslim who all supported Haykal's position through articles in the Egyptian press. These nationalistic arguments by consecrated public figures rang hollow when compared to actual discriminatory policies and realities with regard to the Coptic community on the ground. 13. In 1998 the murder of two Copts in Kosheh village in Upper Egypt led to the arrest by police of hundreds of Copts many of whom claimed to have been tortured, though the local Copts had insisted that the killers had been Muslims. Again in January 2000 Kosheh witnessed more violence: an argument between a Coptic merchant and a Muslim customer escalated into bloodshed, and the Muslims burned and looted Coptic shops. At least twenty-three people died: twenty Copts, Page 171 → one Muslim, and two unidentified burned bodies. Kosheh Copts have blamed the local security forces for simply standing aside while Muslims mob burned Coptic shops and killed members of the Coptic community. 14. Indeed, as Langohr points out in “Frosty Reception for the US Religious Freedom Commission in

Egypt,” the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Sayid Tantawi, gave an interview to the commission in which he stressed that Copts reject interference in their internal affairs, while Pope Shenouda III met with the commission but did not make a public statement. 15. As Langohr explains in “Frosty Reception for US Religious Freedom Commission in Egypt,” the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) was created in 1998 by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) to advise the president of the United States, the State Department, and the Congress on religious freedom worldwide. The impetus to make the U.S. government a crusader for religious liberty came from the Christian Right, and the USCIRF—despite its current multifaith composition—still bears the imprint of its evangelical and partisan origins. The delegation came to Egypt to investigate claims made by the Coptic community in the United States that Egyptian Copts are victims of discrimination and religiously motivated attacks on their property and lives. 16. For a detailed reading of the representation of the Copts and other minorities (Nubians and Jews) in Egyptian cinema see Viola Shafik, “Variety or Unity: Minorities in Egyptian Cinema,” in Orient 39, no. 4 (1998): 627–48. Shafik argues that the strategies of Othering have been applied in the Egyptian cinematic context at different levels regarding local minorities such as Copts, Jews, and Nubians. Shafik states that the objects of laughter in Egyptian films were likely to be non-Muslim, non-Whites, and non-Arabs even when their comic function in film did not necessarily reflect their real status as members of the various minorities in Egyptian society. She further argues that the depiction and roles of these minorities in cinematic representation have changed over the course of the twentieth century depending on their position within the evolving national narrative, citing specifically the example of the Nubians and the Jews. The former were predominantly represented as honest, loyal, heavily accented house servants (which basically reflected their general dominated and underprivileged position within Egyptian society), while the latter were cast in more varied roles due to the heterogeneity of the Jewish community itself. Hence they were cast at once as rich store owners but also poor, ibn balad (urban, lower-class Egyptian) types. With the establishment of the state of Israel and the Jewish exodus from Egypt, the Copts whose community is as heterogeneous as the former Jewish one were cast in the same roles as the now absent Jews. In these roles they remained onedimensional, stereotypical characters lacking realistic representation. For a detailed reading of the television serial Khalti Safiya wa l-dir see Lila Abu-Lughod, Dramas of Nation-hood (Cairo: AUC Press, 2005), 178, 180–81. 17. See Lila Abu-Lughod, Dramas of Nationhood, 180–81. 18. For example, Viola Shafik notes that Hasan wa Murqus wa Kuhin was produced in 1954 in the wake of the Cairo Trial of the Operation Susannah when tensions between Egypt and Israel because of increased Zionist activities in Egypt arose, while Lila Abu-Lughod notes that Khalti Safiya wa l-dir coincided with eruption of several instances of “communal strife” between Muslims and Copts in the Page 172 → late 1980s and early 1990s. See Shafik, “Unity or Diversity” (1998), 639, and Abu-Lughod, Dramas of Nationhood (2005), 178. 19. Shafik, “Unity or Diversity” (1998): 644. 20. For a detailed reading of Awan al-ward see Lila Abu-Lughod, Dramas of Nationhood (2005), 176–79. 21. Ibid., 164. 22. Stories about conversions of Copts to the Islamic faith strike a highly sensitive chord for the Coptic community since they threaten its historic efforts of self-preservation. Public representations of such conversions in the media are therefore bound to be contested and resisted by members of the Coptic community. 23. See Abu-Lughod's discussion of various problems caused by other television serials representing Copts in Dramas of Nationhood (2005), 177. 24. See Amina Elbendary, “Love Lost in Shubra,” Al-Ahram Weekly, July 31, 2003. 25. For more details on the censored segments of Film hindi see Viola Shafik, “Unity or Diversity,” 646. 26. See Nahdat Misr, June 8, 2004. 27. Bahibb issima has been compared to both Giuseppe Tornatore's Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1989) that also used a child's perspective and Volker Schlondorff's Die Bletchtrommel (The Tin Drum, 1979) whose child narrator deliberately stops growing. See Mohamed El-Asyouti, “A Permissive Tyranny,” Al-Ahram Weekly, June 17, 2004. 28. These are the words that Na‘im as an adult says in the film as he comments on himself as a child.

29. This committee included a majority of Copts—Dr. Yunan Labib Rizq (historian), General Nabil Luqa Bibawy (member of the National Democratic ruling party), Dr. Nagi Fawzi (professor in the Academy of Arts), Ms. Isis Nazmi (journalist), and Mr. Nadir Adli (journalist)—as well as one Muslim—Ahmad Salih (cultural critic in Al-Akhbar newspaper). 30. My interview with Hani Fawzi and Usama Fawzi, Cairo, September 24, 2004. 31. In addition to Al-Azhar's purview over publications dealing with “religious affairs” it was granted in 1994 through a fatwa (religious decree) issued by the State Council the right to ban audio and video materials that “violate the principles of Islam.” These fluid and vaguely defined powers have allowed for Al-Azhar's increased interventions in the cultural field. Its recommendations to ban cultural products have routinely caused crackdowns within the cultural field, for example, the confiscation of dozens of literary and intellectual works at the 2002 Cairo International Book Fair. When Al-Azhar receives reports that a book in circulation is blasphemous, a committee of the members of the Islamic Research Academy (IRA), the think tank of Al-Azhar, is appointed to study the publication in question. Its decisions to ban are advisory to the Ministries of Culture and of the Interior that actually impose the ban. 32. In May 2004 the Islamic Research Academy (IRA), of Al-Azhar decided to ban Nawal El Saadawi's well-known novel The Fall of the Imam that had been published in Arabic in 1987 and was later translated into fourteen languages before its Page 173 → second Arabic edition appeared in 2002. The reason given for this decision was that the novel violated the principles of Islam. Intellectuals and writers in Egypt immediately launched a campaign of protest in the press against Al-Azhar's repeated interventions in cultural affairs. However, the novel was still banned. On another level, the sudden, ill-defined, and therefore highly controversial decision by the minister of justice to grant “search and seizure powers” to certain members of the IRA in June 2004, thereby coinciding with the Saadawi case, was massively contested by Egyptian secular intellectuals and human rights activists who feared that the minister's action further extended the purview and power of Al-Azhar in the cultural field. After dozens of articles in the press expressing concern over the implications of the ministerial decision for the cultural field, the Minister of Justice assured intellectuals that “search and seizure powers” involved unlicensed religious publications, like copies of the Koran or the Prophet Muhammad's sayings (hadith) only. Al-Azhar has traditionally played a consultative role, with no executive legal powers, when reviewing cultural material deemed sexually explicit or religiously unacceptable. For more on this debate see Al-Ahram Weekly, June 17, 2004. 33. See, for example, Sheikh Al-Azhar's reaction when consulted on Haydar Haydar's allegedly “blasphemous” novel Walima li a‘shab al-bahr in the Introduction to this volume. 34. For more comments on this private screening that was held at the Cairo Sheraton on June 4, i.e., five days before the commercial release of the film, see Sawt al-Umma, June 7, 2004. 35. See Al-Hayat, June 8, 2004. 36. Al-Ahram, June 23, 2004. 37. Al-Musawwar, June 18, 2004. 38. The term sinima nadhifa (clean cinema) is a recently coined expression that designates films that steer clear from major taboos such as religion and sex. 39. See the strategy used by Al-Sha‘b newspaper to incriminate Hydrar Haydar's Walima li a shab al-bahr in the Introduction to this volume. 40. See the article by Bishop Murqus Aziz Khalil in Al-Mussawar, June 18, 2004. 41. Ibid. 42. See the survey of movie theaters conducted by Al-Mussawar, July 2, 2004. 43. See Watani, June 27, 2004. 44. See Al-Hayat, July 6, 2004. 45. See also Shafik, “Unity or Diversity” (1998), 645–46. 46. See, for example, the article in Ruz al-Yusuf, July 3, 2004, by a Protestant priest against the intervention of any religious authorities in the cultural field. 47. See Al-Ahram al-Arabi, June 19, 2004. 48. See Al-Wafd, June 20, 2004. 49. In fact, besides the enormous support that the film received in the press, a group of Muslim and Coptic intellectuals filed a counter lawsuit on September 11, 2004, against the attackers of Bahibb issima on the basis that censorship of the film would curtail their civic rights as citizens and public figures involved in the

cultural scene. I am grateful to the Hisham Mubarak Legal Center for providing me with a copy of the documentation for this case.

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7 Talk Television Reinventing Secular Muslims in the Era of Neoliberalism AY E ÖNCÜ This essay focuses on one of the most trenchant motifs of Turkish nationalism, “we are all secular Muslims,” to explore the ways in which that motif has been simultaneously destabilized and also reconfigured in the political conjuncture of the 1990s. The essay's main emphasis is on how the meanings of being secular, and of being a secular Muslim, have acquired content through the visual formats and commodity logic of television, at a moment in time when their “arbitrariness” was revealed and politicized by the growing visibility of Islam in the public realm. The centerpiece of the analysis is how the chimera of who “we” are and “what we stand for” as secular Muslims is constituted on a particular talk-show program, featuring a divinity professor, Yasar Nuri Ozturk, as celebrity guest. The discussion moves beyond the magical audience ratings of Yasar Nuri Ozturk, to emphasize the ways his arguments entered into public circulation in the dense political scene of the late 1990s to highlight the anomalies of a centralized Directorate of Religious Affairs in the Secular Republic of Turkey. The ascendance of global religious politics over the past two decades has paved the way to a widening debate on what secularism might mean and what kinds of secularism to expect in the future. Once upon a time—barely ten years ago—the porous relationship between “affairs of state” and “affairs of religion” seemed to be an affliction that plagued non-Western societies. A conundrum of issues and tensions facing such self-avowed secular states as India or Turkey could be attributed to their failure to separate Page 175 → politics from religion. Proceeding from the liberal-democratic ideal of state neutrality, the prevailing institutions and cultural practices of “secularism” in such countries could only be described negatively, in terms of anomalies and contradictions, if not a flagrant violation of what secularism is all about. Critical attempts to unpack the binary oppositions embedded in such naturalized accounts were waylaid by the apparent success of Western “secular” polities in resolving conflicts of “religion.” Now, of course, historical circumstances have shattered the illusion of state neutrality in European societies that have long been upheld as models of secular polity. A host of specific issues, ranging from state funding of religious projects to the display of religious symbols in public space, have highlighted the significance of state practices in sorting out the “religious” from the “nonreligious.” As Colin Jager has recently put it, “the outsized claims of secularism to have solved the seemingly irresolvable conflicts of religion” are now apparent.1 In recent scholarship, questions have begun to cluster on the multiple histories and geopolitical formations collapsed into a totalizing opposition between “the secular” and “the religious.” There is now a growing body of scholarship on the variegated genealogies of religion as it has been constitutively defined through modern forms of governance.2 And the question of how matters of faith, statecraft, and commerce have been entangled in distinctive historical formations of modernity, both colonial and postcolonial, has come under scrutiny.3 The contested terrain within which the concept of secularism now operates is increasingly haunted by questions such as, When was the “secular”? If the “secular” is not the time after the “religious,” then what sort of difference is captured by the notion of a shift in the late modern moment? Has the “secular” mutated, or been transformed by momentous changes, to the point of becoming unrecognizable or virtually nonexistent? If so, why has it become the bearer of such powerful moral/political investments—a sign of desire for some, and equally for others, a signifier of danger—precisely when it does not seem to refer to anything recognizable at all? My purpose in this essay is to engage with these question marks in a specific historical context—contemporary Turkey—where the boundaries between the “secular” and the “religious” have become the battleground for cultural hegemony among contending political forces in the public arena. Specifically, I want to focus on a critical moment in time—the latter half of the 1990s—when the blowing winds of neoliberalism were coupled with a dizzying expansion of satellite broadcasting and popular media, to lend growing visibility to Islam in the public arena. This was a moment when one of the most trenchant motifs of Turkish nationalism—we are all Page 176 →

secular Muslims—was ruptured to reveal the ambiguities of who “we” are and “what we stand for” as secular Muslims. What I hope to trace in the following account is how the couplet secular Muslim—challenged by the growing presence of Islam in the political arena—was reanimated through the visual formats and commodity logic of infotainment broadcasting, to acquire political content as a matter of “free choice.” Underpinning much of the analysis I will offer below is the crucial significance of popular-commercial media as a terrain of political debate in contemporary Turkey. But as numerous scholars have pointed out, it is notoriously difficult to draw theoretical or methodological boundaries around popular media, given its multiple accretions in different spheres of daily life.4 This poses the practical problem of where to make an initial cut and where to leave off. My own point of entry into the dense media environment of the late 1990s in Turkey will be to focus on the metamorphosis of a divinity professor into a supersubject on commercial television—the “phenomenon of Yasar Nuri Ozturk.” The centerpiece of my analysis will be how the chimera of a “secular Muslim” is constituted on a particular talk-show program that was on the air for more than five years, featuring Yasar Nuri Ozturk as a celebrity guest. This will allow me to discuss how his polemical arguments entered into public circulation, to be mobilized and reframed by strategic actors to challenge the powers of the Directorate of Religious Affairs in the secular Republic of Turkey. Before proceeding further, however, I want to introduce three parenthetical caveats, each of which is intended to provide a sense of the broader social and political context within which Yasar Nuri Ozturk's heated arguments on television became enmeshed with dilemmas of what it means to be a “secular Muslim” in the political conjuncture of the late 1990s.

An Instant in History “Today's Cihad is no longer possible without television” The quotation above has an eventful story, one that illustrates how the abstract secular became the battleground of unfolding political/legal conflicts during the latter half of the 1990s. It also reveals the complexity of ways “television” was interwoven in them. The sentence itself is from a speech by Necmettin Erbakan, the leader of the religious Welfare Party, delivered soon after his party's resounding success in the national elections of 1995. In a landmark victory, the Welfare Party had won 22.5 percent of the national vote and emerged as the largest party. Soon after the election, Erbakan arrived in Istanbul amid a flurry of Page 177 → media attention, to address a gathering of conservative businessmen, mostly members of MUSIAD, assembled in one of the city's more modest five-star hotels. True to his reputation for lengthy and colorful speeches, he spoke for more than hour, paying homage to the business community for their support. He mentioned, among other things, the importance of their contributions in keeping the newly established conservative-religious television channels alive. The sentence he used to punctuate his point—“today's Cihad (jihad) is no longer possible without television”—was immediately picked up by television cameras. All the major infotainment channels carried news of Erbakan's Istanbul visit that evening, accompanied by visuals showing him pronounce the word Cihad. Four years later, the sentence became recorded in official history. In a highly controversial ruling by the Constitutional Court, announced on January 17, 1998, the Welfare Party was closed permanently, for violating the fundamental principles of secularism.5 Necmettin Erbakan, along with five of his closest associates, was banned from active party politics for a period of five years. Among the various pieces of evidence cited to justify the Court's verdict, published in the form of a bulky written document, was Erbakan's sentence. So video clips showing him utter the word Cihad came on the air once again and were broadcast repeatedly, both during televised announcements of the Court's ruling and the ensuing week of heated debate over its implications. In the divided public opinion of the moment, the decision was both castigated as a “major blow to Turkish democracy” and “a black spot on Republican history” and also welcomed as “a warning to Erbakan and his colleagues that this society will not tolerate an Islamic regime.” Necmettin Erbakan himself, speaking to television

cameras at an impromptu press conference immediately following the Court's decision, responded with one of his famous truisms: “This is merely an instant in history” (Bu, tarihte bir andan ibarettir). During the same “instant in history” (interpreted literally as the years between 1995 and 1998) the engagement of mainstream television audiences with Yasar Nuri Ozturk's arguments were in the process of transforming him into a national celebrity.

A Master Narrative: We Are All Secular Muslims In discussing the relationship between Arab nationalism and Islam, Al-Azmeh suggests that “so long as Islamic thought and activity were not in direct opposition to the nationalist regimes, they were largely left on their Page 178 → own … an independent though not self-sufficient auxiliary.”6 At the expense of overdrawing the contrast, it can be argued that Turkish nationalism has sought to discipline and civilize Islam by embarking upon a major social/cultural engineering project in the name of secularism. Much has already been written about the variety of laws enacted and the regime of state practices put into effect to control Islamic thought and activity. Critical accounts of the authoritarian nature of this enterprise, and the Jacobin mind-cast of the nationalist elite who were its architects, are now abundant. What is worth further scrutiny, however, is a frequent assumption that seems to go hand in hand with such criticisms—namely, the idea that because it was “imposed from above” the secularist project in Turkey failed to penetrate beyond the thin upper crust of the society's social and cultural fabric, and hence remained superficial. In this picture, the impermeability of Islam (identified with grass roots of society) and the superficiality of secularism in Turkey (identified with the state elite) are simultaneously conjured such that the latter becomes something taken for granted.7 Of course representations of Islam as an irreducible and invariant social force have been under attack for more than a decade now.8 But they seem to acquire a second breath of life in debates on the superficiality of state practices and institutions associated with the secularist project in Turkey, which is tantamount to assuming that Islam is a generically closed, utterly exceptional religion. So it is important to emphasize the extent to which Turkey's secularist enterprise has penetrated everyday life to mold Turkish citizens as “secular-Muslim” subjects. Ignoring the details of a complicated history, what has been named secularism in Turkey was (is) a totalizing enterprise, in the sense that it sought to define what constitutes the parameters of Islamic thought and activity, by centralizing and monopolizing its production under state auspices. As such, it has been a two-pronged project. On the one hand, the Turkish state attempted to purge (with various degrees of vigilance and/or success at different times) all autonomous loci of Islamic thought and activity embedded in communal networks. On the other, it created, in the nexus of the centralized state apparatus, the institutional mechanisms of monopolizing the production of a unitary and uniform corpus of knowledge, one that would define the universal principles of Islam for all Turkish citizens. The onus of interpreting the doctrinal and ritual injunctions of Islam was dele-gated to the Directorate of Religious Affairs, along with the responsibility of training, certifying, and monitoring imams who preach in mosques and, most important, the task of educating all Turkish citizens in the religious and moral precepts of Islam as part of the national educational curriculum. Page 179 → Ignoring the details of a complicated history, these institutional practices have “succeeded” in producing a particular knowledge of Islam, and a particular knowledge of secularism, such that being a secular Muslim makes common sense, becomes something taken for granted, and hence “normal.” To try to discuss how this process of “normalization” is actualized, first and foremost through the educational system, far exceeds the boundaries of this essay.9 A brief illustration will suffice to reveal its current scope. Presently, all schoolchildren are enrolled in two mandatory courses, one entitled “History of the Turkish Revolution” (Turk Devrim Tarihi), the other “Religion and Moral Education” (Din Kulturu ve Ahlak Bilgisi), as part of the national educational system. In the former, they learn that various pieces of nationalist legislation were major social reforms instituted by Atatürk, such as the “alphabet reform,” “religious reform,” and “hat reform,” and memorize them by name and date as listed in the textbook. In the latter, they learn that Allah has several prophets and holy books, but Mohammed was the latest and best prophet, and the Koran the most enlightened book. They also commit to memory the Koranic excerpts that are supplied in the textbook, with Arabic words written in roman script. These same two courses are taught under slightly different names, in progressively more

detail from primary school onward, culminating in nation-wide examinations where success is contingent upon knowing the information contained in the relevant textbooks. The actual content of these textbooks is subject to political contestation and “revision.” What is not open to contestation is that all Turkish citizens, regardless of when they leave the formal education system, must learn the principles of Kemalism and the precepts of Islam through these courses. Needless to say, most children and young adults are bored with these courses and promptly forget their contents after passing examinations. But they acquire the sine qua non of being a Turkish citizen—the knowledge that principles of Kemalism and principles of Islam are in no way contradictory, that is, that we are all secular Muslims.10 In emphasizing the totalizing intent and scope of this social-engineering project, I do not wish to imply that it was ever total, that is, finished or complete at some moment in time. On the contrary, its institutional parameters took shape in the lengthy history of power struggles and contestations that were an inextricable part of the formation of the nation-state. Its practices were defined vis-à-vis countervailing forces. And like all hegemonic enterprises, it has always been in the making, continuously repaired and reasserted to remain hegemonic. Thus the effort to marginalize and Page 180 → delegitimate all Islamic thought and activity produced outside the auspices of the state (couched in the language of a ceaseless moral battle against forces of irredentism and fundamentalism) has been repeatedly challenged. But each such major political challenge—real or imagined—has served to enhance the institutional powers and scope of the Directorate of Religious Affairs. The doctrinal and ritual injunctions as well as educational policies of this institution have been a battleground of party politics since the 1950s. But its institutional centrality and primacy in defining and supplying what constitutes public knowledge of Islam in the “secular” republic of Turkey has steadily increased. As the representative of official Islam in Turkey, the Directorate currently (at the moment of this writing in 2008) stands as one of the largest and best-financed state institutions in Turkey, with an organizational reach (as well as budget) next to none other than the ministries of Defense, Education, and Interior Affairs. It is very tempting to argue that Turkey's secularist project carried the seeds of its own demise, given its inherent contradictions. Or that the ideological hegemony of “secularism” paved the way to oppositional forces of “religion” in a dialectical manner. But of course hegemonic enterprises are hegemonic precisely because they “naturalize” contradictions and “delegitimate” countervailing cultural forces. Hence the answers to the growing mobilizing potential of Islam in the political arena of the 1990s in Turkey must be sought in the wider global conjuncture wherein the capacity of national states to monopolize cultural production came under challenge across the world.

A World-Historical Conjuncture: The Unfolding of the 1990s Decade in Turkey The moment of the 1990s was a triple conjuncture in Turkey, as in many parts of the postcolonial world. This was when the dramatic failure of state-led development efforts to deliver its promise of national progress had already become apparent. The blowing winds of neoliberalism from the transnational arena, with its rhetoric of “freedom from state controls,” “opening to the outside,” and “integration to the global economy,” promised the dawn of a new era. But what lent hope and optimism to such a utopian possibility was the ease with which satellite technologies penetrated across space, suggesting that integration to a world of plenitude and choice waiting “outside” would be effortless, once “state barriers” were removed. The immediate burst of energy in media and consumer markets Page 181 → seemed to lend this hope tangibility, however brief, before it was displaced by the disillusionments of neoliberalism. In its broader outlines, the unfolding of the 1990s decade in Turkey is one variant of this general picture. Mazzarella's description of India in the early 1990s could well have been written for Turkey. “Globalization” had, for once, a very precise meaning. It referred to the events that took place after 1991, the year the Indian government inaugurated a series of reforms that, inter alia, resulted in the flooding of shop shelves with foreign brands. Billboards all over Indian cities and towns, newly launched satellite-televisions channels, and the print media positively exploded with appeals to desire and identify with mélange of brands in which Philips stood cheek and jowl with Videocon, Levi's

with Sunnex.11

What is missing in this portrayal is the heady sense of optimism, a sense of literally “opening to the outside” that accompanied this moment in Turkey. The deregulation of financial and capital markets began earlier, sometime in the mid-1980s. The breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989, which spawned a set of new “Turkic” states in Central Asia, fostered dreams of Turkey's impending leap into the global arena. The boom in domestic consumption, together with an unprecedented expansion in advertising markets, made investments in satellite television highly attractive. The broadcasting industry expanded at a frenzied pace, becoming a hotbed of mergers and acquisitions, and developing vertical linkages with other sectors of the economy. Coupled with a cycle of exuberant growth in the domestic economy, Turkey's neoliberal turn became a showcase for success in international circles.12 The downturn to Turkey's neoliberal episode was equally swift and dramatic—but once again by no means unique. Tsing describes this moment in Indonesia as follows: “From the top of what was called a ‘miracle,' Indonesia fell to the bottom of a ‘crisis.' … So recently an exemplar of the promise of globalization, overnight became the case study of globalization's ‘failures.'”13 The first “crisis” that signaled the end to Turkey's miracle growth occurred sometime in the mid-1990s. Thereafter, the country began to suffer from a chronic condition of “economic uncertainty”—to use the favorite catchphrase of Turkish journalism. A succession of coalition governments began to follow one another in a game of musical chairs, lending credence to the diagnosis that “political instability in Ankara” was the main culprit for “economic uncertainty.” Most important, insurgent politics of Islam and of Page 182 → Kurdish nationalism seemed to escalate concomitantly, bringing the Turkish nation to the brink of being drawn and quartered. By the end of the end of the 1990s, the body politic of the nation appeared to be dissolving symbolically and literally, as a series of calamitous events—“shock news” in the language of tabloid journalism—began to tumble upon one another on television screens. The ongoing civil war between Kurdish independence fighters and state armed forces remained invisible on television screens, apart from officially authorized references to terrorist activities. But as the death toll continued to increase, visual images of mothers crying over the funeral caskets of their sons began to intrude with increasing frequency.14 Then there were a series of shock events involving “reactionary Islam”—young girls falling into the clutches of heterodox sects (Fadime Sahin event of 1996); provincial towns falling prey to Iranian extremists (Sincan event of 1997); the infiltration of the “bloody” Hizballah network into the heartlands of the nation (Hizballah event of 2000)—which brought the nation to the brink of disaster. Last but not least there were a series of political scandals (uncovered by investigative journalists) that revealed the hitherto unsuspected existence of a “deep state” involving linkages between high-level state officials, drug cartels, and Kurdish tribal networks. For mainstream audiences, watching these “disastrous events” unfolding before their very eyes, interspersed with tabloid news on “ordinary lives of the super-rich” (the subject matter of innumerable telemagazine programs) and the “extraordinary sufferings of ordinary people” (featured “live” on “reality shows”), there seemed little doubt that the Turkish nation was on the verge of collapse.15

The Metamorphosis of Yasar Nuri Ozturk into a “Supersubject” on Turkish Television In discussing the relationship between television and knowledge in general, John Ellis emphasizes the dialectic between two extremes of disorder and control.16 Television, he suggests, does not provide an overall explanation; it comes to no conclusions. It produces an unstoppable flood of events, spectacles of conflicts, intimations of crises of all sorts, people in desperate circumstances—unfolding before our very eyes in “real time” with cameras deliberately focusing on action. It also offers an enormous amount of “chat”—musings about what may have happened, what may be about to happen, or what may be the result if events were to take a certain turn. We as audiences are desperate for some sort of conclusion, but the Page 183 → more bits of information we acquire, the greater the complexity and contradictions. Television's perpetually shifting agendas leave us adrift in a sea of doubt and contingency. Instead of conclusions, what mainstream infotainment broadcasting in Turkey (as elsewhere perhaps) offered audiences was a limited set of “supersubjects” who speak the truth as they see it.17 Such supersubjects address

viewers in the category of the person, balancing out the moral and immoral, the acceptable and the unacceptable, the right and the wrong, even as events tumble upon us, and there are no second guesses. Among them are a selected number of news anchors, some notables from the business community, some politicians (very few), and in the latter half of the 1990s, Yasar Nuri Ozturk. These are not television stars or celebrities—“show biz” in the conventional American sense of the term. Nor are they merely representatives of particular channels, the media world in general, or “the public interest”; rather, they seem to represent a complex nexus of them all. They speak as the I (analogous to the I in a sentence), and their messages perform the “magic” of binding different elements and cultural institutions together to form a coherent “reality.” The supersubject (at least on Turkish television) is not a “narrator” in the classical sense of the term, organizing “live” events and orchestrating them toward a particular resolution. He (not she) does not provide narrative resolution but seems to stabilize the chaos, discord, disorder of the world beyond our immediate experience, by his very presence. Yasar Nuri Ozturk, then, emerged as one among the limited number of such supersubjects on Turkish television and, akin to all of them, stood in a category of his own. He has an impressive cachet of credentials as a scholar as well as positional authority—a theology professor at Istanbul University who specializes in Islamic philosophy—that empower him as an “expert.” His prodigious writings include more than forty books, both scholarly works and popular “best sellers. He is fluent in Arabic, Persian, and English; has committed the entire Koran to memory; holds a (secular) law degree; and is equally at home with quotations from Friedrich Nietzsche, Jamal-al-din al-Afgani, or Mevlana al-din Rumi.18 In addition to his scholarly/intellectual credentials, Yasar Nuri Ozturk has a lengthy history of engagement with the popular media. He started writing “Friday columns” for daily newspapers in the 1970s, starting with Son Havadis, later Tercuman, then moving up to Hurriyet (the largest circulating mass daily) in the 1980s. Beginning in 1987, he began to appear regularly on the World of Belief program, broadcast on state television on Friday evenings. But it was the advent of multichannel commercial broadcasting Page 184 → that catapulted Yasar Nuri Ozturk into the national limelight, transforming his name into a household word, sweeping his books to the top of best-seller charts, and turning him into a highly visible public persona. From the mid-1990s onward, Ozturk became the most sought-after “guest” in innumerable studio debates, talk shows, and arena programs. He prepared and presented such regular programs as Isiga Cagi (Call to Light) or Kuran ve İnsan (Koran and the Human Being) for various commercial channels, which were recycled endlessly, particularly during the Ramadan. In great demand as a speaker, his scheduled talks ranged from five-star hotels in Istanbul to provincial towns and cities in various parts of the country. His website where he responded to questions from the public on a variety issues became immensely popular. A subsequent book titled I Am Answering, based upon the most frequently asked questions on the Internet, became an instant best seller in supermarkets and R&D chains. And his personal life, ranging from his hip dress style (polo shirts, suits with ties or foulards) and his daily workouts, to his “modern” home style and “uncovered” wife, provided endless material for the magazine press. There is little doubt that the combination of these attributes—Islamic theology, Arabic, aerobics, Internet, English, and an “uncovered” wife—had much to do with the fascination of mainstream audiences with Yasar Nuri Ozturk. It is also important that the year 1994, when his metamorphosis into a television personality began, was a major watershed in the wider political arena. This was when the landslide victory of Erbakan's religious Welfare Party in local elections revealed his success in developing a popular discourse of moral opposition—based on justice, honesty, abstemiousness—while simultaneously incorporating the vocabulary of “human rights” and “civil society” from neoliberal discourses of the moment. Toward the end of the 1990s, “classical” divisions of Turkish politics between “progressive” Left (secularist) and “conservative” Right (religious) were reconfigured. It was now the political voice of Islam that articulated the demands of “civil” society and defined itself as the major force of (progressive) opposition against the secularist (conservative) establishment, with vested interests in maintaining the status quo.19 So at a moment when all the familiar signposts of Turkish politics appeared to be dissolving, and official scripts of who “we” are and “what we stand for” became increasingly fragile, Yasar Nuri Ozturk emerged to perform the

“magic” of stabilizing the perpetually shifting agendas of the moment, to sort out the moral from the immoral, the right from the wrong. Below I will try to demonstrate how he performed this “magic” by drawing upon the intertwined vocabularies of official Islam and nationalism but recasting Page 185 → them in a different mold, to affirm that “we are all secular Muslims.” That matters are more complicated than this will hopefully become apparent in the close-up of his performance in a particular talk-show program where he was a regular participant for more than five years. This will allow me to discuss, in the last section of this chapter, how his polemical style and assertions have (re)politicized, in the public realm, a series of explosive issues that have (re)divided Turkey's Muslims among themselves.

A Close-Up of Yasar Nuri Ozturk on the Ayse Ozgun Talk Show Every Friday morning for more than five years (between 1996 and 2001), Yasar Nuri Ozturk appeared as an “expert guest” on a talk-show program hosted by Ayse Ozgun. In its classic form, the distinctiveness of the talk show as a television genre resides in bringing “ordinary people” into the studio, to simulate a sort of gathering or meeting where topical social, moral, and political issues are debated. Visually, the studio audience is constructed as the focus of the show, and the ultimate success of the program is contingent on their involvement in controversy and argumentation—each person representing himself or herself to express reactions based upon personal experience—on a variety of topics ranging from the problems of working women to drug abuse among youth, criminality, and so forth. The role of the host/hostess is that of mediator, who allows everyone to speak his or her mind while simultaneously orchestrating the discussion so that officially invited “guests” (luminaries often sitting in panel formation) are invited to contribute their expert opinion. Needless to say, there can be an enormous range of variation within this formula, from the size and composition of studio audiences to the kinds of subject matter and formats of conversation and debate.20 Homegrown versions of nearly all possible variations have proliferated across television screens in Turkey. But successful imitations of American-style talk shows like Donohue, Oprah Winfrey, or Kilroy, with lively studio debates on current issues and audience participation, have been rare. Ayse Ozgun was the first such successful talk-show hostess, both as the trademark and also the producer of her own programs. Her talk show has been remarkable for its longevity, airing every morning on one of the major infotainment channels for more than five years. Although her show was scheduled at a time when networks target female viewers, Ayse Ozgun's own proud claim is that her home audiences included many men, and her choice of “social issues” for Page 186 → discussion (public health, municipal services, crime rates, etc.) as well as performance style imply a mixed home audience. Her studio audiences are consciously gender and age mixed.21 The “expert guests” she invites differ according to choice of topic and exigencies of programming—except every Friday morning, when Yasar Nuri Ozturk was the unchanging and indisputable authority. Below I will focus on the Friday morning program exclusively, to illustrate the dynamic between Yasar Nuri Ozturk (as the expert), Ayse Ozgun (as the hostess), and the studio audience (as a protagonist), such that particular kinds of knowledge are constructed. For analytical purposes, I will take up “the performance” and Yasar Nuri Ozturk's own discourse and rhetoric as different “layers” that operate separately.22

The Performance and Players On Friday mornings, the show begins as usual, with generics and music followed by camera shots of Ayse Ozgun's face addressing home audiences directly as “our dear” or “very dear viewers” as well as “our respected viewers.” Ayse Ozgun, as the producer and hostess of the program, is of course a “celebrity” in her own right, because after all the show bears her own name. She is a hefty woman in her fifties, with a cherubic face, elaborately coiffed and costumed in bright colored matching ensembles—who appears on camera as if she had just walked out of a Brazilian telenovella (to my mind at least). Her appearance, as well as the dynamism she projects as she rushes around with a microphone in her hand, seemingly caught up in the heat of discussion and anxious to give everyone in the studio audience a voice, makes her performance one of the main objects of watching during the show.

But the Friday program proceeds with a solemnity that befits Ozturk's status and knowledge. Ayse Ozgun's own performance is a skilled combination of “sincerity” and “congeniality”—enacted somewhat differently when addressing studio/home audiences and Ozturk himself. She is “sincerely” ignorant on matters pertaining to “Islam”—which allows her to be awkward when posing questions to Ozturk (on behalf of audiences). But because she is “honestly” concerned about what she is asking, “lack of knowledge” is transformed into an emotional appeal. She addresses Ozturk as hocam, a word that has been assimilated into everyday Turkish as a general term of respect for someone of learning, but much less distant than the alternative sayin that acknowledges official Page 187 → stature, as in the English sir. She seeks “illumination” in the first-person plural we, but lapses into I when emotionally moved. But in addition to the we—those of us in the studio and at home—who seek illumination, Ayse Ozgun periodically brings into the picture “poor people” or “people who are in very difficult economic circumstances,” “people who live in villages,” by raising questions that begin with “what about those people. …” So there are always disadvantaged “others” “we” need to think about (who are also watching the program). These are “our other people” (bu insanlarimiz), who might find the ongoing discussion either very abstract or irrelevant. So Ayse Ozgun is concerned about sending “the right message” to “these people.”23 Members of the “studio audience,” chosen to simulate “a bus full of people in Istanbul” (according to Ayse Ozgun), sit in rows facing the front. On Friday mornings, only a selected few stand up to ask questions individually (obviously coached), rather than engaging in discussion among themselves. Most of the time they are “quiet moral sitters,” facing Ozturk. Ozturk sits behind a small desk throughout the program, rarely moving until he begins to talk. In the opening long shots, he appears dwarfed by the large bouquet of fresh flowers placed on the desk, totally incongruous against the background of wallpaper decorated with leaves, butterflies, and the program logo—Ayse Ozgun's own signature blown up in pink—with generic music reminiscent of soap operas. But as the camera moves in to show him closeup and he begins to answer, explain, and elaborate his arguments, he is transformed into a figure of immense power. Thus when the studio audience bursts into spontaneous applause after one of his impressive soliloquies, the sense of watching a contrived performance is transformed into a shared moment of “togetherness.” Apart from these “electric” moments (that I will discuss later), Ozturk's discursive style is much closer to classroom lecturing than that of a preacher who inspires emotional leaps of faith. His claims to authority and selfframing are those of a “man of scientific learning” (bilim adami) as distinct from a “man of religion” (din adami). He continuously promotes “reason” and “logic” (akil ve mantik) against “muddled thinking” (kafa karisikligi). In the overall progression of the program itself, Ayse Ozgun's own “muddled thinking” serves to highlight Ozturk's “reasoned” explanations, giving him the opportunity to sort out the significant from the irrelevant, and to expound the real issues (esas meseleler). [following upon a series of comments-cum-questions from the audience] Page 188 → AYSE OZGUN:

We are doing something that Allah does not want. To bring us together, he has sent the book, he has sent the prophet, we are sharpening the divisions and so if I say something I am afraid of reaction from this group, if I say another from that, is this something good? We are doing something Allah does not want. This is what I see. But how we get out of this situation, that I do not know. Is it with tolerance, I mean getting away from the mentality of imposing our own ideas that I do not know either. But once again after our last week's program many viewers, twelve or thirteen viewers who did not agree with your views telephoned us. Would you believe it? But one viewer called in such anger, thanking Allah for those who give us correct or wrong religious information. Now this is where I am flabbergasted. I mean what does it mean to be thankful for wrong information, this I do not

understand, this kind of thinking. … You say the truth but I do not want to accept it, it is true according to one side of course and this viewer of ours was raising hell last week. So thirteen phone calls came like this. Now this is my question to you: Is it wrong or right to say thank God for wrong religious information as well as right religious information? OZTURK:

If someone makes a mistake out of ignorance, I would not blame him. Even when he telephones in anger, if is not deliberately misleading but believes in what he says, what could we say? Wake up. AYSE OZGUN:

No. Let us wake up but life is continuously changing.


Ayse Hanim, let us not trivialize matters. There are those who deliberately lie and mislead the people. A person may lack knowledge, may not have enough education, but believes in something. If he says “salt” instead of “sugar,” this should not be exaggerated. Now this is not the issue. This is not the problem Turkey is facing. This is never the real issue. The real problem is people who know the Koran, but not reveal all of it. Or people who say the Koran says this, but such and such important man says something else. This is the issue. This is the destruction. Is our religion to be revealed by the Koran, or by others? This has to be decided. We have been saying for years that there are two religions in the Islamic world as well as Turkey. Of course there are many distinctions, but two main religions which go under the name of Islam. There is the Islam Page 189 → that has been brought down by the Koran, and then there is the Islam that has been invented. Do you know how long this division has existed in the Islamic world? … [continues uninterrupted for 10–15 minutes] The excerpt above is very typical of how Ozturk responds to “muddled questions” from Ayse Ozgun, which she invariably poses in binary form. He does this in a highly polemical style, rephrasing Ayse Ozgun to formulate and answer his own questions, bringing in scholarly references, points of fact, examples from everyday life. What is lost in (my own) translation is the ease with which Ozturk alternates between religious language and everyday colloquialisms while speaking. Each soliloquy is a tour de force, an exercise in reduction and simplification, delivered with “inner conviction” by some-one authorized to speak the truth as “a man of scientific learning.” The program ends with Ozturk's speech amid enthusiastic applause. Ozturk's Discourse and Rhetoric During his lengthy soliloquies on television, Yasar Nuri Ozturk adopts various overlapping frames of selfrepresentation—always speaking in the first-person plural (rarely “my” or “I”), for instance, which simultaneously asserts his indisputable authority as a theologian and also underscores his self-certainty when speaking as a social diagnostician who provides explanations of and remedies for social as well as personal ills. And of course he is a dedicated “educator,” who never gets tired of clarifying abstract ideas by using everyday metaphors “to reach the masses.” The skill with which he alternates between these different frames of self-reference, taking time to articulate a set of “reasoned” arguments and explanations, simultaneously informing and convincing his viewers, is undoubtedly the key criterion that makes his performance worth watching for “educated” viewers. But the “interpretive contract” between Yasar Nuri Ozturk and his wider, more heterogeneous audiences is based, I would suggest, on the anticipation that there will come a crucial moment in his performance when he will adopt a “combative” or “fighter frame.” Nearly every Friday morning, there comes a dramatic moment when he loses patience and bares his knuckles—boldly standing up (metaphorically) to state the truths that audiences know from elsewhere. This is when Yasar Nuri Ozturk lapses into I (or we becomes an all-inclusive term rather than selfreferential), and he is transformed into a passionate fighter in a battleground of political adversaries, Page 190 → fighting on our behalf—not only those in the studio or home audiences but seemingly for the whole nation. During such “exceptional” moments, the hiatus between Ozturk's “expert” knowledge and the “lay” epistemology of audiences seems to disappear, and the studio participants burst into spontaneous applause (rather than respectful clapping). But of course it is precisely the anticipation of such “exceptional” moments that lends interest to his

television performance and constitutes the highpoint (for lack of a better term) of the Ayse Ozgun Show for most viewers. Ozturk's statements during such moments of high drama are framed within a master binary opposition, which he repeats almost every week, as in the quotation above. “There are two kinds of Islam, one which has been sent by Allah and the other invented.” And the only way of learning the Islam sent by Allah is for everyone to read the Koran. OZTURK:

I have been telling this millet to examine the Koran's original for the past twenty years. I tell them to take it out of chests, bring it down from the attics, and read it. But the man who is supposed to read it does not know Arabic. They have told him, the perpetrators of this racket, don't touch it if you do not know Arabic. This racket, to protect itself, has sanctified Arabic. Now according to these people, what is holy is not Allah's word. It is Arabic letters that are holy. We are saying that what is sacred is the message Cenab-i Hak has sent us. And we can learn this message when we read the Koran in the language we understand. The citizen listens to me and telephones the muftu offices. Can I read the Koran in Turkish? No permission, no such possibility … Ozturk's emphasis on reading the Koran, rather than memorizing and reciting it in Arabic, is obviously a very modernist stance. Ayse Ozgun interprets this as, “Hocam, you want everyone to acquire a Koran [Kuran'i Kerim] and read it from beginning to end.” But as the paragraph above reveals, Ozturk continues to say much more than this. Not only does he bring up the politically charged issue of “vernacularization” and attack its opponents—as “perpetrators of a racket”—but he refers to the office the muftu (which is part of the centralized Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey) directly. When Ozturk begins to attack “those” or “they” who benefit from “invented Islam,” not only do they seem to increase in numbers, but we discover that they are in “our midst.” There are for instance the seytan evliyasi (the devil's saints or emissaries) who are the “profiteers” from Islam. Page 191 → OZTURK:

Now they have brought this contemptible Islam into our midst. Now a Muslim cannot be close to Allah without paying a commission, without mortgaging his mind and belief. Now I am asking this mass, wasn't this mass Muslim before these profiteers came onto the scene? Now no one should expect to get anywhere by bowing [secde] to the devil's saints [seytan evliyasi]. If the Islamic world were to get anywhere by bowing, it would have become the leader [efendi] of the world. Turkey would have become the leader of the world. A mosque is being built every six hours. In six centuries of Ottoman empire, the number of mosques built was around fifteen thousand, in sixty-five years of Republic the number of mosques has exceeded one hundred thousand. Why are they being built? There is something wrong here. Muslims must free themselves from those who first put artificial distances between themselves and God, and then ask for permission to remove them. … The illustrative excerpts above are chosen from particular moments in Ozturk's performance, when his facial expression and gestures imply that he has cast aside what he had come prepared to talk about (as an expert guest), and his voice and intonation suggest that he is now speaking “spontaneously.” Within the anticipatory framework of the Ayse Ozgun Show, “we” (studio audiences, viewers at home, as well as Ayse Ozgun herself) expect and wait (respectfully) for the moment when Ozturk will assume a “fighter” frame, lashing out against the enemies of “real Islam,” rather than elaborating what “real Islam” is. Ayse Ozgun, as a shrewd and experienced producer, knows that such “electric” moments (her term) are crucial for her program ratings. During the interviews, she narrated a “mistake” during the second year of the program: “We decided that instead of telling people to read the Koran, we would read it together on the program, chapter and verse. Our ratings fell immediately, so we gave up after two weeks.” She lamented that “people were not interested in learning the Koran,” immediately qualifying that she would never admit this in public.

Overall, during the five-year period when this particular program was on the air every Friday, Ozturk's language and attacks have become progressively sharper, along with his growing visibility on commercial channels, in a range of other programs. When asked about this, program directors have one answer: “ratings.” Page 192 →

A Heroic Fighter against “Fake” Islam? Moving outward from the microcosm of the Ayse Ozgun Show to draw conclusions about Yasar Nuri Ozturk's “ratings” on commercial television in general is obviously a hazardous task. The foregoing analysis suggests that a crucial component of “watching” him on television is his readiness to assume “a fighter” frame—cutting across different groups of viewers to engage them in a melodramatic conflict between “real” Islam and “corrupt” Islam. What lends him credibility as a “lone fighter” against forces of corruption is the recognition, on the part of diverse audiences, that he is a man of “scientific learning”—that is, that his scholarly knowledge of “real Islam” is formidable. So regardless of how ambivalent or even confused perhaps “we” (as his viewers or as Turkish people) might be about “real Islam,” there can be no doubt about Yasar Nuri Ozturk's own qualifications as a man of prodigious scholarship (since he continuously refers back to his own writings) and his perfect recall of the entire Koran (since he quotes exact words and phrases in Arabic along with their interpretations in Turkish). But most important of course, is the urgency of the ongoing battle in the present, which demands united opposition on the part of different groups of viewers. When Yasar Nuri Ozturk situates himself within a melodramatic conflict between “real” versus “invented/fake” Islam, he does not target “political Islam” directly but only “those people” who distort “real Islam” for their own gain. His true enemies are the “racketeers” or “profiteers” (tezgahlar), which might be translated into the everyday experience of his viewers in a variety of ways. In Turkey of the 1990s, “they” might include Islamic Financial Houses who attract clients by offering “interest-free” banking. Or “those people” may be offshoots of religious orders who channel “great wealth” through foundations (vakif). And as in one of the direct quotations I have given above, “they” might also include people who solicit contributions from “innocent” believers to build a new mosque every other day. So each time Yasar Nuri Ozturk begins to attack “profiteers” and “racketeers” (combined with the viewing experience itself), the timeless opposition between “real versus fake” Islam, one good, the other bad, both acquires fresh urgency and becomes an immediate problem calling for united opposition. But why are (some) “Turkish people” deceived by these profiteers? Why don't they “wake up”? The answer appears to reside in “muddled thinking” either based upon hearsay (kulakdan dolma bilgiler) or “superstition” (hurafe)—terms Yasar Nuri Ozturk often uses interchangeably in his Page 193 → television performances. He frequently dismisses questions about the morality of everyday practices (such as the appropriateness of handshaking between men and women or the permissibility of swimming in mixed beach) as trivial because they amount to no more than “hearsay,” rather than being based upon true knowledge of the Koran. He continuously be-rates his audiences for believing what they hear from others, instead of reading the Koran to decide for themselves by “reasoning.” Similarly, he dismisses such “popular” rituals as visiting shrines of holy men or seeking help from healers as hurafe—superstitions that corrupt “real Islam.” But the distinction between “muddled thinking” and hurafe (an assimilated word from Arabic) also connotes a symbolic hierarchy, between (modern) literate people who are simply confused and the (traditional) illiterate masses who remain steeped in superstition. Hence the word hurafe captures the time-immemorial opposition between the literate culture of Sunni Orthodox Islam and popular Islam of the periphery,24 as well as its numerous reincarnations throughout Republican history—enlightened elite versus the uneducated masses; urban versus rural; modernity versus tradition. So once again, Yasar Nuri Ozturk's battle against hurafe in the immediate urgency of the present becomes part of a ceaseless struggle between orthodoxy and heresy, between enlightenment and backwardness. Yasar Nuri Ozturk's struggle to rescue “real Islam” from hurafe and tezgahlar, then, invokes the familiar tropes of Turkish nationalism, while simultaneously recasting them in the immediacy of the present. In the act of watching him on television, the contradictions, ambivalences, and ambiguities of the couplet secular Muslim recede into the background, as “we” become united in the fight against those perpetuating “fake Islam.”

From Talk Television into the Realm of Public Chatter My interpretation of Yasar Nuri Ozturk's “magical” ratings—the ways he engaged multiple audience segments and knit them together in amoral battle against “fake” Islam—invites a number of well-trodden debates. Foremost, of course, are questions of ideological framing and the possibility of alternative meanings. Then there are “ethnographic” questions of how they become intertwined with everyday cultural practices in different settings. Neither of these questions is answerable in the abstract, as the lengthy pedigree of debates surrounding them suggests. Rather than rehearse these debates, I want to emphasize the ways in which his statements acquired “talk value”25 in different spaces of public circulation. Page 194 → Public arguments acquire their meaning from what is known and anticipated on the part of those who listen, read, or watch. But their publicness also means that they enter into circulation in cross-reference to other arguments, as part of a broader field of citations, controversies, emissions. To assert an argument “publicly” means entering a field of interplay with other discourses, or what Warner describes as “a cross-citational field of many other people speaking.”26 Circulation of arguments in public is therefore a “reflexive process,” he suggests, rather than one of passive relay and mechanical diffusion. Arguments acquire “talk value” as they move in different spaces of circulation, mobilized, reframed, or challenged by interested strategic actors, both dominant and subordinate. What lent “talk value” to Yasar Nuri Ozturk's polemical arguments—beyond his immediate appeal to television audiences—was his readiness to publicly challenge the official stance of Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs on a variety of issues. Since he himself is a product and prominent member of the same establishment, he came under heavy criticism as a “sensationalist” and “publicity seeker” within its closed circles, accused of trivializing serious theological debates for the sake of ratings. But his arguments acquired wider resonance, because they entered the public field amid a multiplicity of critical discourses that targeted the official stance and practices of the Directorate of Religious Affairs.

The “Young Turk” of the Divinity Establishment? Or the Ventriloquist of the Military? In the political conjuncture of the 1990s, the Directorate became a major target of attack for nearly all strategic groups in the political arena. Most immediately, it was targeted by radical discourses emanating from Islamic circles, denounced as an anomalous product of Kemalist authoritarianism and state repression of Islam, in the guise of “secularism.” The Directorate was identified as the site of state coercion, as opposed to “civil” formations of political Islam. Simultaneously, the Directorate also came under vociferous attack by the gathering momentum of “secularist” forces, this time for allowing “Islamists” to infiltrate state bureaucracy and to benefit from its dispensations. Public outcry centered on the growing numbers and the expanding student population in schools for training religious functionaries (imam-hatip schools), where female students attended segregated classes in “covered” uniforms. The Directorate was accused of promoting a parallel educational system based upon sheria principles, through state Page 195 → funding and tutelage. Concurrently, critical voices emanating from Turkey's hitherto invisible Alevi minorities (an estimated 20 percent of Turkey's population) began to be heard in the political arena. Threatened by the electoral success of Welfare Party, Alevi minorities began to publicly criticize state policies for promoting Sunni-Islam as the official state religion, under the guise of “secularism.” The Directorate was accused of using public tax money to subsidize an expanding network of Sunni-orthodox mosques and schools, not to mention a vast centralized bureaucracy, from which Alevite minorities have been excluded by definition. Thus in the neoliberal conjuncture of the 1990s, at a moment of dramatic reductions in state expenditures for welfare and education, not only the ideological role but also the budget and expenditures of the Directorate became a matter of heated controversy—furnishing rich material for columnists and talk-show hosts, as well as academics in the media-saturated environment of the moment. The silence of Turkey's divinity establishment amid raging political controversy—or more accurately perhaps, its efforts to maintain its official status above and outside public debate by refusing to respond to any and all public criticism—created a chasm, a silence if you will. Within this vacuum, Yasar Nuri Ozturk's solo voice was amplified, resonating beyond his immediate audiences, to be picked up and reframed by various strategic actors in

the public arena. His ideas began to make headlines as “sensational news”—because they contradicted the official injunctions of the Directorate. And Yasar Nuri Ozturk himself, ever the publicity seeker, seemed to bask in media attention as his arguments were interpreted and framed as “breaking taboos.” Public speculation began to center on whether he was—as the popular weekly Aktuel put it boldly on its cover story in 1988—“Young Turk of the Divinity Establishment?” or the “Ventriloquist of the Military?” So the drama of “Yasar Nuri Ozturk versus the Directorate of Religious Affairs” acquired an autonomy of its own as a public text, open to alternative political readings. Many of the “radical” ideas he propounded had a lengthy history of ideological struggle behind them. His arguments for vernacularization for instance—such as translating the Arabic call to prayers (ezan) into Turkish, conducting mosque worship in Turkish, or reciting daily ritual prayers (namaz) in Turkish—have been subject to intense debate, negotiation and compromise since the formative decades of Turkish nationalism. But when retold in the media-saturated environment of the 1990s, they became something new—the litmus test of political standing in the immediacy of the present. And as such, they were transposed onto a different Page 196 → plane, reconfigured in the public arena in terms of “people's choice versus state controls.” Whether Yasar Nuri Ozturk was a “hero” or a “false hero” in this struggle remains an open to question. But the drama itself, by repudiating the functionaries of centralized state and calling them to account for interfering with people's choice, offered the potential possibility of “freely choosing” to become united as “secular Muslims.” Perhaps the “magic” of Yasar Nuri Ozturk in the political conjuncture of the 1990s resided in making this impossible dream sound plausible. The “phenomenon of Yasar Nuri Ozturk” then, was the product of a double dynamic. His television audiences embraced him as a way of affirming who “we” are and “what we stand for” as secular Muslims. His statements were mobilized by different constituencies, to concretize ongoing struggles over the issue of “whose interests” the Directorate of Religious Affairs promoted and “what it stood for” in the secular Republic of Turkey. Neither of these is reducible to the other, in the sense of what came before and what came after, or which was primary and which was secondary. What linked them together, in mutual feedback, was the historically specific ways “affair of state” and “affairs of religion” have been, and continue to be, entangled in Turkey. The “phenomenon of Yasar Nuri Ozturk” was both a product of this entanglement and part of its renegotiation in the political conjuncture of the 1990s in Turkey.

Concluding Remarks: The Interpenetration of Popular Media and Politics It is now commonplace to point out how the visual technologies and commodity logic of popular media have undermined the imagined homogeneity of national cultures. It may be the ontology of “liveness” (events unfolding before our very eyes) that annihilates memory and historical knowledge of a common past. It may be the interminable flow of corruption, crime, and catastrophe that unsettles and exposes the fantasy of something called national growth and development. Or it may be the global lexicon of consumerism, continuously animating a fictive world of plenitude and choice—“free” entertainment, “free” opinions, “free” rights—that disrupts the business of making national identities seem self-evident and natural. But because in all of these areas visual media contravene in the seamless unity of the nation and its utopian promise, it becomes increasingly difficult to harness, in the public realm, the dispersal of cultural identifications. At the same time of course, the commercial media offer new modes of Page 197 → engagement with “the national.” Faith in the nation is reborn each time we watch the extraordinary achievements of individuals on television—be they football stars, international award winners, or ordinary people who succeed in the face of insurmountable odds. It is confirmed in daily news bites, as we become informed about threats to the health and well-being of our nation. And the constant circulation of national icons and symbols across a variety of commodity markets both valorizes and reaffirms our belonging in the abstract nation. Thus the visual formats and commodity logic of “popular media” operate in contradictory ways—both producing fantasies of belonging to the shared nation and also displaying and valorizing differences that are considered threatening to its well-being. Subject to the twin pressures of the market and hegemonic visions of the body politic, popular media function as a contradictory site, where possibilities of domination, opposition, and cultural

creation coexist. How these possibilities are played out is contingent on mobilizing the potential (resources and strategies) of contending social actors in the political arena. Thus in the neoliberal political culture of the 1990s in Turkey, the penetration of popular media into daily life, challenged one of the most enduring themes of Turkish nationalism, “we are all secular-Muslims.” The growing visibility of political Islam—sensationalized through a series of “shock events” tumbling across television screens—contravened in the imagined homogeneity of the nation, to rupture the seamless unity of the couplet secular Muslim. At the same time of course, popular media animate new modes of engagement with the abstract nation. Hence I dwelled on how the chimera of who “we” are as “secular Muslims” was reborn on a talk-show program, in thirty minutes of television time. What led me to this particular talk-show program was its celebrity guest, Yasar Nuri Ozturk. He was catapulted into the national limelight through the visual formats of popular television, which foreground personalities rather than issues. Predictably enough, the rituals of popular journalism transformed trivial details about his daily life into (tabloid) news. And given his status as a member of Turkey's Divinity establishment, his “persona” became a readily accessible signpost in ongoing controversies over state Islam. His public addresses provided a repertoire of controversial statements, which were picked up and abridged in journalistic catchphrases, to articulate divergent interpretations of what the Directorate of Religious Affairs stands for and whose interests it serves. Of course in the latter half of the 1990s, there (already) existed a range of strategic interests (both dominant and subordinate) whose political agendas Page 198 → were at odds with the official policies of the Directorate. Within this politically charged context, Yasar Nuri Ozturk's audience ratings and the talk value of his statements was not a matter of temporal ordering (first one, then the other) but politically defined and interactive. His statements entered into public circulation to provide a popular idiom, one that allowed for different interpretations of what the Directorate stood for and whose interests it served. Popular media, then, allow politics to be discussed in a “new” language. I referred to this language as “public chatter” to emphasize that it is embedded in popular culture genres that blend information with entertainment. The question of whether this is to be lamented as the trivialization of public debate or welcomed as a democratic opening of the political process has been subject to a long standing academic debate.27 It is tempting to imbibe in the neatly symmetrical arguments of this well-rehearsed debate. I have deliberately avoided doing so, since its dichotomies dissolve as soon as one attempts to engage with unfolding events on the ground. And the foregone conclusion becomes a plea for more nuanced approaches that take into account the complexity of actual practices or a criticism of such binary concepts as “popular” versus “serious,” “tabloid” versus “critical” journalism, and so forth. So I have tried to avoid the stalemates of this debate by offering a highly contextualized account throughout this essay. But my effort to understand how the dizzying expansion of popular/commercial media both destabilized and reconfigured the trope of a “secular Muslim” in the political conjuncture of the 1990s in Turkey poses a specific issue. Many favorable accounts of popular media have argued that it facilitates political debate by providing a link or bridge between everyday language and existential lives of “ordinary” people and the institutional realm of politics. My own analysis makes it evident that the personality-centered, market-driven nature of “public chatter” does not provide a substitute for informed political debate. But because “public chatter” straddles the boundary between the institutional realm of politics and daily existence, it provides new discursive spaces where abstract concepts such as secularism acquire concrete referents. Thus the anomalies of dominant discourses (such as “we are all secular-Muslims”) become questionable. At the same time, however, the very “concreteness” of public chatter means that it is rapidly exhausted. Public chatter does not seem to develop toward a resolution but rapidly shifts focus. Its longevity seems indexed to the novelty-seeking agenda of popular media. So the important question is not whether public chatter represents a Page 199 → form of democratization, or downgrading of serious debate, but whether it makes any difference beyond the immediacy of transitory events and celebrities. I belabor this point, because the subject and object of my analysis in this essay, Yasar Nuri Ozturk, has since

disappeared from the public limelight. His “magical relationship” with television audiences came to an abrupt end in 2002, when he succumbed to the lure of party politics and announced his candidacy on the ranks of CHP (Republican People's Party) six months before the national elections of November 4, 2002. He was elected to parliament, but as a member of opposition. So he dropped from the public lime-light, to suffer the common fate of deputies from opposition parties, namely, obscurity. In the constant progression of subsequent events, the explosion of public chatter on the practices of the Directorate of Religious Affairs seems to have receded into history. Since then the Justice and Development Party that first swept into power in the general elections of 2002 was reelected in a landslide victory in 2007. Now, exactly ten years after the closure of the Refah Party (which I narrated at the very beginning of this essay), the Constitutional Court is deliberating a petition to shut down AKP—over its decision to legalize headscarves in state universities. And at the moment of this writing (in June 2008) public chatter and political controversy is focused on “the headscarf issue.” But of course it is the very concreteness of “the headscarf” that renders it such an immediate and potent subject of public chatter and public drama. Embedded in this drama are precisely the kinds of ambiguities and strains that produced “the phenomenon of Yasar Nuri Ozturk” in the latter half of the 1990s. Both “the headscarf” and “Directorate of Religious Affairs” are about the boundaries between religion and secularity. In the sense, public chatter is about what really matters—the question of who “we” are, and what we stand for, as “secular,” Muslim, democratic, modern, citizen consumers.

NOTES 1. Colin Jager, “After the Secular: The Subject of Romanticism,” Public Culture 18, no. 2 (2006): 301–14, at 301. 2. Talal Assad, Formations of the Secular (Bloomington, IN: Stanford University Press, 2003). 3. Peter Van der Veer, Imperial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001). 4. Lila Abu-Lughod, “The Interpretation of Culture(s) after Television,” Representations Page 200 → 59 (1997): 109–34; Elizabeth Bird, The Audience in Everyday Life (New York: Routledge, 2003). 5. During the intervening three years, that is, between 1995 and 1998, which I have left out of my story, the Welfare Party formed a coalition government with the Dogru Yol (True Path) Party, in which Necmettin Erbakan became the prime minister in July 1996. The ensuing secular-Islamist showdown eventually led to the resignation of Erbakan only one year after he came to power. The military entered into the picture on February 28, 1997, when the National Security Council issued a long list of measures targeting “reactionary Islam” (irtica). The ruling of the Constitutional Court that closed down the Welfare Party, in 1998, became known as the February 28 process. Soon after, the successor to the Welfare Party, Fazilet (Virtue Party), was established. Any discussion of these events far exceeds my own purposes here and have already been subject to much analysis and interpretation (e.g., Sencer Ayata, “Changes in Domestic Politics and the Foreign Policy Orientation of the AK Party,” in The Future of Turkish Foreign Policy, ed. L. G. Martin and D. Kerides [Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002], 243–76). What I hope to convey through my own story of Erbakan's famous or infamous statement is the very urgency of political events tumbling upon one another during the latter half of the 1990s. Any attempt to understand the engagement of television audiences with Yasar Nuri Ozturk's arguments must take into account the rapidity with which these political events unfolded, and the pervasive sense of doubt, uncertainty, or crisis they generated. To put it simply, the metamorphosis of Yasar Nuri Ozturk into a television celebrity occurred concurrently with these events, rather than before or after. 6. Aziz Al Azmeh, Islams and Modernities (London: Verso, 1993). 7. A full review of this literature is not possible within the confines of this essay. But a recent book by Hakan Yavuz entitled Islamic Political Identity in Turkey (Oxford University Press, 2003) serves as a perfect example. Yavuz asserts, “By sup-pressing Islam, the state ruptured the formative ties between politics and culture, and this estranged the majority of the population from the state” (267). Thus, “the history of modern Turkey is the story of the struggle between the values of the Kemalist state and the values

of a Muslim society” (257). The vicious cycle of sub-mergence/resurgence implied in Yavuz's analysis is one that haunts much of the literature on dilemmas of democracy in Muslim societies. In this vicious cycle, “democracy” necessitates the submergence of Islam, yet the submergence of Islam is undemocratic and feeds into “authoritarianism.” 8. See, for instance, Aziz Al Azmeh, Islams and Modernities; Sami Zubaida, “Turkish Islam and National Identity,” in Middle East Report, April–June 1996, 10–15. 9. For a broader discussion, with detailed examples from third- and eighth-grade history readers during 1988–89, see Sam Kaplan, “‘Religious Nationalism': A Textbook Case from Turkey,” in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 25, no. 3 (2005): 665–76. Kaplan's study emphasizes how the entire school curriculum immerses young children in the military ethos of Kemalism by invoking the symbolism of the Muslim faith. My own choice of two specific courses for “illustration” has a very mundane explanation. I was enrolled in these courses as Page 201 → a young child in the 1950s, and thirty years later, in the 1980s, when my two children began primary school, I discovered how little their contents had changed. 10. Families who wish to provide more extensive Koranic education for their children can send them to courses organized and monitored by the centralized Directorate of Religious Affairs, which ensures that scriptural interpretation does not violate the adages of “secularism.” In 1994, there were 4,925 Koranic schools all over the country, with 5,295 teachers and 176,892 regular and 52,028 evening-school students. The number of children attending summer courses reached 1,500,000 (Sencer Ayata, “Patronage, Party, and State: The Politicization of Islam in Turkey,” Middle East Journal 50, no. 1 [1996]: 40–56). The tasks of the Directorate include the training of all teachers employed on various rungs of the educational ladder, as well as the imams appointed to mosques as salaried public employees. The top officials of this organization, including its director, are products of the numerous theology faculties where Islamic scholarship is pursued as part of the national university system. 11. William Mazzarella, “Very Bombay: Contending with the Global in an Indian Advertising Agency,” Cultural Anthropology 18, no. 1 (2003): 33–71. 12. There is a vast literature on Turkey's neoliberal turn. For an overview and extensive bibliography, see Umit Cizre-Sakallioglu and Erinc Yeldan, “Politics, Society, and Financial Liberalization: Turkey in the 1990s,” Development and Change 31 (2000): 481–508. On the rise of an “Islamic economy” during this period see Ayse Bugra, Islam in Economic Organizations (Istanbul: TESEV Publications, 1999), and Ziya Onis, “The Political Economy of Islamic Resurgence in Turkey: The Rise of the Welfare Party in Perspective,” Third World Quarterly 18, no. 4 (1997): 743–66. 13. Anna Tsing, “Inside the Economy of Appearances,” Public Culture 12, no. 1 (2000): 115–44. 14. The fifteen-year armed conflict between armed Kurdish dissidents and the Turkish military, which claimed more than thirty thousand lives, was never officially recognized. The official rhetoric of “anarchy” and “fight against terrorism” that was deployed from the mid-1980s until the end of the 1990s cast a cloak of silence over the political trauma of mass deportations, empty villages, and large cities flooded by refugees from the war zone. The military—its budget, operations, expenditures—remained (and remains) outside the boundaries of public debate. Direct censorship of news about the war—in which more than 2.5 million young men were immediately involved in the fighting—meant that reporting was confined to the ups and downs of seemingly scattered “terrorist incidents.” 15. What John Langer (Tabloid Television: Popular Journalism and the “Other News” [New York: Routledge, 1998]) describes as “the other news” or “tabloid news” has been the main fare of prime-time news programming since the mid-1990s in Turkey. 16. John Ellis, “Television as Working-Through,” in Television and Common Knowledge, ed. Jostein Gripsrud (New York: Routledge, 1999). 17. The concept of a “super subject” was developed by Morse (Margaret Morse, “The Television News Personality and Credibility: Reflections on the News in Transition,” in Studies in Entertainment: Critical Approaches to Mass Culture, Page 202 → ed. T. Modleski [Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1986], 55–79) with specific reference to television news personalities. Although television producers use the word magic to describe Yasar Nuri Ozturk's appeal to audiences, I prefer to avoid Weber's notion of charisma, used by Marshall (P. D. Marshall, Celebrity and Power: Fame in Contemporary Culture [Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1999]) to discuss the celebrity phenomenon in general. Morse's

concept of a “super-subject” emphasizes the significance of direct address on television, in the subjective, conversational mode, which brings into play the powerful codes of equality and reciprocity in everyday talk. She suggests that when a super-subject speaks to me, the truth conditions or rules of verification of “secondary” or mediated experience are suspended, and what he says assumes the paramount reality of direct experience. On how this is accomplished through visual signs, see Anders Johansen, “Credibility and Media Development,” in Television and Common Knowledge, ed. Jostein Gripsrud (London: Routledge, 1999). 18. For a discussion of how Yasar Nuri Ozturk's scholarly credentials set him apart, both from the notables of the state divinity establishment in Turkey (a closed community of scriptural scholarship) and also from the publicly visible “Islamist intellectuals” whose antiestablishment “radical” rhetoric identifies them with political Islam, see Esra Ozcan, “New Configurations of Islam in Contemporary Turkey: The Case of Yasar Nuri Ozturk,” MA thesis, Bogazici University, 2000. 19. For three excellent books that offer grounded analyses of how Islam has penetrated the public culture and everyday experience of the 1990s decade in Turkey, see Ayse Saktanber, Living Islam: Women, Religion, and the Politicization of Culture in Turkey (London: I. B. Tauris, 2002); Yael Navaro-Yashin, Faces of State: Secularism and Public Life in Turkey (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002); and Jenny B. White, Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: A Study in Vernacular Politics (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002). For a broader comparative perspective on the politics of Islam in Turkey, see Sami Zubaida, “Trajectories of Political Islam: Egypt, Iran, and Turkey,” in Religion and Democracy, ed. David Marquant and Ronald Nettler (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000). 20. The size and composition of studio audiences, for instance, can range from a “living room” with predominantly middle-class women, all the way to “town meetings” with a conscious mix of gender and age groups from different class backgrounds. Studio audiences may engage in a shouting match among themselves or act as polite commentators, or their function may be limited to a select few who wait for their turn at the microphone to recite a prepared statement on a particular position. The implied dynamic between “expert guests” (representing scientific knowledge) vis-à-vis studio audiences (representing ordinary common sense) can be that of a one-sided deference. Or the entire program may be orchestrated (by the host /hostess) so that the status expertise is challenged by real-life testimonials and exposed as trivial or pompous. And since the host/hostess is the trademark of the talk-show genre, his or her choice and handling of topics as well as performative style are crucial to the success of the formula. For an attempt to classify various “subtypes” of talk shows on Dutch television, see Andrea Leurdijk, “Common Sense versus Political Discourse: Debating Racism and Multicultural Society in Dutch Talk-Shows,” European Journal of Communication 12, no. 2 (1997): 147–68. Leurdijk underlines that talk shows broadcast on Dutch television have tripled between Page 203 → 1991 and 1997, and range from “audience discussion shows,” “political interview and debating programs,” to “chat shows” and consumer/service shows (magazines). But similar to Turkish television, Dutch imitations of American-style daytime talk shows have been relatively rare. For a theoretical discussion of the talk show as a television genre, see Paolo Carpignano, Robin Anderson, Stanley Aronowitz, and William Difazio, “Chatter in the Age of Electronic Reproduction: Talk Television and the ‘Public Mind,'” Social Text 25/26 (1990): 33–55. On the appeal of talk shows to home audiences, see Sonia Livingstone and P. K. Lunt, Talk on Television: The Critical Reception of Audience Discussion Programs (London: Routledge, 1994). 21. Ayse Ozgun was in the United States during the 1980s when she became a fan of Phil Donohue. So she defines her “ideal” as Donohue, and “definitely not Oprah.” Her talk show went off the air in 2000, when competing channels introduced “entertainment shows” with female singers and female audiences, and her ratings fell. 22. The “analysis” I offer is essentially based on video recordings of ten programs broadcast on different Fridays between 1998–2000, “randomly” selected by the archivists of the ATV channel. I have transcribed these into writing, as well as watching them repeatedly—alone, with students, as well as with colleagues willing to spare the time. I have also interviewed Ayse Ozgun at length and had to “reciprocate” by becoming an “expert guest” on one of her programs. I have deliberately avoided interviewing Yasar Nuri Ozturk himself. 23. Ayse Ozgun describes her involvement with television in terms of “reaching the people.” She “wants to do something for this country.” But she also admits, “We have not been able to reach the mass” (kitleye

inmeyi basaramadik). One of her illustrations: “I was in the south, stopped and got out of the car. People were picking cotton in the heat with Omo [detergent] cartons on their heads. They all came rushing to embrace me. They watch my program. But when I ask, ‘do you do what we say?' they mumble ‘things are different here.'” So Ayse Ozgun is the proto-type—almost a caricature—of modern/modernizing woman of her generation. Her life story and the ingredients of her success as a talk-show hostess are interesting in their own right, but beyond the immediate concerns of this essay. 24. According to Serif Mardin (Din ve Ideoloji [Istanbul: Iletisim, 1997]) the word hurafe has been in circulation since the end of the nineteenth century, with more or less the same connotations, i.e., used to dismiss all popular beliefs and practices associated with oral traditions of “folk” Islam as “superstition.” 25. A term I borrow from Michael Warner, “Publics and Counterpublics,” Public Culture 14, no. 1 (2002): 49–90. 26. Michael Warner, “Publics and Counterpublics,” 66. 27. Colin Sparks, “The Panic over Tabloid News,” in Tabloid Tales: Global Debates Over Media Scandals, ed. C. Sparks and D. Hallin (Oxford: Rowman and Little, 2000), 1–40; J. Gripsrud, “Tabloidization, Popular Journalism and Democracy,” in Tabloid Tales: Global Debates Over Media Standards, ed. C. Sparks and D. Hallin (Oxford: Rowman and Little, 2000), 285–300; Mine Gencel Bek, “Tabloidization of News Media: An Analysis of Television News in Turkey,” European Journal of Communication 19 (2004): 371–86.

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8 The Visual/Textual Marginalization of “Muslim Women” in Secular Democratic India, 1985–2001 SABINA KIDWAI Secularism in postindependence India has been defined as the legacy of the Nehruvian era, which in turn was shaped by the independence struggle led by the Congress Party with Jawaharlal Nehru at its helm. It emerged from a strong desire of the founding fathers not to define national identities in terms of religion, so as to lay to rest the violence of Partition (the division of British India into two separate nation-states of India and Pakistan on grounds of religious difference). But in the last fifty years, the so-called national secular fabric of the country has gradually been eroded by the public and political assertion of conflicting religious identities. The 1980s saw these conflicts enter the secular public sphere, while the 1990s saw the entry of organized, religious sectarian forces. The Shah Bano controversy,1 the Satanic Verses controversy,2 the demolition of the Babri Masjid,3 and the emergence of the Hindu Right as an integral part of the social political fabric together created new polarized identities in the public sphere. These new identities questioned the very essence of secular nationhood; religion and politics were developing a nexus underestimated by the secularists of the country. This transformative era was also one of media transformation, marked combination of new technologies, regulatory shifts, and a changing culture of journalism. Particularly with the advent of non-state-produced television news (up until the late 1980s, all television news was produced by state officials in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting), visual images came to acquire their own space and power. As identities became more polarized, Page 205 → images and texts in the media also became more rigidly defined. The emergence of television news added the potential of visual presentation of stories, allowing for many interpretations to emerge. Images came to represent communities and cultures, and this process of visual definition allowed singular images to emerge, collapsing and eventually erasing multiplicity and diversity. In the era of the singular media image, secularism came to be represented as distinct visual images of different communities that lived in harmony. These images were the beginning of many of the popularly held stereotypes, especially for minority groups like the Muslim community. On the other hand certain groups disappeared from the visual public sphere. Muslim women were one such category. The media as an integral part of the public sphere defined and redefined this group (indeed, constituted them as a singular group), debated and analyzed issues related to them, but also silenced their voices and consequently their presence as meaningful public agents. To understand the political implications of their representation, and to thus explore the paradox of how media assertions of secularism rely upon images of religious minorities that erase their subjectivity even as they claim to protect and support them, is the purpose of this essay. The need to understand the representation of Muslim women arises from the fact that they have often been used as visual representations in the public sphere to define the Muslim community. They combine in them-selves the images of the Muslim community both in India and in the Islamic world—they are the victims of Islamic fundamentalism and also its most important signifier. Their visual representation often allows both the secularists and the fundamentalists to define them, narrowly, as women confined only to their religious community. In the Western media Islamic resurgence is seen as the chief perpetrator of atrocities against women. Muslim women have been represented as silent victims, with Islam and Muslim men representing the return of the barbaric medieval Arab. In the Indian context Muslim women remain firmly grounded in minority politics with the media perceiving their role to be only within the community. In its representation of Muslim women, the Indian media's textual practices seem to be in tune with the “given order” of the society in which it is embedded—it reinforces dominant norms and understandings of Islam and Muslim women in India. Media studies argue that the structure of news reporting and notions of news value may require that a minority or nonelite groups within any community have to engage in “negative” behavior before they are noticed by the media—they can make it to the news only when they are presented as a problem. The Muslim community seems

to make it to the news only on Page 206 → controversial issues, with Muslim women and Muslim Personal Law being an integral part of this negative coverage. Consequently, biased media coverage legitimates dominant misunderstandings of Muslims and Islam in Indian society. This paper is based on a study undertaken in 2002,4 using materials from three national English newspapers—the Times of India, the Hindu, the Hindustan Times—a popular English magazine India Today, and the News-track and Eyewitness television series, for the period between 1985 to 2001. In addition, representation of Muslim women in news programs and talk shows on television was also considered.5 It was evident that in the period at hand (1985–2001), media coverage of the Muslim minority community focused its attention on religion and linked all problems of the community to its religious faith. This was a period of diverse political and social changes. Communal politics had acquired a volatile face and a definite identity, majority and minority conflicts increased, and Muslim women came to represent only their community. Secularism receded to a pacification of all religions. Even social issues common to all women came to be debated and discussed as issues of concern specific to the Muslim community when any case involved a Muslim woman. The term Muslim woman came to be rigidly defined during these two decades, a term that negated all her other multiple identities. Media reportage reflected the same trend irrespective of whether the issue was Muslim Personal Law or the demolition of the Babri Masjid or the emergence of “Islamic terrorism.” The media, as well as its representations of reality, has been as affected as individuals by the rightward ideological shift of the 1980s and 1990s, and its power and influence have ensured that many of the media's ideological constructs have now become embedded as immutable truths in the minds of its consumers. A survey was done in 2001 in eleven Delhi colleges to judge the students' perspective on terms like Islamic terrorism and Jihad and on issues related to Muslim women. The majority of the respondents, especially the non-Muslim respondents, identified media print and television as their major source of information. Images of the Muslim woman as a victim of Islam, and Islamic terrorism, were what the respondents identified with. Many of the non-Muslim respondents even asserted that since they did not interact with Muslims in their daily life they did feel that images fed by the media were correct and the right perspective. The perspective of the Muslim woman as only a victim of Muslim Personal Law was strong, and many of the respondents reduced all her problems to her unequal relationship within Islam. However, the result of the survey only reflected a trend evident since Page 207 → 1985. Be it the Shah Bano controversy, or the issue of child brides of Hyderabad, or the issue of triple talaq, or the forced veiling of Kashmiri women, media attention has accorded priority only to the religious and national political ramifications of these issues. In fact issues related to Muslim women only received media attention when they involved a legal and religious controversy. A study of this period also reflects that Muslim women only appeared in the news when there was a religious controversy and then also mainly as a subject to be debated. Even where the media sought to support the struggles of Muslim women for their rights, it nevertheless blocked out them and their opinions. When issues with clear socioeconomic dimensions arose, media representations ensured that they acquired a religious dimension, by which Muslim women's struggles were believed to affect only the men and religious leaders of their community. The origins of this kind of reportage can be traced to the Shah Bano controversy during the 1980s, which had an important bearing on subsequent representation of Muslim women. In the secular and political history of India, the Shah Bano controversy has often been referred to as a land-mark in the shifting of majority-minority relations, and the beginning of an acceptance of communal politics as a credible political trend. It brought to the fore many fundamental legal questions about personal law, secular statutes, and the relationship between the two. In terms of political mobilization, it represents both a watershed in the Indian state's compromise with forces of religious sectarianism, as well as a new phase of the Indian women's movement, in which it began to launch struggles to uplift the status of women under personal laws. In this changing political scenario the media played its own role. The media gave Muslim women a specific religious identity and strengthened it as the only identity. It started the process of establishing a public image of the crisis of Muslim women and the community. The issue received considerable attention in the press, both qualitatively and quantitatively, in news items, editorials, articles, and letters.

The English press, in both its news reports and editorials, professed to be largely supportive of the judgment. Reportage emphasized the need to retain the secular nature of the Indian Constitution, a Uniform Civil Code, and equality before law. It positioned itself as sympathetic to the cause of Muslim women and highlighted the opinions of the progressive Muslim intelligentsia. At the same time, the influence of stereotypical political and social beliefs was evident, as in many cases this sympathy for Muslim women was coupled with a growing hostility toward the community of Muslim males (especially in the editorials of the Times of India and the Hindustan Times).6 Page 208 → Furthermore, even the sympathy for Muslim women themselves, in many instances, appeared to be a response to the traditional stereotype of Muslim woman as a victim. In fact the media coverage was marked by an almost complete absence of Muslim women. Hardly any of the editorials or editorial page articles dealt with issues on and by Muslim women. No survey or field analysis was done to ascertain Muslim women's responses to the judgment. The political, religious, legal, and sociological aspects of this issue became dominant, and the women themselves remained silent spectators. Media reports depicted the controversy between contending sides as a debate on the different interpretations of the provisions of the Shariat, rather than as a debate about women's rights. Articles and editorials discussed various aspects of Muslim Personal Law—whether the bill was the correct interpretation of the Shariat, whether verbal instantaneous talaq has religious sanction, and whether the nikahnama was a contract that terminates on divorce—and assumed that the Muslim community was a monolith, defined only by one unifying factor, Islam, and not by reference to other Indians. A logical consequence of this was that the media introduced into the debate discussions about the status of Muslim women in various Islamic countries and directed it in the direction of concern about Islamic fundamentalism. Although the Shah Bano issue was essentially a gender issue about the claims by a seventy-year-old woman for her rights, the courage this took never occupied the epicenter of media attention. Instead, some media reports subjected Shah Bano's struggles, her age, and her background to ridicule. They devoted themselves to demonstrating that Shah Bano was hardly the icon of the struggles for women's equality that progressive movements were making her out to be. Ammu Joseph and Kalpana Sharma critiquing the reportage also referred to many reports and articles that openly ridiculed Shah Bano's class and consequently negated the support of the women's movement to the judgment. A number of columnists also wrote sexist pieces about “how there is a woman who has given a headache to many people and how only the woman herself does not get a headache.”7 Television reportage followed the same pattern as the English press, but as the controversy heated up the visual image of a wizened old Shah Bano gradually gave way to the powerful universal images of burkha-clad women, mosques, and so on. Thus during this period we find the gradual erosion of the individual identity of a Muslim woman and superimposition of a blurred homogeneous identity of a universal Muslim woman. The Shah Bano controversy marks the end of a period in which Page 209 → women's aspirations could be articulated in terms of gender, class, and citizenship. By the time the issue played itself out, religion became a major issue to be addressed in the struggle. The emergence of this new factor was aided in no small way by the role the media played in reporting and commenting on the Shah Bano controversy. Its failure to foreground the gender questions inherent in the Shah Bano issue, its location of Muslim women within the community and Islamic law, its highlighting fundamentalist opinion, and its mockery of progressive movements aided the creation of public stereotypes of a monolithic Islam and Islamic identity. In the decades to follow, these came to be the stereotypes invoked by majority and minority fundamentalism forces for the communalization of Indian society. The reportage of this issue, followed by the Satanic Verses8 controversy in 1989, aided in reinforcing the myth of a universal Islam and an “Islamic resurgence which was sweeping the world.” The media in its exaggerations of “sweeping fatwas” and its support to the cause of the Ramjanambhoomi issue helped to give further legitimacy to the right-wing Hindu forces whose viewpoint came to dominate the politics of the 1990s. In the 1990s the media carried on the legacy of the Shah Bano controversy. The 1990s opened with a social

problem of “marriage of young girls to Arab nationals in Hyderabad.” The sale of young women for the survival of the parental family is a feature common to many parts of India. It is, in particular, a major social problem in Hyderabad, where poverty and illiteracy, combined with hope for a better life, induces many parents to marry their young girls to Arabs for a small bride-price. The practice has an unusual social legitimacy fueled by complex factors such as poverty, dowry demands, large families, lack of education, and a feudal culture. The issue attracted the attention of the media in August 1991, when a thirteen-year-old girl, Ameena, was rescued by an air hostess, Amrita Ahluwalia, from a sixty-year-old Arab national who professed to have legally married the child. Media reports on the issue centered on the descriptions of the young child, the practice of child marriage, and the legal sanctions of such a marriage in Islam. Certain newspapers like the Times of India and the Hindustan Times, though sympathetic to the child, tended to focus on Ameena's religion and that of the Arab national, making it more predominant than their individual identity. Most reports were sympathetic to the traumatized child, even though, in order to emphasize the tragedy, explicit details were given of the young child's appearance: “‘Mehndi' adorned small palms, imitation jewellery around her neck and ears made Ameena a child bride, traded for a decent marriage for the sake of her five Page 210 → other sisters and financial security for her parents.” Linked to these descriptions was the constant reference to her Muslim identity such as “she clutched the burkha in one hand.” References to Ameena's “husband,” Yahya H. M. Al Segeih, were pre-dominantly as “sheikh” rather than Arab national, perhaps because the former had the connotation of wealth combined with archaic feudalism. This reference continued to be used long after it was proven that the groom was a mechanic and not a sheikh. Once the defense counsel pleaded that the accused was governed by Muslim Personal Law, the focus of news reports immediately shifted from one of child exploitation to whether Islam sanctified such marriages. In particular, the Hindustan Times and the Times of India debated these issues quite extensively, with interviews with clerics clarifying that child marriage was not permitted in Islam, and that a nikah is not allowed without the consent of the girl. Defensive reactions of various Muslim clergy were quoted, thus narrowing the debate to whether child marriage was permitted in Islam or not rather than the crucial issue of “child marriage” itself. Even articles that sought to situate the issue in its historical context ended up reemphasizing that the social evils of child marriage were found only in the Muslim community of Hyderabad. Statements such as “Official sources say on an average around 150 marriages take place between the visiting Arabs and local girls every year. The authorities have little role to play in such marriages as they are performed as per Islamic law”9 helped locate the issue firmly within the Muslim community. The image of an oppressed Muslim girl got firmly established in the minds of the people, an image that still finds reflection in reports about the issue even today. The Hindu in comparison with the Hindustan Times and the Times of India took a more progressive stand—the paper steered the discussion away from debates about Islamic law and the Indian Muslim community, choosing to interpret the issue as reflective of the degraded social status of women and female children in India. However, here the readership of the Hindu is less wide and diverse than the Hindustan Times and the Times of India, so the impact of its positive coverage was limited. Media coverage was also marked by an overwhelming support for Amrita Ahluwalia, and she was projected as the savior of a poor Muslim girl. However, despite the support for Amrita Ahluwalia, every detail of her personal life—including her divorce and her suicide attempt—was high-lighted. Thus even here the personal life of a woman was opened to scrutiny, insidiously raising doubts about her being a morally responsible person. Page 211 → Thus, media responses to the Ameena incident exhibit the same trends as in the Shah Bano case, including placing the young Muslim girl firmly within the context of the community, a constant homogenizing of the Muslim community irrespective of cultural and regional differences, and the portrayal of the Muslim woman as a victim. However, only one aspect of this controversy remained positive; the involvement of the women's organization was

also reported by the English press. But this marginal understanding was missing in the case of television reportage. The visual image of a young Muslim girl with a burkha started the trend of creating a faceless voiceless image of the Muslim woman. In the years to come this image dominated many of the representations of the Muslim community. On December 6, 1992, the country witnessed one of its greatest attacks on the foundational principles of secularism when the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished by the forces of Hindu fundamentalism. The whole country was shaken by the riots that followed, and the resulting insecurity in the Muslim minority reinforced an insular obsession with what the community considered to be its identity signifier—Muslim Personal Law. The polarization post-1992 on religious lines between Hindus and Muslims ensured that liberal opposition to Muslim fundamentalism was quelled, and Hindu fundamentalism in turn provided a legitimacy to Muslim fundamentalism. In the decade that followed the case of women's equality was sacrificed at the altar of Muslim fundamentalism, and questions of rights on divorce and the issue of polygamy graced the headlines of newspapers throughout this decade. The years 1993 and 1994 were crucial in this regard. In the media reports of this conflictual debate on Muslim Personal Law, the image of the Muslim woman was frequently used to symbolize anything but her community. She acquired a facelessness never seen before. She was debated, analyzed, condemned, and reformed, but she never existed in flesh and blood. As the debates around her raged on, she was devoid of her individuality as well as her rights. At best, she was an object of sympathy, at worst a pawn to be used at will in the interest of fundamentalism. Over a hundred news reports, articles, and editorials appeared in 1993 and 1994 about her subjugation by Muslim Personal Law through the provision of “verbal instantaneous talaq” or “triple talaq” as it came to be known. The actual quantum of coverage was the highest in the Hindustan Times, followed by the Times of India and then the Hindu and India Today. Television and video magazines sensationalized the issue, using her oppression to study the community as a whole. Certain articles though sympathetic to Muslim women located triple talaq as the central focus of all Page 212 → their problems. Articles did appear that looked at the issue from a secular perspective, but these were few and far between, and these too were liberally laced with the phrase “talaq, talaq, talaq.” In fact after 1993, the phrase “talaq, talaq, talaq” became a common phrase to describe the Muslim system of divorce. Accompanied by dramatic pictures of veiled oppression, the Muslim divorcée came to signify a universal Muslim woman. Some articles did mention individual cases, but most were written with sweeping generalizations about Muslim Personal Law. In this regard media reporting on the property dispute of Rahmatullah and Khatoon Nisa in 1994 is very significant. The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court under Justice Tilihari declared invalid Ms. Khatoon Nisa's twenty-five-year-old divorce from her husband, Mr. Rahmatullah, while considering a case related to the declaration of proposed surplus land under the UP Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1960. Khatoon Nisa was divorced from her husband by a deed of divorce on September 15, 1969, and the land divided between them. However the authorities in 1982 declared the land as surplus after clubbing both the portions together for purposes of computation under the act. The authorities had disbelieved the deed of divorce based on oral triple talaq stating that the deed was “collusive and meant to prevent the authorities from declaring the land as surplus.” The case was thus a property dispute, but Justice Tilhari's ruling that the practice of oral triple talaq was unconstitutional rendered the divorce invalid. Consequently their property would be taken as one. Many of the reports, articles, and editorials were sympathetic but superficial in their analysis. The lack of information and the inadequate research was first and foremost demonstrated in the coverage of Justice Tilhari's judgment, where it was made to appear that the case centered around the issue of triple talaq, rather than that it actually was a property dispute. The judgment, contrary to popular belief, was hardly pro-woman as it deprived a Muslim woman of her property, because the Land Ceiling Act clubs the woman's property with that of the husband. Flavia Agnes in her book Law and Gender Inequality says, “The media reportage led to a misconception that the High Court had upheld a Muslim woman's petition challenging Triple Talaq and had protected her rights and consequently the rights of all Muslim women. The implications of the judgment upon the woman concerned received scant media attention.” Agnes further goes on to describe the judgment in relation to the Land Ceiling Act and says, “The preoccupation with gender justice seems to be limited to the issue of Muslim women and

Triple Talaq and does not extend to issues of gender discrimination under the Land Ceiling Act. The provision of clubbing a Page 213 → married woman's property with that of her husband is blatantly anti-woman and smacks of European medievalism. It is based on the premise that the husband and wife are one unit (and that unit is the husband) and the unit is of permanent nature. … Incidentally the Muslim law does not recognize the concept of the merging of the wife's assets with that of her husband.”10 Moreover, the debate about Muslim divorce laws was reduced to talaq in one sitting or in three sittings, ignoring the social and economic pressures it brings with it. The man's unilateral right to say talaq remained intact and so did his right to polygamy. Most articles were accompanied by photographs of veiled women or women praying. Often these pictures were in black and white, dramatic and sensational, a victim, a woman shrouded in mystery, an Orientalist image of the Islamic woman. Although many of these articles were written with a certain degree of concern (often by well-known journalists), in order to get audience attention they portrayed the accepted stereotype image. Far more than the coverage of similar issues in 1993, media coverage of 1994 imposed solitary confinement on the Muslim woman. Khatoon Nisa, the protagonist of the judgment, did not really figure in the reports, nor did the issue of property rights. Editorials in the Times of India and the Hindustan Times, however, took a progressive stand, supportive of the cause of Muslim women. The need for reform was emphasized, but here again there was a failure to recognize the details of the judgment. The issue of property was neither questioned nor highlighted; instead minority identity, community insecurities, and the failure of Muslim liberals to take a stand received critical comment. During this controversy television images came into their own. Doordarshan was the main television channel but as it was considered the mouthpiece of the government, in popular perception it was rated by many as incapable of impartial reporting. There was a tendency to have faith in private newsmagazines, such as Newstrack and Eyewitness, which combined investigative journalism with sensationalism. They publicized themselves as bringing the truth to the people, reporting and analyzing events with an unbiased mind. These newsmagazines displayed special interest in the Muslim community due to the polarized stand between the leaders of the Hindu and Muslim communities in the post-Demolition period. Muslims were a subject to be investigated, and so was the issue of Muslim Personal Law. The ability of television stories to compile complex events into small segments allows for far greater stereotyping than the print media. This stereotyping was not only limited to women; it cast the whole community into a mould with which we even relate today. Large masses of Muslims Page 214 → praying, Jama Masjid, women in burqa, women praying, feudal havelis/mansions are all images with which we are very familiar today and we take as representative of the Muslim community. Reports around the talaq issue were the beginning of these images. Newstrack in the story “Talaq time for Reform” has the anchor Manoj Raghuvanshi standing against a backdrop visual of Muslim women praying with their heads covered. His opening statement sets the tone: “‘Talaq, Talaq, Talaq'—millions of Muslim women live in fear and insecurity.” The narrative is accompanied by visuals of Jama Masjid, women in burqa, women reading the namaz. Similarly, Eyewitness introduces its story on the talaq issue as “Our uncensored story on Islam.” The anchor Sharmila Tagore says, “In October we tried to show you a story on Islam but it was censored; now it has been passed.” The reporter begins her story with a few instances of atrocities against Muslim women. Although these stories are sensitively documented, the whole style of reporting is dramatic and sensational. The reporter introduces the subject by dramatically highlighting cases—“20 year old Ishrat's marriage only lasted for 15 days, she was sent back to her parents' house for not getting enough dowry and a letter was sent pronouncing Talaq, Talaq, Talaq. Asma was married for 4 years, her husband got a second wife, she could not say anything.” The story is full of visuals of destitute Muslim women, burqa-clad and burdened with social pressures. A large number of visuals are used in the story of women praying, as though appealing to a faith that has little to offer. The story then gets into the debate about what is allowed in Islam and how the religion has been misinterpreted to exploit women. She does not even explore any other alternative idea of looking at rights for Muslim women. Muslim women remained clearly defined within the boundaries of Islam and that is their only identity. The year 1994 was also marked by another issue, which had its own far-reaching effects on the subsequent representation of not only Muslim women but also the representation of the Muslim community as a whole: the

fatwa of death against Taslima Nasreen for blasphemy in Bangladesh. Even though the events unfolded in neighboring Bangladesh, the impact was felt in India. The Indian press at one level supported her, but on the other hand it portrayed her as a deviant woman not really falling into the category of being a Muslim woman. She was strictly defined as a person outside the boundaries of religion and therefore could not be another face of a Muslim woman. The incident also allowed the press to firmly solidify the face of New Islam as the Islamic zealots demanding her death. The reportage Page 215 → made the debate, for or against Islam, religious or atheist, Muslim and non-Muslim, leaving no space for a complex analysis. Taslima Nasreen shot to fame with her book Lajja in February 1993. The book sold over 60,000 copies. The Bangladeshi government banned it five months later under the pretext that it was disrupting communal harmony. The novel is about the plight of a Hindu family that suffers the wrath of Muslim fundamentalists in Bangladesh after the Babri Masjid is demolished.11 The book received two responses—while the secularists up-held the secular credentials of the story, fundamentalists on both sides of the border misinterpreted the book. Having imposed a fatwa on the author for blasphemy, Islamic zealots in Bangladesh offered large amounts as reward for her head. In India Hindu nationalist leaders became the unlikely champion of Nasreen. Passages from her novel describing how Muslim mobs tortured Bangladeshi Hindus and tore down their temples were widely circulated. A shocked Nasreen said in protest, “I am against communalism of all kinds.” The rage created by Lajja was further exacerbated when Taslima Nasreen in an interview to the Statesman in May 1994 and an article in June 1994 in the German magazine Der Spiegel criticized Islam and said that the Koran (clarified by Nasreen as Shariat) needed revision. The publication of this article led to a fresh outrage and cries for her head on grounds of blasphemy intensified. A number of violent baseless fatwas followed with each cleric in Bangladesh trying to outdo the other. A number of them attacked her for immorality, and her views and works were directly linked with her “immoral” life. A cleric (a father of thirteen) even offered to marry Taslima in order to reform her. All fatwas and dictats were given equal space by the press, thereby according every obscure cleric in any small town legitimacy to announce and act upon his religious madness. The kind of support given by the international community to Rushdie was missing, and Taslima's personality, rather than her principles, were the focus of the press articles. Most media reports tended to focus on her personal lifestyle and her gender. She was often portrayed as an irresponsible rebel without a cause. The controversy finally came to an end when Taslima Nasreen left the country for Stockholm. The ambivalence of the press was evident when on one hand it supported Taslima Nasreen for her stand and propagated the right to freedom of speech and expression, but on the other it also reported each and every act of the fundamentalists, giving them greater mileage than the women's and secular movements' struggles against the fundamentalist Page 216 → lobby. Her personal life and her views were repeatedly used to undermine her position as a liberal person. Most reports and articles had admiration mixed with a voyeuristic desire to understand the radical views of this unconventional woman. Phrases like “Taslima for ‘freedom of womb'”12 were freely used. Her reputation as a writer was denigrated. “Unfortunately, Ms. Nasreen's reputation as a writer of soft-porn, a champion of women's liberation and her unorthodox views on Islamic issues have all got mixed up. … Lajja may be a badly written novel but has nevertheless served to rouse people's conscience against communal violence.”13 Articles often compared Taslima Nasreen and Salman Rushdie. Hasan Suroor in an article describes how polarized stands on the issue prevented any debate. At the same time, he also compares the literary merit although this was not the focus of the controversy at all: “At this point a little digression is necessary to make a distinction between Mr. Rushdie and Ms. Nasreen. … Mr. Rushdie, for all his real or imaginary faults, is one of the tallest figures in contemporary English literature whereas Ms. Nasreen is at best a clever writer notwithstanding Mr. Amitav Ghosh's spirited defense of her style and technique. ‘Satanic Verses,' however distasteful some may have found it was a work of pure imagination with no claim to objectivity, while ‘Lajja' is a political tract in the guise of fiction.”14 It was ironic that even when the journalists praised the courage of Taslima, it was with certain reservations about her ability as a writer.

There were articles that, though sympathetic to Taslima, were very critical of her attitude and outspokenness. Some felt that Taslima had deliberately provoked the fundamentalists with her radical views and had made herself a media toy. The India Today articles were also quite tongue-in-cheek, admiring and supporting of Taslima but also constantly hinting at a deviant personality: “She finally lights up a Benson & Hedges in her 10th floor apartment in downtown Dhaka, surrounded by security outside and within. … In the eye of all this, Nasreen's firebrand spirit remains undiminished. … Typically, for a woman who has such an excess of fire in her belly, it is the boredom of captivity that is more galling than the danger. To escape her cooped up high-rise life, she ventures out these days in her gleaming new Toyota Corolla, its windows rolled up. … She has written explicitly about male and female sexuality. The titles of her books reveal a lot. One collection of essays is called Nostho Meyer Nostho Godya (The Fallen Prose Of A Fallen Girl); another is called Amar Kichu lage Ashe Na (I Couldn't Care Less).15 Thus it was evident that the Indian press played Page 217 → its own role in creating a public image of Taslima Nasreen as this firebrand feminist, antireligion and not a “Muslim woman.” The editorial line taken by the newspapers was progressive and sup-ported Nasreen's right to freedom of speech and expression in the face of religious fundamentalism. The Times of India had the largest number of such editorials, and the paper was careful to highlight that Bangladesh was a democratic country and that the Court played a major role. Taslima's fate was finally to be decided by the courts, which could give a fair trial, unlike the situation with Salman Rushdie. Irrespective of the politics, the term fatwa retained its connotations of fear and violence. In an article in India Today great emphasis was laid on the fear of the fatwa, a weapon that was being used to victimize women. In an otherwise progressive article, the writer tends to glorify the power of the fatwa, the growing all-sweeping power of pronouncements in Islam. No attempt was made to question the legitimacy of the fatwas enforced by the local clerics either in this article or any other. Although it gives space to NGOs, and talks about their fight against fundamentalism, the image of Muslim woman as a victim remains predominant. During the years 1995 to 2001, issues relating to Muslim women and Muslim Personal Law were raised, but they never developed into media debates, so the reportage was very limited. The issue of validity of triple talaq emerged in 1996, and then again in 1998, 1999, and 2000–2001 in relation to Court judgments, but it did not catch the attention of the media. Consequently the lack of controversy also made much of the reportage supportive of women as there were no dramatic events attached to the issue. Further, the firm stand of the Courts in support of Muslim women allowed for limited misreporting. Controversies seemed to be amicably addressed, and Muslim women did not seem to catch the media attention. Reportage of this period clearly reflects that when issues of Muslim Personal Law are not linked to political controversies the nature of the debate is far more progressive and rational. The media is also not swept away by political and religious controversies around the issue. One can only suggest that during 2000–2001 since the issue had no political dimensions, it remained an issue of gender rights, and the media also continued to perceive it from that perspective. The only thing that remained common was that the coverage of 2000–2001, even though positive and supportive, continued to identify Muslim women as part of the community only. However this gender sensitivity seems to be limited to issues that do not involve the larger political scenario. In August and September 2001 Page 218 → when the issue of the forced veiling of Kashmiri Muslim women was reported the emphasis in the media was not the violation of women's rights but the Islamic, jihadi aspect of the Kashmiri movement and its links with the Taliban. Once again the stereotype of the veiled woman, oppressed by Islam was the dominant image, with the subsequent reportage of September 11 events providing substance to this perspective. Kashmir has been the focus of media attention for the last three decades; consequently the Indian press has played its own role in forming public perception about events in Kashmir. For most people it is the press that provides information, and as debates and discussions have narrowed, the equation of militant Islam and the Kashmiri man has become a popularly accepted image. The coverage on Kashmiri Muslim women has always been limited as they have been projected often as victims, with very little participation in the movement for self-determination. Women have not figured in the reports on Kashmir either in newspapers or on television, and if they did it was in the form of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, a militant women's organization. Covered in black, these women have become symbolic of the involvement of

Kashmiri women in the movement. During the years 2000 and 2001, attacks on Kashmiri women were reported by most of the press. These attacks were by a militant organization attempting to force women to obey an Islamic code of dress. While it is true that many militant organizations in Kashmir subscribe to fundamentalist ideologies, and that Kashmiri women have become victims of this oppression, it is also important to see what actually gets highlighted in the press. Reports highlighted the fear psychosis created by the attacks but never questioned the credibility of the militant organization issuing the diktat/fatwa. In 2001 enforcing of the Islamic codes in Kashmir took a violent turn when an unknown militant organization, Laskhar-e-Jabbar, threw acid on two girls, threatening similar attacks if all Muslim women in Kashmir did not wear the burkha. The incident triggered large-scale media reports that once again took the burqa as symbolic of militant Islamic oppression. Importantly, some reports trivialized the issue into “extra sales for cloth merchants,” “designer burqas,” and so on. The visual images of the veiled women came back with great force, and for weeks, most newspapers carried images of women wearing burkhas. No newspaper investigated the antecedents of Laskhar-e-Jabbar, an unknown militant organization. In retrospect, the fact that only two incidents occurred, and the way in which the diktat has died, demonstrates that the incident was blown out of proportion Page 219 → by the media, which also must take responsibility for creating a fear psychosis in the Valley on the issue. Initial news reports projected the fatwa as a wide-ranging campaign, suggesting that a large number of incidents of acid throwing had happened, and highlighted the fearfulness of Kashmiri women and the aggression of the militants. The Hindustan Times trivialized the issue of fundamentalism by talking about “high sale of cloth merchants and designer burqas. Burqa windfall as Kashmiri women scurry for the veil. Cloth Merchants in Kashmir are in for a windfall. … According to the 2001 Census, out of the almost exclusively Muslim population of approximately 54.5 lakh in the Kashmir Valley, around 26 lakh are women. Of them, approximately 4 lakh are below the age of 6. So, just over 22 lakh women could be required to wear the burqa. … Given that an ordinary burqa costs around Rs. 1,000, it is hardly surprising that tailors are hard at work. In rural areas, they are working over time to meet the increasing demand.”16 The Times of India on August 27, 2001, carried a front-page photograph of women selecting burkha cloth, with the caption, “Kashmiri women select burkha cloth in a Srinagar shop on Sunday. The cloth is in high demand following a militant organisation diktat that women wear burqas outside their homes.” The Hindustan Times on September 11, 2001, once again carried another report on how the burqa diktat has adversely affected the cosmetic trade. There were some news items in the Times of India that did indicate that all women did not support the burqa fatwa, but this was not the norm. The incident sparked off condemnation by other militant groups that disassociated themselves from the fatwa and openly condemned it, but there was hardly any speculation in the press about the antecedents of Laskhar-e-Jabbar. The term fatwa became very integral to the reports and articles, and once again the association of fatwa as a violent religious decree was reinforced. Editorials in some of the newspapers justifiably condemned the rising fundamentalism in the Kashmir movement. Most newspapers were sympathetic to the cause of women, but there was also evidence of a growing association of Kashmir with the Talibanized form of Islam: “Kashmir's Taliban … There appear to be no limits to the extent to which fanatical groups can be in pursuit of their creed of intolerance. Apparently drawing inspiration from the ‘mad mullahs' who control most of Afghanistan, an otherwise little known militant outfit in Kashmir has managed to make it to the headlines by demanding strict compliance with an ‘Islamic' dress code prescribed by them.”17 Page 220 → The emphases on veiling, Islamic fatwa, and burqa-clad women were predominant in all the television news capsules. All reports showed footage of police and army personnel guarding women's colleges and schools in Srinagar. Zee News carried a news item in which they showed women wearing burqas entering and leaving college premises. Some interviews were telecast with prominent leaders condemning the fatwa. Star TV's Reality Bites also dealt with the issue but was unable to bring out the anger the women felt over this forced fatwa. An

aggressive style of reporting portrayed insensitivity to the fear as well as an exaggeration of the power of the diktat. The television channels did not investigate the past of the organization Laskhar-e-Jabbar. If we look back at the year 2001 we see a mixed reportage. On the one hand, we had the progressive handling of the talaq and maintenance issue that gave a distinct voice to the women. It was supported by progressive editorials and articles by Asghar Ali Engineer, Saeeda Hameed, and Seema Alavi, and complex debates on television channels with such people as Zarina Bhatty and Saeed Naqvi. On the other hand the issue of forced veiling of Kashmiri women seemed to silence the women. There was a trivialization of the issue in the English press, and the reports also sensationalized the issue without getting any real feedback about the impact of this fatwa in Kashmir. There was a trend to exaggerate the story, whether in the English dailies or the television reports. The veiled woman was back with force, symbolic of the oppressive Islam. The issue of forced veiling of Kashmiri women was immediately followed by the events of September 11, 2001. Indian television media, drawing inspiration from CNN, reported it as a war between the democratic traditions of the liberal world (mainly the West) and the regressive medieval customs of Islam. It was a war in which Islam was portrayed as a religion perpetuating religiosity and encouraging terrorism. Indian news channels presented Kashmir, Indian Muslims, and Osama Bin Laden as a composite interlinked system, placing them on the same platform. Voices of women were silent; they only emerged as victims. Public discourse has failed to note that in regimes at war and under oppressive governments, the mosque can become a very powerful unifying factor. It has a legitimate existence and provides a legitimate space to voice grievances, which may not be possible in the outer world. History has shown this with Iran, which has also shown us that once the movement flows with religion as its driving force, it becomes more and more rigid in order to assert its separate identity. Taliban and similar Islamic movements are an assertion of a regressive but nevertheless distinct identity, perceived Page 221 → by some, negatively, as medieval while by others, positively, as liberation movements. In this assertion of identities the media plays an important role. Ironically, it is the media's oftenselective engagement with these regressive groups that, in turn, legitimates its condemnation of the entire Muslim world, ignoring all progressive, diverse, and emancipatory movements within it. The media also fails to realize that women in all patriarchal orders face the same gender oppression and that all religions are the greatest legitimators of patriarchy. Indian channels made some attempt to give space to more moderate opinions, but its earlier propaganda could not be undone. The violent regressive Muslim male stands. In a communally divided society like India, Muslims are already identified with the rest of the Islamic world, especially Pakistan, so a regressive image of Muslims in the neighborhood finds immediate association and confirmation. The lack of recognition of cultural and social differences within the Muslim community critically determines how women are represented. The trajectory of the last decade is reflective of how media images combine with political and social trends to shape and reinforce public opinion. The image of the barbaric Muslim man finds equal acceptability with the sym-pathetic image of the poor Muslim woman. This trend emerging with the Shah Bano controversy forms a definite image during the 1990s and a credibility with the turn of the century. The overall negative coverage of the 1990s reduces the acceptability of brief interludes of positive identification. The media in the last decade has worked effectively as a legitimator of popular misconceptions about Muslims and Muslim women. The identity of the Muslim woman as portrayed in the media remains firmly rooted within the community, and even when the coverage is positive she finds no other face but than that of a “Muslim woman.” Representation of Muslim women creates a larger bias against the community, a trend not found in coverage of gender issues of non-Muslim women. The press has often displayed a gender bias when it reports on violence against women, but it does not use that bias to universalize a community or condemn it as it has done in relation with the Muslim community. As religious identities assert them-selves the crucial issue has become how to give recognition to marginalized sections within communities. The media taken over by religious assertions has allowed itself to be manipulated by ideological trends; it has given in to popular prejudices and thus has become a reinforcer of these beliefs. The political war between religion and secularism is today not only being fought in the streets but also in the front pages of the press, on our television screens, and even in virtual spaces. The media, an active participant, no longer is the bastion of secular liberal democratic principles. Page 222 →

NOTES 1. The Shah Bano controversy erupted in April 1985, when the Supreme Court ruled that Shah Bano, a seventy-year-old Muslim woman from Indore, be paid a sum of Rs 179.20 as maintenance by her exhusband, who had divorced her some years earlier. Justice Y. Chandrachud's ruling upheld the judgment of a lower court, which had granted Shah Bano's appeal under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Shah Bano's former husband had challenged the judgment in the Supreme Court, on the grounds that the operative Muslim Personal Law required that maintenance be paid only for the period of iddat—that is, for three months after the divorce. The Congress (I) government of the time gave in to Muslim fundamentalists and scuttled the progressive import of the judgment by passing the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act in Parliament in 1986. Under the act, Muslim women are entitled to maintenance after divorce for a maximum period of three months, with support for the children of the marriage extending for a maximum period of two years. If the woman is destitute, with no means of income, then she is to be provided for by her family, or, in its absence, by the Wakf Board. 2. Salman Rushdie's book Satanic Verses angered Muslim clergy all over the world due to its negative references to the Prophet Mohammed. The leader of the newly constructed Islamic state of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa of death against the writer. The issue not only created a clear division between the liberals and the fundamentalists but provided legitimacy to negative opinions in the Western world about Islam. 3. The Babri Masjid–Ramjanambhoomi controversy was based on the demand of Hindu fundamentalist forces that since the Babri Masjid stood at the site of the birthplace of Lord Ram it should therefore be restored to being a temple. To avoid communal tension the site had been closed, and no prayers had been allowed for the last two decades. But the opening of the locks by a Supreme Court order in 1985 and the allowance of puja created a fresh controversy. Certain editorials like the one in the Hindustan Times, February 20, 1986, gave open support to the temple issue. 4. Sabina Kidwai, “Images of Muslim Women: A Study on the Representation of Muslim Women in the Media, 1985–2001,” study conducted for the Scholar of Peace program of Women in Security, Conflict Management, and Peace. Published as WISCOMP Perspectives 6, 2002. 5. It is this section of the English press and television coverage we refer to whenever we use the term media in this essay. 6. “After the Shah Bano Judgment,” Times of India, February 10, 1986; “Religious sense,” Hindustan Times, January 3, 1986; “Muslim Social Reforms,” Times of India, November 18, 1985; “Isolate Obscurantism,” Hindustan Times, February 20, 1986. 7. Hindustan Times, “On Woman,” March 5, 1986; quoted in Whose News, Media, and Women's Issues, ed. Kalpana Sharma and Ammu Joseph (Sage, 1994). 8. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie offended many Muslims. See note 2 above. 9. Hindustan Times, September 14, 1991. Page 223 → 10. Flavia Agnes, Law and Gender Inequality (Oxford University Press, 2001). 11. Lajja is the story about a Hindu family who forty-five years earlier made a crucial decision to stay back in Bangladesh. The story is about Sudhamoy and Kironmoyee Dutta and their two children Maya and Suranjan. Sudhamoy, a liberal and an atheist, is always naively optimistic that his motherland would care for him. Their children are brought up in a liberal atmosphere, not seeing themselves as “Hindus.” During the liberation war, the Dutta family had to sell their ancestral home at a throwaway price and assume Muslim names to escape the extremists. Even then, they weren't entirely able to escape the punishment meted out to pro-liberation forces by the collaborators of the Pakistani Army: Dr. Sudhamoy Dutta was castrated. Maya is in love with a Muslim boy, and Suranjan is set to marry a Muslim girl. On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished. The repercussions were felt in the ghastly communal riots that broke out everywhere, but more severely in Bangladesh, where Muslim mobs began to seek out and attack Hindus. The Duttas, too, being a part of the Hindu minority, become victims of Muslim extremists. When the bloodthirsty fundamentalists arrive at their doorstep, Maya leaves her family, changing her name to Feroza Begum. Suranjan, though liberal-minded like his parents, is unhinged in the insane atmosphere of violence. To avenge the sister he lost, he rapes a young Muslim prostitute. Ultimately, he can bear no more and begs his father to take them all to India. In the end, Sudhamoy is compelled to say that they would go.

12. Times of India, May 11, 1994. 13. Times of India, September 3, 1994. 14. Hindu, July 12, 1994. 15. India Today, December 15, 1993. 16. Hindustan Times, August 12, 2001. 17. Hindustan Times, August 13, 2001.

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Part 3 Politics of Spaces and Symbols

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9 Building Cities and Nations Visual Practices in the Public Sphere in India and Lebanon MAHA YAHYA Historians are to nationalism what poppy growers in Pakistan are to heroin addicts; we supply the raw material for the market. —ERIC HOBSBAWM, “Ethnicity and Nationalism in Europe Today,” Anthropology Today 8, no. 1: 3–13 In 1926, the historic city center of Beirut, the capital of the six-year-old Republic of Lebanon, was redesigned as the new public and institutional center for the city. Around twenty years later, Chandigarh was constructed as a new regional capital for the state of Punjab in newly independent India. This essay will use the architectural and urban characteristics of these two capital cities (the first national and the latter regional) to explore the relationship between the establishment of a postcolonial “secular” state, the constitution of a national public, and the formation of a public sphere. The basic premise for this investigation is that the creation of a public sphere in both of these countries was a historically and politically specific project. Accordingly, the essay will argue that the identification in the case of Lebanon and the constitution in the case of India of public subjects were historically contingent projects. This project was rooted in the establishment of independent nation-states that encompassed religiously plural societies and in the place that secularism was accorded in these states. In other words the projection of public subjects and of public spheres occurred within the imaginaries modern nation-state and not as a derivative Page 228 → by-product of the structural transformations of European history.1 Such historical grounding is not only political. It also assumes spatial and temporal dimensions that are seldom considered. Particular spatial practices and architectural edifices were deployed so as to bring a specific national (and secular) public into being. Architecture here was assigned the role of mediating national identity or the sociocultural forms of the new institutional (political) structures of the state. In time these edifices became shorthand, so to speak, for the public identity of these new nation-states. This neglect of spatial practices is due to interconnected approaches in the scholarship on the public sphere and nationalism. Firstly, mainstream public sphere theory saw the public sphere primarily as an arena of communicative action and deliberation. Secondly, theories of the emergence of national subjects failed to account for the role of spatial categories and architectural iconographies in the constitution of its different publics. Finally, this neglect of the historical and spatial grounding of the public sphere is also the by-product of an opposing trend in the literature that uses the terms public space and public sphere interchangeably and thus depoliticizes the process by which space is constituted. Such a perspective raises various epistemological questions about the nature of the public sphere and of public space and challenges some of the common taken-for-granted opinions about its emergence.

Becoming Modern, Becoming National, Becoming Public In his seminal book The Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere, Jurgen Habermas noted the emergence of new understandings of the publicity during the Enlightenment whereby private individuals, constituted mainly of a bourgeois reading public, came together to deliberate public matters. This sphere of rational debate enabled the transformation of socially situated persons into abstract individuals. The public sphere in his narrative was an intermediary space between state and society where a reasoning citizenry organized itself as the bearer of public opinion. This concept of the public sphere as articulated by Habermas and subsequently elaborated upon by other social scientists has spawned a significant body of literature on modernity, the conditions shaping public discourses, public actions, and the formation of publics and their implication for democratic theory and practice. While much

of this literature is growing more comparative and often critical of the limitations of the original concept of the public sphere for both its Eurocentric view of history Page 229 → and for the social and economic exclusions it consecrates, two significant but not unrelated outcomes of his theory have not been given due consideration: the role of nationalism and anticolonial movements in the formation of the public sphere in formerly colonized territories and the deterritorializing tendencies that his theory of the public sphere invokes. Habermas's discussion of the public sphere and much of what has followed recognizes the boundaries of the nation-state as the space within which various public spheres are enacted.2 However, the role of nationalism as an ideology in the constitution of this space itself has yet to be carefully examined. In other words, as was argued in the introduction to this collection, what has not been given sufficient attention are the interconnections between the constitution of the national state, as a modern (and often secular) state, and the means through which an abstract public is called into being. As Talal Asad suggests, it is through the constitution of the modern state that images of the secular and the religious are mediated and diverse publics are recognized.3 In the formerly colonized world, anticolonial movements and ideologies were critical in shaping the contours of the modern secular state and the boundaries of its national public. The naturalized notion of the nation has been examined by a wide variety of interpretive practices from conceptualizing it as an imagined community to the invention of tradition in national commemorations and rituals. Benedict Anderson in particular expanded on the role of the print media, not in the formation of a public sphere but rather in the formation of a national public. The role of nondiscursive strategies in the formation of the national public sphere was not addressed.4 This narrative emergence of the public sphere produced a shift from an “ocular to an auditory” model of the public.5 What both Habermas and Anderson miss is the role of the visual and the spatial in shaping and articulating nationalism and in giving shape to its public. Unlike Hannah Arendt, whose notions of the public are bound to a spatial topography and metaphors such as “the space of appearance,” “the city and its walls,” and “tyranny is like a desert,” both Habermas and Anderson deterritorialized the public sphere to different degrees so as to focus on changes brought about in the identity of the public through the printed media.6 Therefore, even though grounded within the purview of the nation-state, the public is a disembodied public. These tendencies undermine the centrality of territory and space for the formation of this public.7 The contiguity between public space and public spheres is evident in much of the literature whereby physical space is assumed to be a prerequisite for the formation of a public sphere. The question here becomes, Page 230 → What does this grounding of the public sphere in public space do? For one, it suggests that the spatial and the visual are equally critical to the constitution of particular public subjects. The distinctive presence of the state marks the domain of the public through a variety of visual representations and spatial hierarchies through which bodies interact with institutions and spectators with discourses. In other words the construction of specific public spaces and state institutions in Lebanon and India were the vehicles through which certain categories of publicness were established and state-citizen and state-religion relations were presented and negotiated. In this framework, architecture and planning inhabit a very public and political world, rather than a hermetically sealed-off domain of aesthetic contemplation. Not merely visual, architecture and planning play a principal role in the everyday life of individuals in the city and partake in the formation of what Lauren Berlant calls the “national symbolic.”8 What she is referring to here is how an “iconography of the nation” is created and then assimilated into everyday life and consciousness so much so that its constructedness is no longer visible. Visual culture, particularly art and architecture as well as urban projects, are central to the formulation and dissemination of this iconography. Many authors have discussed the centrality of vision to modernity, what Martin Jay terms as the scopic regimes of modernity, best understood as a contested terrain rather than a harmoniously integrated complex of visual theories and practices. Going further, as Mitchell and Ramaswamy argue, central to the act of imagining a community is the pictorial image, where spectator-ship meets creation in a “complex interplay between visuality, apparatuses, institutions, discourse, bodies, and figurality.”9 The political role of some of these visual practices in the constitution and arrangement of modern spaces, states, and empires has also been explored in a variety of works.10

In this context, architecture and planning form part of a larger visual culture that is understood not as a mirror that reflects national identity but rather as an intricate setting for its negotiation and interpretation. Architecture functions here not only as the means through which the state constructs national identity and the means through which individuals may then imagine or perceive their community; it mediates that imagination and helps construct the sensibilities that underpin it. It is also tasked with the role of registering the disruptions that urban planning is in the process of making. The question here becomes, How was the nation represented at this founding moment? How was national identity negotiated visually? How were its origins and claims narrated through new urban edifices and spaces? How did these edifices, in the process of constructing the nation as Page 231 → an idealized or imagined community bind diverse groups and elements into a single whole that was then presented as natural? These are some of the questions we will try to explore through the establishment and reconstruction of the central spaces and parliament buildings of Chandigarh and Beirut respectively. Before continuing, a small note on semantics. I do not want to neutralize notions of the public by defining public space as the public sphere—taken to be simply the arena where citizens engage in political activity. However, neither is defining the public settled by identifying it simply with politics, for one has to ask here, What politics? Suffice to say at this point that the public in this narrative may be considered a “phantom” in that it rejects the Habermasian distinction between the public and the private whereby the public sphere is an abstract and universalist space while the private is the area of dissent and conflicting partial interests. The phantom public considers that the claim to inclusiveness never really existed and that the very notion of an undivided social space is simply deceptive. It is one that acknowledges the plurality and conflict inherent to any social system.11

Nation Building and Secularism in India and Lebanon Secularism in both India and Lebanon works differently from Western secularism, in that the dominant principle is not “distance between religion and state,” but “equal respect for all religions.” Following the horrors of World War I, and the carnage of the 1947 partition in India, secularism was conceived by French mandate authorities and the Indian nationalist movement and practiced by the mandate and postcolonial states respectively as a nonantagonistic ground between religious communities. What this meant was that all religions were guaranteed equal places of visibility in public life, and this was supposed to establish neutrality, since the state could not be seen as favoring one religion or sect over others. In practical terms this meant that all religions were eligible for state aid; they were guaranteed autonomy in terms of owning property and administering their own affairs; they could run private educational establishments of their own; and official national holidays included those of all the major Indian and Lebanese religions, among other privileges. Such “secular” practices, as several authors have remarked, presupposed the manifestations of religious affiliations in public life.12 This approach to secularism is directly connected to the process of nation building. For both India and Lebanon, the project of nation building Page 232 → and state building took on specific forms related to their particular historic circumstances. India was established as an independent nation-state following the collapse of the British Empire in 1947, while the creation of Lebanon took shape after the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire and under the shadow of French mandate rule (1919–47).13 In both instances, the process of national construction induced a sustained and elaborate engagement with ruptures in state structures and forms of governance.14 Similarly, the project of establishing new national subjects in India and Lebanon entailed the absorption of fragmented and plural religious communities, and engagement with massive population displacements with varied historical trajectories. This led to a similar articulation of the secularism-religion nexus in dramatically different contexts and historical periods. Despite these similarities, as Roy suggests in the case of India, the particular global circumstances of state formations and nation building also resulted in significant divergences in the shape of the national subject that was called into being.15 As we shall see shortly, while the moment of national birth is theoretically identified and identifiable in the case of India, the intersection of mandate and nation building in Lebanon rendered the project of national identity a more cluttered terrain. Consequently, the nationalization of modern architecture took on radically different forms. In India efforts focused on the constitution of a new, modern, and secular identity of which Chandigarh was to be its most “vocal” emblem. More specifically, designs for both the city and government center were to signify India's transition into a new and proud era of nation building. In the case of

Lebanon, the fabrication of Lebanese national identity required a process by which elements of this identity were to be identified within the existing environment. The reconstruction of the heart of a 6,000-year-old city meant that this area was also to become the emblem of the country's new identity. In both instances the incorporation of a multiplicity of religious groups within the boundaries of the state entailed a different approach to grounding the nation and anchoring it within its territory. It resulted in the formation of an “impersonal and distant state”16 in India and an irresolute and colonized state in Lebanon.

Constituting a Modern India: The City of Chandigarh India is singular at the top and plural at the bottom17 … Chandigarh was a city that was becoming historically important even before it is fully built.18 Page 233 → The people in this country profess different religions…. But religion is a matter for the individual and should not be mixed up with politics.19 Any community that pays more attention to such things [religiously clad conflicts] than the important matters of nation building will obviously become backward in the rapidly changing India of today. [On the question of including different religious and ethnic groups in the scheduled caste list for election]20 Independence divided British India into two nations: India and Pakistan. The Punjab region was partitioned in 1947 into a Western Punjab that became Pakistan and an Eastern Punjab that remained part of India.21 India lost Lahore, the capital of Punjab, to Pakistan, which rendered the Punjabi government on the Indian side homeless. In the wake of this partition (1947–51) around 6.2 million Muslims left India for Pakistan and about 7.5 million Hindus and Sikhs came to India. Many of those refugees, some violently displaced, flooded into the cities of the Eastern Punjab and settled into the areas around them. The problem of socially and economically integrating the refugees became a matter of imminent concern to the Indian government.22 The religious makeup of the Western Punjab was transformed from a mix of Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu into a predominantly Hindu and Sikh population. This was to have a decisive impact on the administrative future of the region. Into this tumult Chandigarh was born. The decision to found a new capital for the Punjab region was taken quite quickly both to restore some confidence to the devastated regions and to address the needs of the large number of incoming populations. This new capital, according to Punjab's governor, was to serve as the “nerve center of the province, and from it flow life and activity throughout the province.”23 After much oscillation between different potential sites that were accepted or rejected for a variety of reasons that ranged from climate, to cost of land expropriations, proximity to the Pakistani border, and the religious makeup and symbolism of the regions, the submountainous regions of the Ambala district was chosen.24 Prime minister Jawaharal Nehru, Chandigarh's most powerful political champion, applauded the choice of the site because it was “free from the existing encumbrances of old towns and old traditions, … let it be the first large expression of our creative genius flowering on our newly earned freedom.”25 Lying in an area holding about seventeen villages, the city derived its name from the goddess Chandi (power) located in one of those villages.26 The construction of the city would cause the displacement and relocation Page 234 → of around 9,000 individuals and the destruction of many acres of agricultural land. Despite numerous disputes and controversies the project went ahead. The importance of Chandigarh extended far beyond its status as the capital of the Punjab to become a symbol of the new India both at home and abroad. Chandigarh, as Nehru once proudly proclaimed, was “a city that was becoming historically important even before it is fully built.” Chandigarh was also part of a larger complex of projects undertaken by the government of prime minister Nehru around the country that included a series of community development projects, new industrial towns, and dams—especially the Bhakra-Nangal dam, the other potent emblem of the new modern India.27 That the construction of Chandigarh was viewed by Nehru as a key

emblem of the new, modern, and secular India, freed from the shackles of past Indian traditions and colonial legacy, is evident in much of his writing and letters. Nehru believed the villages of Indian life to be representative of the desolation of a backward culture, a wretchedness that had led to two hundred years of colonial rule and hindered India in the march of progress and modernity. He saw Chandigarh as a symbol of the modernization of India's traditions. He stated, “Even though we are building a new India that does not mean that the old one will disappear. We must preserve and use our ancient traditions and culture. At the same time, we have to clothe the nation in a new garb and strengthen it by making it more prosperous.”28 A formalist to the core, Nehru believed that modern architecture and urban design would not only embody the progressiveness of the new Indian nation but would actually liberate Indians from the shackles of poverty. A city, he declared, is more than “a collection of buildings made of bricks and mortar … [rather] it gives a hint of the shape a society is likely to have in the future.”29 Chandigarh's urban and architectural design, he claimed, defied traditional religious and class divisions to promote a new way of living by challenging “the ancient tradition of our country [of] huge palaces for the rich, while the poor lived in small, dark hovels with no water or light.” In Chandigarh, he continued, “the disparity between the two classes has been reduced, though it still exists.”30 The role attributed to modern architecture and planning in reflecting, embodying, or symbolizing new national identities was not particular to Nehru. From Turkey to Pakistan to Senegal to Papua New Guinea to Kuwait, the capitals of postcolonial or non-Western nations are littered with examples of the use of modern architecture in the construction of the new nation-state.31 What was specific to Nehru was the deterministic quality that he attributed to the role that the visual and the spatial would play Page 235 → in constituting his new national public and in giving it shape. These beliefs were shared by the primary architect in charge of the project: Le Corbusier.

The Plan The construction of Chandigarh continued for several decades as the plan itself went through several incarnations. Initially designed by Albert Mayer (1897–1983) of the firm of Mayer, Whittlesey and Glass,32 the scheme was reworked by Le Corbusier along with the firm of Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew and Le Corbusier's cousin Pierre Jeanneret.33 Le Corbusier (1887–1965), one of the most dominant figures in the history of modern architecture and the founder of the Congrès Internationale d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM), the umbrella group under which the doctrines of modern architecture and urbanism developed and spread across the globe over the course of the twentieth century, was hired as architectural adviser for the project.34 Le Corbusier was considered a revolutionary figure, and by the time he came to India his design for the League of Nations building in Geneva had become an icon of the modern movement in architecture. Moreover, his 1922 exhibition project, a city for three million people that incorporated high-rise buildings into a clearly defined hierarchy of freeways, motorways, pedestrian networks, and vast green areas was renowned.35 The plan of the city, a purely physical endeavor, was based on a vast circulatory grid—a hierarchy of transportation networks cast into a geometric and classic design that Le Corbusier had developed elsewhere. Mayer's initial fan-shaped design demarcated by the two rivers that defined the site was retained, as was the governmental complex placed at the upper edge or “the head” of the site. However, Le Corbusier swiftly transformed the plan to reflect his own sense of order, unity, and clarity. He straightened out the streets, organized them according to a diminishing hierarchy labeled V1–V8,36 and gave its super blocks more regular shapes, thus monumentalizing the design and shape, as well as the size of the city. The plan was transformed into a square that enclosed a cross axis that culminated on the northeastern side with the capitol complex set against the Himalayas. The plan was also marked at the crossroads of the two main boulevards by a new civic center. Significantly, the plan was reworked in a gridlike fashion to provide a singular monumental, ceremonial axis into the capitol area. This boulevard was conceived of as a tree-lined avenue bounded on one side by Page 236 → a parkland and on the other by high-rise buildings with important functions such as banks, government offices, and hotels that aimed to produce, according to one of the architects, Jane Drew, “something like … the Champs-Elysées of Paris.” The city center that lay at the junction of the main streets was designed so as to create an interlocking series of squares and piazzas intended to reflect “a spacious intimacy reminiscent in layout (but not in character) of Venice.” Moreover, the proportions for the design of public, private, and civic buildings were derived from the modular system that Le Corbusier had developed during World War II and patented as an invention in 1947. The

residential sector, the basic unit of the city center, was formed on the golden rectangle, with dimensions of 800 by 1,200 meters (½ by ¾ mile). The 800-meter measurement that was used in the capitol complex is one that could be found in the monumental parts of Paris. In what follows I will focus on two basic features of the plan that reflect the ways in which the architectural and the spatial were to mold public life in the new India: the capitol complex and the residential areas.

Domesticating Religion: Monumentality, Visibility, and the Empty Center of Power The capitol complex is possibly the most striking feature of the entire plan. From the beginning, this area was designed to dominate the city through its location on top of the hill. Modifying the plan of Albert Mayer, Le Corbusier altered the position of the capitol complex to ensure its visibility from all sides of the city. He retained the idea of having government buildings at the “head” of the city and placed them on an elevated platform to the northeast. He also eliminated all proposed housing adjacent to the site.37 What resulted was a 220-acre enclave that was to include the assembly (fig. 9.1), the high court (fig. 9.2), the secretariat (fig. 9.3), and a governor's palace, “an acropolis of monuments” separated from the nearest housing by a canal and a boulevard and reached by a wide approach road that ensured the visibility and radiance of the capitol complex over a four-mile-wide radius. Echoing Lutyens's placement of the viceroy's house at the center for his designs for New Delhi, Le Corbusier placed the governor's palace and not the assembly at the center of his design for the capitol complex. Calling it the “crown of the capital” the building, considerably over-scaled, visually dominated the capitol complex, reflecting Le Corbusier's ideas about supreme executive power. The capitol was obviously Page 237 → intended as the Indian national answer to the colonial capitol of New Delhi. As Stanilus Von Moos argued, “Le Corbusier's early studies for Chandigarh's skyline could easily double as illustrations for a description of Lutyens's palace and domes” (Von Moos in Prakash, 45).

Initially designed to enjoy an unobstructed view of the city, Le Corbusier altered his design in 1951 to sever the capitol complex from the city. Objects that may hinder or “spoil the view,” namely, the city—L'enmie—were hidden behind trees, man-made hills and canals, transforming the complex into a modern-day citadel. He justified his actions by claiming that “the city must never be seen.”38 This privileged site of the capitol complex was asserted by Le Corbusier when he wrote in November 1952, “Attention, [on the] city side, the capitol must be enclosed by a continuous glacis [consisting of a horizontal embankment]. (Hide all constructions of the city).”39 On the north side of the complex facing the Himalayas, he adopted a radically different approach. The hills he instated should not block that part of the complex. Rather, of the seventeen villages demolished for the purpose of constructing Chandigarh, one was kept in place by Le Corbusier with the purpose of closing off the vista to the north. He discussed this in his sketchbook entry of June 14, 1953.

It is absolutely necessary to close off the horizon of the capitol by means of horizontal hills But on the side of the Himalayas it is admirable…. let the cultures and flocks run right up to the parapet … but the view of the existing village is intact and beautiful.40 As the editor of his sketchbooks would put it, Chandigarh for Le Corbusier was to be “the last outpost of civilization before the Himalayas.”41 In this orientation, it seems as if it was the village and not the city that had become the privileged locus of the capitol. The redemptive value of architecture for Le Corbusier lay here in its ability to “modernize” simple village life while retaining its essential qualities. This was the real India that needed salvation. On a more general scale, beyond the trappings of design and painting, this liberation—or the transformation of the primitive man through the institutions of democracy—was symbolized by the capitol complex to which I now turn. The buildings of the capitol complex are quite interesting too for the Page 239 → image they choose to project of the capital city. With the city shut off from the south, an artificial lake demarcating east, and the Himalayas against the background, the capitol area became a self-enclosed universe, a world unto itself. Of the four major buildings that were to inhabit this “acropolis of monuments” it was the governor's house that was to occupy the center of the plan that was never constructed.42 Cancelled by Nehru because he did not think it appropriate for the governor to live in such a grand space, the project in a way became a physical embodiment of Claude Lefort's argument that democracy is constituted by an empty center of power. A series of monuments were also designed, of which the open hand was the last to be constructed (fig. 9.4). Without going into too much detail in terms of the architecture built, a very modern aesthetic was adopted for the city as representative of the new modern, secular, and national India. At the same time, different motifs considered by Le Corbusier as emblematic of Indian culture were engraved or painted into the buildings and their walls—particularly the assembly. Modern architecture was nationalized through a selective use of decorative elements and rethinking of individual features.

Nehru would justify this process, saying, “India has many famous ancient cities and buildings. Among these reminders of the past there now Page 240 → stands a new and utterly different, growing city—Chandigarh, which is, in the main, the creation of the famous architect Le Corbusier…. I think, however, that Chandigarh is a great creation which has already powerfully affected Indian architecture and brought new and fascinating ideas to our architects and town planners.”43

The grand scale and monumentality evoked by Le Corbusier for his capitol complex was also not new. Haussman in Paris, Lutyens in New Delhi, L'Enfant in Washington, and many others had used the same devices to assert the power and visibility of the state. However, what Le Corbusier proposed was meant to radiate the power of the capitol complex far beyond the city onto the rest of the Punjab landscape. The capitol was home of the government of the Punjab region as well as housing the administrative functions of the city. It was the place from which the rest of the rural landscape would be surveyed and through which the grandeur of the new nation-state would be made visible to its subjects—both near and far. Unlike post-WWII approaches to monumentality in Europe and the United States, where it was connected to philosophical and political debates on pluralism and the desire for a participatory public while monumental Page 241 → architecture was criticized for its close association with totalitarian regimes, political dictatorship, and Nazism in particular, the monumental aspects of the Chandigarh plan and the capitol complex were meant to overwhelm and to create a mass Indian public. The unity proposed by its style successfully expressed dignity and civicness, and depicted the centrality of the state to the new nation-building project. The project was to provide citizens with a yardstick for taste while promoting new and modern forms of social and governance structures. In its vast spaces, the masses were to come together as a unified, modern, and secular public. In contrast to the monumentality of the capitol complex and its nonreligious attributes, the residential areas, subdivided into individual sectors for different income groups, were for the most part composed of low-rise buildings—individual homes for nuclear families. Conceived as small urban villages by Mayer, they were transformed by Le Corbusier into individual sectors, each of which was demarcated by a green strip that ran north to south. This strip was bisected by a commercial road that ran east to west. Each sector became a self-contained entity with commercial, retail, and other activities. Religious structures, absent in the public spaces of new state structures, were relegated to the interiors of these residential sectors where they would be absorbed into the rhythms of daily lives. The place of religion in the new nation-state was relegated to the sphere of the domestic or private, a key element in the daily lives of inhabitants but not in the public trappings of state functions. This gesture by the architects and planners is not surprising. The postcolonial Indian state's overall approach considered the public sector; that is, the discourses, practices, and institutions of governance as the site of the modern, secular nation. However, this discourse of secularism did not extend to the private lives of individuals and communities, including the bureaucrats occupying public positions. As Thomas Hansen argues, circumscribing the secular to the state and the political realm was directly connected to the need to reproduce its Other, the realm of culture where communities could celebrate their own myths and practice the exclusions deemed necessary. By celebrating this specificity, the community also celebrated the cultural diversity upon which the larger Indian public was based. However, as he indicates, this split between the “morally questionable realm of politics” and the “reified realm of communities” is bogus, and in fact this boundary between communities and politics is constantly negotiated on the ground through various strategies.44 As we shall see below, this negotiation between religious diversity, national identity, and the realm of politics took on somewhat different overtones in Lebanon. Page 242 →

Identifying a New Nation-State: Constructing the Heart of Colonial/National Beirut The population of Lebanon is Lebanese, quite simply, and that with due reservations made in the case of those very recently naturalized, it is at present no more Phoenician than Egyptian, Aegean, Assyrian, or Medic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine or Arab…. At the very most we say that it is a Mediterranean type.45 [Beirut represents the urban notion of Lebanon] as neither a society closed against the outside world, nor of a unitary society in which smaller communities were dissolved but something in between the two: a plural society in which communities, still different on the level of inherited religious loyalties and intimate family ties, coexisted within a common framework.46

Only in public schools could the constituents that make a nation be brought together.47 The constitution of national identity in the case of Lebanon took place under radically different circumstances and raises a different set of questions about the process of nation building—not in opposition to a colonial power but rather under its watchful eye and active participation. One such question is, What does it mean for a colonial power to get involved in the nationalization, “modernization,” and (re)construction of the heart of a city designated as the capital of a newly created nation-state and of its own power at one and the same time? In other words, what emerges when the process of seeing the state48 is burdened with transforming a thriving cosmopolitan city into the capital of both national and mandate authorities? What kind of identity-making practices take place, what sort of negotiations, and what are the conceivable results? More critically, what public secular/religious nexus is envisaged in this process?

Secular Nation and Religious Identities If Nehru and Le Corbusier tried to constitute the identity of a new Indian national public through the construction of a new regional capital, the reconstruction of the city center of Beirut, a much smaller project that focused on reinventing the historic heart of a 6,000-year-old city, attempted to identify the elements that could mediate a new national identity under Page 243 → French mandate rule. Lebanon, once part of the Ottoman Empire, had been declared a new nation-state by General Gouraud, the first French high commissioner in the area.49 On September 1, 1920, he announced the formation of Greater Lebanon with its expanded “natural” frontiers from the steps of the Pine Palace in the historic city center.50 The creation of this new state caused both approval and discontent among locals.51 Once subordinated to Ottoman authorities, religious communities sought a new visible place in the trappings of this new nation-state. At the same time, many imagined and “narrated” different visions for Lebanon's future based on particular readings of its past. These ranged from an exclusivist Christian nation-state, to an independent Greater Lebanon in a larger Syrian federation under French control, to an independent Arab Greater Lebanon, to simply a Greater Syria, to an Arab Kingdom whose boundaries included most of the present-day Arab region, to an even a smaller Lebanon limited to the mountains and the boundaries of the Ottoman Mutassarifiya.52 To imagine the nation into being therefore required a certain approach to the political, social, and cultural history of the area and its population, one that dated back to the nineteenth century. What many historians have argued is that Lebanon as a modern nation-state owes its creation primarily to the efforts of local Maronite Christians and French travelers, missionaries, and diplomats, many of whom had been seeking to establish an independent Christian entity in the Levant since 1840.53 Travelers and diplomats stationed in the area presented Mount Lebanon, a key site in trips to the Orient and the Holy Land, as one undergoing an epic struggle for Westernization. The Orient was construed as a site of stagnation and despotism whose only redemption lay in Mount Lebanon and through the Maronite community. Critical to this process was the place of religious and sectarian identity. Religion, deployed by the French during the nineteenth century as a metaphor for the boundaries between modern civilization and premodern barbarism, was used to legitimate their interference in the “backward” Islamic contexts of the Ottoman Empire. Ironically, this occurred at more or less the same time that the Ottoman reforms or tanzimat that abolished all communal distinctions were being implemented. As such, the discourse of “modernity” in Lebanon did not imply greater secularization of life but rather its opposite, the ingraining of communal identities within religious boundaries.54 With the beginning of the French mandate and the final consolidation of a Lebanese entity, these issues gained an additional urgency. Upon arrival Page 244 → in Beirut on October 8, 1919, French troops and administrators found a city partially demolished by the “modernization” efforts of the Ottoman army commander Jamal Pasha during World War I that required the demolition of substantial sections of the historic city, an economy exhausted by a war blockade, and a predominantly hostile population decimated by famine and war.55 Around 100,000 Armenian refugees fleeing Turkish genocide had also arrived in the area and were housed near the city center and its port in makeshift housing as well as in other parts of the country. Institutionally, the city had been cut off from its capital Istanbul, and the municipality was the only local functioning organization.

Consequently, French mandate authorities struggled with restoring order to the city while engaging with a vibrant local debate that revolved around a national/secular–religious/modern nexus. An intense discussion as to how to address urban planning and aesthetic concerns ensued. Beirut was now charged with playing the dual role of capital to a new nation-state as well as to French colonial powers. What is evident from municipal minutes, local journals, and mandate archives is that a high level of fluidity characterized the planning of this period. It included the creation of new urban actors and the initiation of a new approach to city making. This structure was further complicated by the structure of mandate rule, which unlike the colonies, assigned the French authorities the task of preparing local populations for independence. This meant, among other things, that the French authorities were required to cooperate closely with local administrations and communities. This curtailed to some extent the ability of mandate authorities to directly implement a variety of projects. However, it also enabled the French authorities to manage the different communities by catering to their needs as communities in a protectorate and not as citizens in a nation-state in the making. Sectarian differences were highlighted at the expense of national identity and seeped into the urban design and reconstruction of the country and city. To address the physical and social devastation that was Beirut, a highly privatized system of delivery of public services was created between 1919 and 1926. This system relied on missionaries present in the area since the nineteenth century or on prewar concessionary companies. They were asked to revitalize the educational sectors despite protests that a private educational system based on religious missions would not foster cross-communal relationships vital for nation building. The creation of these schools took place through direct state subsidies to these missions, a practice that continues to this very day.56 These and various other initiatives cut costs to a French government that was already in dire financial straits. Page 245 →

Ingraining Sectarianism in Urban Management With the growth of private concessions came a transformation in the role and composition of the municipality, the one remaining Ottoman administration. Established in 1863, the municipality was the most potent vehicle through which the city's urban elite took a very active role.57 Shortly after their arrival, French mandate authorities set about transforming the role and jurisdiction of the municipality by reformulating the rules for local representation and the margins of local autonomy. As per the director of the interior, “the municipality must become an extension of central authority.”58 Under the 1877 Ottoman law, the municipality was composed of twelve members who had to be Ottoman citizens and property owners in the city. The 1922 law created by French authorities demanded that each religious sect be represented in proportion to its size in the city.59 To ensure the representation of all the different sects, the number of seats on the municipal council was increased (from twelve in 1918 to twenty-four in 1953). Foreigners living in the city also acquired seats on the municipal council (from one seat in 1918–26 to four seats in 1926–47). This phenomenon was particular to Beirut, where large foreign communities lived and traded. It also served a practical and symbolic purpose: it reassured foreign communities that the French mandate “signified the will of the mandate authorities to reinforce the real or presumed cosmopolitan character of Beirut.”60 However, it also signaled the first move to place religious confessionalism at the heart of political life and the urban management of the city. The placement of confessional representation at the heart of urban affairs also meant that regardless of the quality of its personnel, communal interests and political influences successfully paralyzed the ability of the municipality to effectively manage the city.

Oriental Cosmopolitanism, Architectural Aesthetics, and Image Making in the City The planning and reconstruction of the city effectively took center stage in municipal and French discourse for the first fourteen years of the mandate. The first plan for the city was presented in 1920 in the form of a proposal made by the Conseiller of Public Works Escadron Perrin, which envisioned a competition for the enlargement of Beirut and the construction of new residential areas by private concession to the outskirts of Beirut.61 Among other issues the proposal suggested that the plan earmark for demolition if Page 246 → necessary all construction adjacent to principal public and religious edifices through the creation of roads or public spaces. The aim was to

bring these structures into view in an orderly fashion. This proposal marked the first attempt to give religious edifices in closely knit neighborhoods a level of monumentality and distinction by carving out open spaces around them and thus setting them apart from their immediate environments.62 For many reasons, not least of which were the dire financial problems that both the municipality and mandate authorities were facing, this plan never came into being. What did materialize was an overarching concern with the image of the city and new architectural aesthetics that were to be adopted and that would reflect its “modern” character and “national” identity. This concern materialized in various ways including newspaper articles criticizing the eclecticism that characterized the Beirut streetscape with designs from Paris adjoining others from New York. The author of one particular article, possibly Yusuf Aftimous, one of the most powerful architectural figures of the period and future minister of public works, called on the municipality, which “represents the people” to take over its main streets and set the architectural models that should be applied. The article argued that there was no evidence in Beirut's streetscape of the oriental style that had such a tremendous impact on architecture from Spain to the capitals of the East. This architecture, the author reminded us, is “the nature of the land.” To achieve this harmony he urged the municipality to incorporate arcades and other oriental motifs that would reflect “something national in … [this] homeland.”63 In other words, the religious and ethnic pluralism that characterized the city could only be reflected through its oriental and Muslim heritage that was at one and the same time national. In time, this oriental cosmopolitan was transformed into a distinct form of organic nationalism that rooted Lebanese identity in a mountain-based populism. This form of organic nationalism influenced the design of new public buildings such as the parliament.

Domesticating Modernism: Toward a National Symbolic In 1926, a decision was taken by municipal authorities in coordination with French mandate administrators to replan the areas demolished by the Ottomans and expand their scope to include additional areas not touched by previous modernization efforts.64 The areas to be expropriated were enlarged, and a star-shaped plan, the Etoile, was drawn up by French engineers Page 247 → working at the Ministry of Public Works. The new parliament building, initially planned for Martyr's Square, was assigned a plot on one axis of the Etoile (fig. 9.5). In 1929 Madiros Altounian, who was working at the Ministry of Public Works at the time as an illustrator, was assigned the task of designing the structure.65

Mimicking in miniature form its namesake in Paris, this eight-sided star was implemented between 1927 and 1932. In all likelihood the plan was drawn up by Durrafourd, the French architect in charge of implementing the new cadastral system in the country and actively involved in the reconstruction of the city center. Symbolically, the plan signaled the creation of a new center of power toward which the city and its now national public were meant to converge. This act of grafting redefined the appearance of Page 248 → the city from Ottoman to French and thus, according to French narrative, from medieval or backward to “modern.” Its representational mechanisms also placed the city somewhere else—that is, it displaced the realm of urban politics onto France's imperial ambitions. Torn from its context, metropolitan Paris and superimposed in a triumphant gesture over the remnants of an Ottoman, now read as “Mediterranean” city, the Place de L'Etoile began to function as a double metaphor for both the birth and the stillbirth of the new nation-state. This double metaphor becomes more forcefully clear in the figurative language of the parliament building, the most potent representation of this modern nation-state, now anchored in the Etoile's imperial embrace. The parliament sits practically invisible in the site plan of the Place de L'Etoile, indistinguishable from surrounding structures. The monumental stature that the parliament was meant to occupy in the framework of the new nationstate was destabilized, through practices of planning that rendered its footprint imperceptible on the site plan of the city.66 In architectural terms, the classical lines of an early modernism now replace the Baroque forms common to Ottoman architecture. Even though this political transition from the Ottoman Empire to the French Mandate at the end of World War I itself coincided with a shift in architectural and urban discourse from Beaux Arts to early modernism in Europe, French rhetoric described the new style as a move from the archaic and backward forms of stagnant Ottoman rule to the progressive forms of “modern” French governance. In other words, the disappearance of ornament now signified a transformation in the status of knowledge and sociopolitical structures: from an “archaic” Ottoman to “modern” French, and from an “autocratic” empire to a “democratic” nation-state. However, the attempt to index a nation, whose contours, as was argued earlier, were as much a product of colonial power itself as they were of the endeavors of various local groups, meant that the clear lines of modernist architecture had to be anchored in place, in a history that would act as its public reference, as its trace in this place. Through a selective use of history, modernist architecture became the means through which the incorporation and pacification of various locals took place. As was common in other post-Ottoman contexts such as North Africa, a turn to local motifs implied a return to a pre-Ottoman Islamic past. In most cases the Mamluk period that immediately preceded was utilized as a means of indexing local identities. In the case of Lebanon, this turn became doubly fortuitous given the overlap of Mamluk architecture and the palaces of Fakhreddine.67 As Achot Altounian, the son of Madiros Altounian, would state, “My father Page 249 → traveled the country in search of an architecture emblematic of Lebanese national identity. He was to find this inspiration in the palaces of Fakhreddine in the Chouf.”68 Various architectural elements that referenced these palaces were incorporated into the facade of the building. An arch composed of yellow-colored local brickwork marks the main portal of the building. Over the arch sits a slightly jutting window of three rounded arches and an upper jagged ledge. On either side of the portal, long thin windows, stretched down the length of the facade, also terminate with two muqarnas like motifs.69 Through the juxtaposition of these motifs, Lebanon's Arab and Oriental identities were interpolated with the emblematic figure of Fakhreddine and subjugated to the representative institution of the nation-state. Modern architectural forms inflected with “national” motifs were used to inculcate a unified, historically specific and territorially bounded subjectivity, a prerequisite for participation in the state or the nation. Recovered from the layers of the land, Lebanese identity was projected as an autonomous subject eternally present through history and ingrained within a larger Christian Maronite narrative that subsumed its own “Muslim” heritage. The struggle to define Lebanese national identity within the framework of French colonial politics became the context in which and through which these and other projects were formed, and by which the different languages, physical realities, behaviors, urban and territorial dimensions, and politicoeconomic dynamics were bound. As projected, through the construction of the Etoile square and the the parliament building the forging of a modern,

national public was an attempt to consolidate colonial control and the identity of one part of Lebanon over the new nation-state. In the process, the discourses associated with modernism, secularism, and nationalism, were used to constitute the Lebanese subject as a unified whole, forever present and existing outside of history. The formation of the Etoile area also brought into view a host of other issues that were plaguing both the planning of the city and the “construction” of its new identity. As Tafuri points out, the construction of any physical space is always a site of struggle, and that struggle is never complete. Rather, it leaves residues, borders, which remain unexplored. In other words, such plans are often broken up by technical accidents and subterranean ideologies, which act at another level. Unlike its French counterpart, the Lebanese Place de L'Etoile could never be completed. As a result of opposition by the Christian Waqfs,70 two of the planned radial axes, which would have entailed the destruction of two existing churches (the Greek Catholic St. Elie and the Roman Orthodox St. George), Page 250 → could not be completed. No trace nor explanation could be located in either municipal or Waqfs archives as to why these churches were never expropriated and the Etoile completed. This accident of time projected physically and symbolically the fissures that ran through Lebanese nation building and which had transformed religion into the single most important aspect of a citizen's public identity. Read alternatively, the basis of the project that is both the constitution of the new nation-state and the consolidation of its national/secular public through the parliament building and the Etoile become mutually exclusive. If one exists then the other must be fiction. This accidental juxtaposition of both nation and religion threw into relief the precise nature of the whole enterprise of a Lebanese national public and its possibilities.71

Concluding Remarks This comparison makes evident the need for a historically situated understanding of secularism that goes beyond undifferentiated definitions of the secular state as modern, homogenizing, and driven by scientific and objectifying modes of governance. Moreover, it also indicates the extent to which secularism is imbricated in the complexities of both local and geopolitical power struggles as well as attempts to define communal and national identities. Furthermore, the distinct approach of this chapter, like the rest of the volume, that is, reconceptualizing secularism as a range of practices, has furthered our understanding into the ways in which faith, religion, and state institutions are intertwined in specific formations of modernity, both colonial and postcolonial. Such an approach has several implications. First, this comparison suggests some fundamental questions about our understandings of modernity. The retreat of the state from religion is posed as a fundamental premise of modernity, and when this does not occur, then modernity is assumed to be incomplete. The point here is not to focus on notions of alternative modernities. Rather, it is to indicate that a genealogy of secularism grounded in two alternative geopolitical and historic contexts allows us to better understand the different ways in which modern culture materialized visually—or was produced, reproduced, and transformed—and with them the making of national and transnational subjects. In the context of both India and Lebanon, it pointed to the fact that modernity did not necessarily imply a greater secularization of both public and private life, but rather its opposite, a as more recent history has shown. Page 251 → Second, this chapter has indicated the ways in which the secular state produces knowledge of religion and institutionalizes it in different ways. This deeply contradictory approach made it difficult if not near impossible to define and fix the meanings of secularism and secular political practices. In the case of India in particular, the secular was cast by the architects of Chandigarh as the domain of the public, and the religious as that of the private. Yet various scholars have argued that the secular domain of the state did not extend to the private lives of its functionaries. With time, as Zacharias, Kidawi, and Rai indicate in this volume, these divisions got increasingly blurred as the separation between the realms of culture and politics were negotiated on the ground. In the case of Lebanon, just as the parliament building embodied both the “modern” and secular aspects of the state and the

religious character of its “nation,” the separation between the public and the sectarian, or between the political and the communal or private, was also not clear-cut. Progressively over the first two decades of French rule in Lebanon, the public identity of key political and public figures became increasingly circumscribed within their respective religious communities.72 By the time independence was achieved, the allocation of key public offices was subdivided among the three main religious communities, a practice known as the national pact and that was in direct contradiction with the constitution that stipulated that position to public office should only be granted based on merit. As the secular state became the arena for asserting individual communal identities, the assumed boundaries between the public and private, between the secular and religious, between the political and the communal became increasingly blurred. Third, this chapter has highlighted the extent to which secular discourses cannot deal with the mundane and the messiness of everyday life. This is most evident in the impossible finalization of Beirut's city center and in the more recent practices of occupying the center. It is also apparent in the different ways in which the grandiosity and modern/secular identity that Chandigarh was meant to represent was undermined through a variety of daily practices such as the means by which official buildings are inhabited, the ways in which different public spaces are used, and the negotiations that take place in the process. In other words, these case studies indicate the ways in which secularism, like modernism, is an overarching universal discourse, while what occurs on the ground is the social construction of this reality. In this sense the visual and physical public sphere in both Lebanon and India was very much a site for the negotiation and contestation of these broad-based definitions. Fourth, this chapter has also shown how the boundaries between the Page 252 → realms of communities and politics were negotiated in the visual public sphere, and the role of architecture and planning in this process. In particular, they both indicate the extent to which architecture was mandated with the task of registering the historical continuities that urbanism was in the process of disrupting and thus projecting new identities, in this case a new national/secular public. During the French mandate, seeing the state took on the additional burden of transforming a thriving cosmopolitan city into the capital of both mandate and nation. The search for means to achieve this contradictory objective created a tension between the urban and the architectural, one that continues to be felt today. The failure of planning efforts transformed architecture into the means through which the discontinuities of the urban would be registered vertically. Finally, this chapter has contributed to our understandings of public sphere formation in non-Western contexts. By emphasizing the impact of historic ruptures rather than just continuities in the formation of public spheres and the constitution of national subjects in non-Western contexts, this chapter has highlighted what Chakrabarty calls “the heterogeneous ways of seeing” that are usually lumped under nationalist state imaginaries, and thus opens up the way for more nuanced conceptions of the political and alternative ways of seeing. It also reinforces the phantomness of this public sphere and the centrality of space for its negotiation and constitution.

NOTES This research was supported through an international collaborative research grant from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). I would like to thank Alev Çinar and Srirupa Roy for valuable discussions on the historical and political specificity of secularism and the public sphere and Srirupa for an insightful debate on the differences and similarities of the operative mechanisms of secularism in Lebanon and India. I would also like to thank Samar Rizkallah for essential research assistance in Lebanon, and Zeynep Inanc for research material on India. My thanks also go to the participants of the Bilkent Public Spheres workshop, the Beirut Visual Publicities conference, and the Kevorkian Research Workshop at NYU, particularly Nivedita Menon, Shiva Balaghi, Samia Mehrez, Martina Rieker, Fawwaz Trabulsi, Ravi Sundram, and the two blind peer reviewers, for valuable comments on earlier versions of this essay. The section “Identifying a New Nation-State” is based on work carried out for my PhD dissertation “Unnamed Modernisms.” 1. Srirupa Roy, “Seeing a State: National Commemorations and the Public Sphere in India and Turkey,” Comparative Studies in Society and History (2006): 200–232. Page 253 → 2. Recently this focus on the nation-state for the formation of the public sphere has been criticized by Nancy

Fraser among others. See Roy, ibid. 3. Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (California: Stanford University Press, 2003). 4. Benedict Anderson, “Census, Map, Museum,” in Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1992). 5. Seyla Benhabib, “The Embattled Public Sphere: Hannah Arendt, Jurgen Habermas, and Beyond,” in Reasoning Practically, ed. Edna Ullmann-Margalit (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 164–81. 6. Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958). 7. This view has come under much criticism for the various exclusions it engenders. 8. Lauren Berlant, The Anatomy of National Fantasy: Hawthorne, Utopia, and Everyday Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 5, 55. 9. Quoted in S. Freitag, “Visions of the Nation: Theorizing the Nexus between Creation, Consumption, and Participation in the Public Sphere,” in Pleasure and the Nation: The History, Politics, and Consumption of Public Culture in India, ed. R. Dwyer and C. Pinney (Oxford University Press, 2001), 39. 10. Among others see James Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998); Thomas Metcalf, An Imperial Vision: Indian Architecture and Britain's Raj (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989); Paul Rabinow, French Modern Norms and Forms of the Social Environment (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989); Selim Deringil, The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876–1909 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1998). 11. Bruce Robbins, The Phantom Public Sphere (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993). 12. Thomas Blom Hansen, “Predicaments of Secularism: Muslim Identities and Politics in Mumbai,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 6, no. 2 (2000): 255–72; see also Roy, “Seeing a State.” 13. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire the Levant was subdivided between French and British rule. Lebanon was placed under French mandate. 14. See Roy, “Seeing a State,” for a particularly insightful discussion of the ways in which this takes place in the context of India and Turkey. 15. Ibid., 206. 16. Ibid., 228. 17. A. K. Ramanujan, poet and critic quoted in Sunil Khilnani, The Idea of India (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1997), 6. 18. Jawaharal Nehru (1999), Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, 2nd ser., vol. 24 (October 1, 1953–January 31, 1954), 50. 19. Nehru, ibid., 238. 20. Nehru, ibid., 58. 21. Bengal was also divided in a similar manner first as part of Pakistan and then in 1971 as Bangladesh. 22. For further details on this background, see Ravi Kaila, Chandigarh: The Making of an Indian City (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). Page 254 → 23. Ibid., 9. 24. See Kaila, Chandigarh, for further details. 25. Ibid., 12. 26. Garh in Hindi means “town” and is used like the suffix -ville. 27. Nehru often mentioned Chandigarh and the Bhakra-Nangal dam together in the same letter and in one instance claimed that these two projects were responsible for drawing the attention of the world to India (Nehru, ibid., 2001, 26). 28. Nehru, ibid. (1999), 46. 29. Nehru (2001), Selected Works of Jawaharal Nehru, 2nd ser., vol. 28 (February 1, 1955–May 31, 1955), 26. 30. Nehru (1999), Selected Works of Jawaharal Nehru, 2nd ser., vol. 24 (October 1, 1953–January 31, 1954), 51. 31. See, for example, Lawrence Vale, Architecture, Power, and National Identity (Yale University Press, 1992). See also among others Sibel Bozdogan, Modernism and Nation Building: Turkish Architecture Culture in the Early Republic (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001); Brian Mclaren, Architecture

and Tourism in Italian Colonial Libya: An Ambivalent Modernism (University of Washington Press, 2006); and Maha Yahya, “Unnamed Modernisms: National Ideologies and Historical Imaginaries in Beirut's Urban Architecture” (PhD diss., MIT, 2004), for the different roles architecture plays in the projection and formation of colonial and national identity. 32. See Kaila, ibid., and Vikramditya Prakash, Chandigarh's Le Corbusier: The Struggle for Modernity in Post-Colonial India (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002), for further information. 33. See Kaila, ibid., and Prakash, ibid., for further information on the different plans. 34. CIAM was founded in 1928 at the Chateau of Helen de Monderot. It managed to bring under its umbrella a wide panoply of architects. However it was dominated by the Swiss/French group of Le Corbusier, P. Charreau, and Lucrat and the German group of May, Taut, Schmidt, Wagner, and Gropius. 35. He was also a prolific writer. 36. This system was devised by Le Corbusier and entitled Les Sept Voies (the Seven V's) that he proposed for his postwar scheme for Bogotá and Marseille Sud. They were V1: arterial roads that connect the city to other cities; V2: urban, city roads; V3: vehicular roads connecting the sectors; V4: shopping/commercial streets within each sector; V5 distribution roads within sectors; V6: residential roads; V7: pedestrian paths. In Chandigarh one more was added, the V8 for bicycle lanes. 37. Kaila, ibid., 110. 38. Le Corbusier, Le Corbusier Sketchbooks, vols. 1–4 (New York: Architectural History Foundation and MIT Press in collaboration with the Foundation Le Corbusier, 1981); Le Corbusier, Le Corbusier Sketchbooks, vol. 4, 80. 39. Le Corbusier, Le Corbusier Sketchbooks, vol. 2 (1950–54) (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981), Sketchbook F26, no. 286. 40. Le Corbusier, Le Corbusier Sketchbooks, vol. 3 (1950–54) (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981), Sketchbook H 31, no. 23. Page 255 → 41. Le Corbusier, Le Corbusier Sketchbooks, vol. 2 (1950–54) (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981), Sketchbook G28, no. 951. 42. It was later replaced with a design for a museum of knowledge that also remained ink on paper. 43. Nehru in a special issue of the Architectural Forum on the eightieth anniversary of Le Corbusier, April 1961, 102. 44. Thomas Blom Hansen, Predicaments of Secularism; see also Thomas Blom Hansen, The Saffron Wave (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999). 45. Chiha, “Liban D'Aujourd'hui,” Lecture given at the Catholic Youth Center, 1942, reprinted by the Chiha Foundation in Michel Chiha, Lebanon at Home and Abroad Beirut (1942, 1994) (Leo Arnold and Jean Montegu, trans.), 33–34. 46. Albert Hourani, “Ideologies of the Mountain and the City: Reflections on the Lebanese Civil War” in Albert Hourani, The Emergence of a Modern Middle East (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1981), 175, 177. 47. MP Michel Zaccour, Chambre Des Députés, Troisième Législature, Deuxième Session Ordinaire, Compte Rendue de la Séance, Séance du Mardi, Dec. 18, 1934, 6. MAE Nantes, 18-942. 48. Scott, Seeing Like a State; Roy, “Seeing a State.” 49. Viewed as a compromise between the principle of self-determination and the principle of partition, mandate authorities were officially required to “guide” all these nations toward sovereignty, democracy, and independence, regardless of their own interests. See among others Albert Hourani, Philip Khouri, and Mary Wilson, eds., The Modern Middle East (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993). 50. “L'œuvre de La France en Syrie—Le Général Gouraud Organisateur,” in Revue Des Deux Mondes Paris (March 1921), 103. 51. Under the Ottomans, various administrative divisions were used for different parts of the provinces. Present-day Lebanon was part of two different administrative systems. See Engin Akarli, The Long Peace: Ottoman Lebanon, 1861–1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Carol Hakim, “The Origins of the Lebanese National Idea, 1840–1914” (PhD diss., St. Anthony's, Oxford University, 1997); Jens Hanssen, Fin de Siecle Beirut: The Making of an Ottoman Provincial Capital (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); Mir Zamir, Lebanon's Quest: The Road to Statehood, 1926–1939 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1997). 52. See Kais Firro, Inventing Lebanon: Nationalism and the State under the Mandate (London: I. B. Tauris,

2003), for an interesting summary of the various nationalisms that existed during this period. 53. Hakim, “Origins”; Zamir, Modern Lebanon. 54. See Ussama Makdisi, The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in NineteenthCentury Ottoman Lebanon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). 55. See Yahya, “Unnamed Modernisms,” for a detailed description and discussion of this process. 56. For example, by May 1920, there were 740 private, mostly Christian schools created by the missionaries or through subsidies given to the Maronite patriarchy versus 240 public schools opened by the Mandate authorities. Thompson, Colonial Citizens (New York: Columbia University Press), 61. This discussion would Page 256 → continue well into the mandate especially in the parliament where many members of parliament voiced concern that cuts in the public education budget were under-mining national education and giving way to sectarian divisions. In a passionate defense of the public school system, MP Michel Zaccour would argue, “Only in public schools could the constituents that make a nation be brought together” (Chambre Des Députés, Troisième Législature, Deuxième Session Ordinaire, Compte Rendue de la Séance, Séance du Mardi, December 18, 1934, 6. MAE Nantes, 18-942). 57. See section I, Hanssen, Fin de Siècle; Malek Ali Shareef, “Urban Administration in the Late Ottoman Period: The Beirut Municipality as a Case Study, 1867–1908” (MA thesis, American University of Beirut, May 1998); Carla Edde, “Étude de la composition du conseil municipal beyrouthin (1918–1935). Renouvellement des élites urbaines ou consolidation des notables,” in Municipalités et Pouvoirs Locaux au Liban, ed. Agnès Favier (Beirut: CERMOC, 2001), 79–102. 58. This comment was made in front of the representative council during the 1922 vote on the new municipal law. Quoted in Mohamed Machnouq, Hukumat Bayrut: Iskaliyyat al-qiyada al-asriyya libaladiyyat al-asima (The Government of Beirut: The problem of modern leadership for the municipality of the capital city) (Beirut: Mu'assasat lilnasr, 1995), 45. 59. This last requirement was replaced after independence with proportional representation based on urban districts rather than religious sects. See Edde, “Conseil municipal beyrouthin.” See also Marlène Ghorayeb, La Transformation des Structures Urbaines de Beyrouth pendant le Mandat Francais (Thèse de Doctorat IIIe Cycle Urbanisme et Aménagement, Université de Paris VIII, Institut Francais d'Urbanisme, Paris, 2000), 154. 60. Edde, “Conseil municipal beyrouthin,” 82. The allocated proportions to each community were based on a 1922 census conducted by the French, which was itself problematic. Members of the Shiite community especially did not register for the census fearing it meant an increase in taxes. Armenian emigrants who had recently arrived from Turkey were also underrepresented. One of the repercussions for this action was the creation of a cleavage between the city and its residents, a cleavage that continues into the present day. 61. MAE Paris, Levant, Syrie-Liban box 578 (1930–1940). 62. This discussion was posed as a response to the question of how to “modernize oriental cities” that preoccupied mandate authorities (MAE Nantes, ibid.). For more details on this proposal see Yahya, “Unnamed Modernisms.” 63. Al Surouji, “Designing Our Streets,” in Lisan al Hal, February 21, 1923, quoted in Robert Saliba, Beirut City Center Recovery: The Fosch Allenby and Etoile Conservation Area (Gottingen, Germany: Steidl, 2004), 121. 64. On national symbolism, see Berlant, The Anatomy of a National Fantasy, 5 and 55. 65. Madiros Altounian (1888–1958) was born in Bursa (Turkey). At the end of World War I he emigrated from Paris to Beirut. Upon arrival he was assigned as an illustrator and then architect at the Ministry of Public Works. Interview with his son Achot Altounian, March 2003; Achot Altounian, A La Recherche du temps retrouvé avec mon père (Beirut: Sipan Printing Press, 2000); Saliba, Beirut City Center, 123. Page 257 → 66. As a friend commented during one of my presentations, when she saw an image of the parliament building on the screen she realized that she has never really “seen” the building despite her almost daily visits to the area. 67. Fakher el Dine was the Prince of a self-governed administrative entity in the seventeenth century seeking independence from the Ottoman Empire. He is considered by many as the father of modern Lebanon. He was executed by the Ottomans in 1653. 68. Al Anwar, “Interview with Achot Altounian” conducted by Nuhad Tapoulian, January 2002; Private

interview, March 2003. 69. The muqarnas is a motif common to Mamluk architecture and reinterpreted by French and British historians of the nineteenth century as an embodiment of Islamic and Arab architecture. 70. The Waqf is an endowment, often in property and money, held in trust for the members of the particular religious community. 71. A national pact was struck between by Lebanon's political leaders in 1943 in an effort to maintain a balance of power between the various religious communities. It distributed parliamentary seats according to a formula of six Christians to five Muslims applied at all administrative levels in the country. It also designated that the president of the republic be a Christian Maronite, the prime minister a Muslim Sunni, and the speaker of parliament a Muslim Shi'a. All administrative appointments in the government follow the same pattern. It is worth noting that this pact violates article 12 of the constitution that identifies merit as the basis for public appointments. However, this article itself conflicts with article 5 of the constitution that insists on the equal representation of all sects in public offices. 72. This was in part as a result of French mandate practices common to other parts of their colonies and which acted on divisions among religious communities, as well as the particular interests of powerful religious or public figures in the country.

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10 Sincan, a Town on the Verge of Civic Breakdown The Spatialization of Identity Politics and Resistance GÜVEN ARIF SARGIN Contrary to the common argument that secularism is a by-product of the Enlightenment Project and a successor to religion, recent studies have argued that it is a public practice that is in perpetual relation to religion.1 Accordingly, the manner in which to understand how secularism positions itself and the unique ways it manifests itself in the surrounding political contexts of institutional and everyday life can only be understood in relation to religion. In other words, secularism is an ideology that maintains its position in relation to religion, and sustains its political power in the public sphere. This chapter will argue that secularism as an ideology specifies and maintains its position in relation to religion, and sustains its political power through visual practices in the public sphere, specifically performances, production and circulation of images, public appearances, and what we might call “spatial politics.” The argument is developed through a specific case study of the spatial politics of secularism and religion in Turkey. As part of Turkey's modernization project, secularism has been an institutionalized political ideology; for the secular state elite it was the founding ideology of the republic, that was reflected in the public sphere and became the common ground for framing the norms and standards of public life. For this reason, the new Turkish state in its early years brought all religious activities under the Page 259 → state's administrative control. Hence, Islamic institutions and practices were placed under the strict control of the secular state. This implied close control by the state over the public visibility of religion, while official Islam was given a limited presence in the public sphere. In this way, the public sphere was defined as part of a larger state building project with which the new secularist vision firmly positioned itself, in relation to existing religious establishments, not only materially but also visually through images, displays, and performances. As a result, the republican ideal of the public sphere became a larger field of power relations through which secularism and religion mutually constituted each other. Focusing on Ankara, the Turkish republic's new capital city, this chapter examines the intricate play of power relations described above through the spatial politics of the city. Ankara, here, is viewed as the city of real-andimagined, material-and-metaphorical constructions by which the authority of secularism and the popular presence of religion coexist. However, the exercise of authority and its presence must be explained through practices in the public sphere. It is implicit that the possibilities for ample differences of subjectivities are publicly apparent as they initiate their unique spatial politics. According to the secular state elite, Ankara in its early decades was to represent the power and identity of the new nation-state through its urban and spatial practices. Its urban fabric including boulevards, streets, and squares, all constructed according to Western standards akin to those of European examples (modern, hygienic, and rational), were believed to provide a modern urban environment for reinforcing Turkey's secular everyday life. They were to also provide an alternative to the political influences of the old regime, associated with the Sultanate, Islam, and its 600-year-old-capital, Istanbul.2 The eminent power of Western urbanism here played a pivotal role: for the republican elite, contemporary qualities of Western urbanism and its social engineering were of significance, as surely were the subsequent modern everyday practices. Along with the three consecutive attempts to plan the new capital, the overall construction of new state buildings, all modernist in style, and the cultivation of its vast open landscape for modern practices of recreation further signified the spatial transformation of Ankara for the revolutionary purposes of progress and change.3 The ordinary people of Ankara could now be invited into those new urban spaces where a distinctly powerful secular identity as a representation of constructed reality was possible. In this representation, secular identity was a social construct and the city's urbanism as well as its modernist architecture seemed to be the best political means to reflect and reinforce this construct. Page 260 → In this context, spatial practices and politics became the best means with which and through which to challenge

this secular identity. Secular identity was regarded as a process of ideological positioning, almost a symbolic placement that required prearranged practices and spatial types. At the same time, spatial politics were used by religious groups so as to dismantle the state elite's homogenizing secular urban environments; urban spaces were reclaimed as manifestations of their possible public presence and visibility. For that reason, since the proclamation of Ankara as the new capital (October 13, 1923) the city was drawn into a spatiality of power relations where conflicting subjectivities—the state elite, new national bourgeois, conservative politicians, and moderate Islamists, as well as the local religious radicals—could coexist as they mobilized their spatial constructions, materially and visually. However, unlike the secular republicans, the spatial practices of religious groups were the visual manifestations of religion itself against the preexisting secular orders and spatial constructions. Such practices necessitated reconstructions and reinventions of public spaces based on religious genealogies. In this respect, this chapter explores the formation of Turkey's secular and religious publics around the norms of modernity, state secularism, and religion with respect to Ankara's urban spaces. It examines how Turkey's secularism is empowered through modernist spatial politics and explores how Islamic subjectivities also utilize alternative spatial politics as a means for asserting their ideological presence and visibility, and thus challenge the authority of secularism. Ankara, in this respect, provides an urban environment through which the remapping of the city as the loci for nonsecularist spatial recovery as well as religious practices is possible. As a result, the study suggests that the city's secular sense of time and space, and its space-making mechanisms are challenged through such practices; so are the secular qualities of its predominant identity. At this point, our principal aims are, firstly, to elaborate on the proponents of secular and religious ideologies and the role of their spatial politics in making the city a symbol of secular authority, religious resistance, and contesting identities; and, secondly, to show that, despite successive attempts by the republican elite to dominate Turkey's urban spaces, the spatial politics of its capital city have been shaped by a much more complicated net of interactions and conflicting interests.

Power to Discipline; Power to Resist On February 4, 1997, the shanty streets of Sincan, a suburban town of Ankara around 15 km. from the city center, were unexpectedly rattled by Page 261 → the mechanical sounds of roaring tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs), all lined up on its main boulevard. The modest nature of this town and its dramatic engagement with the military then caused national turmoil that politically devastated the whole country during the days that followed.4 The first official explanation came from the military: according to the spokesperson of the Turkish Chief of the General Staff, “a military convoy on its way to the firing-field suffered engine malfunctions and stopped for some time in the town center.” For political observers this official statement was a complete fabrication and the sudden presence of military vehicles meant the onset of a crisis. Shortly after the incident, it was understood that the convoy was not part of a prescheduled military exercise. Oddly enough, the state-owned news service, Anadolu Ajansi, had been informed about the convoy's original route prior to its mobilization.5 This deployment of the army received utterly different responses. While the press office of the prime minister offered a sarcastic comment stating that, “Much larger military convoys were routine on national parades.” Secular pundits claimed that incident was the secular army's legitimate reaction to recent developments. On February 21, 1997, the Second Chief of General Staff, Cevik Bir, powerfully expressed the army's position in his speech to the annual meeting of the Turkish American Council in Washington, DC where he stated that, “they [the army] in fact balanced democracy in Turkey.” Of the many speculative statements, therefore, the view that this robust display was rather a meticulously executed “military ultimatum,” soon became a widespread belief.6 As some political observers have suggested, the military warning, in fact, was not only aimed at Sincan's pro-Islam local administration but also targeted the religious outgrowth and its spatial expansion in all Turkish cities. Knowing the increasingly powerful role of the military in Turkey's political life since the 1920s and witnessing some antisecular developments nationwide, particularly after the local elections of 1994 when pro-Islam groups enjoyed a massive victory in major cities including Istanbul and Ankara, the coalition government and the Refah Partisi (Welfare Party) were now under serious threat.7 For some, the Sincan case can be interpreted as part of the political and ideological maneuvering between Turkey's contesting historical blocks for power. It seemed that through its actions the army had designated the town of Sincan as the spatial representation of this enduring struggle.8 There, the Turkish armed forces, as the staunchly

secular state's legitimate apparatus, on the one hand, and the growing communities with religious sentiments, on the other, were presenting two separate worlds. More importantly, Sincan was both the object and the instrument of those worlds, not only representing Page 262 → the capacity of political power for control, authority, and discipline but also the possibilities for public resistance and subversion. Sincan was in fact an exemplary milieu for unpacking and analyzing some of Turkey's key defining cultural and political constructs such as secularism, religion, power, and political representation.9 The twofold nature of this particular incident is vital for understanding the ongoing war between Turkey's historical blocks for control over cultural politics and political identity.10 In this context, one might then suggest that Ankara's spatial operations and performances encapsulate a powerful story for revealing the ever-changing qualities of contemporary Turkish society. Moreover, the sites of constant contestation of deeply structured identity politics, spatial performances also provide interesting narration of the ideological representation of Ankara's urban spaces.11 This is not a call for essentialist identity politics. Rather it is a call for a complex reading of the city's multilayered temporal and spatial attributes in order to, firstly, arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of its identity politics and, secondly, to make the problems of belonging or otherness, and alikeness or difference, more explicit in relation to Turkey's discrete ideologies and its changing urban spaces. Spatial practices in such a context are an essential element for understanding national politics while spatiality is an expressive constituent of separate identities. However the spatialization of identity in the Turkish context needs to be read through the wider lens of representation, difference, and negativity. Representation in sum is a symbolic construction, and negativity is an important source of the Other in making the qualities of subtle differences. Dependent upon various forms of representation, the very realm of difference is an end product of such relational conceptions as belonging, otherness, and alikeness, and at the end it is a collective ethos.12 Accordingly, the capital city Ankara is an important representation of difference both for the modernist state elite, which is staunchly secular in nature, and the pro-Islam conservative groups. Its spaces are the imaginary stages where a distinctly powerful identity as a representation of reality rather than a simple reflection of reality is possible. From the perspective of secular groups, therefore, the Turkish Armed Forces, organized to defend and protect republican secularism, was certainly manifesting its disciplinary power through the streets of Sincan.13 From their perspective, the streets of Sincan were no longer “neutral,” and the arrival of the republican cadre's tanks and APCs was meant to publicly restore the secular state's authority.14 In such a context the hegemony of Page 263 → the Turkish military was unquestionable: strategically stationed in the administrative hinterland of Sincan, and logistically supported by one of the most distinguished divisions of the republican army, the tank battalion was evidently superior in its concrete presence and mobility, as well as its speed. The incursion into and surveillance of streets by the armed forces was to represent the secular Turkish state's political identity and its ideological grand narrative. In short, identity, natural and man-made, was for the secular cadre, a process of self-positioning; almost a symbolic placement of prearranged values, types, qualities, or simply significant objects. Seemingly, Sincan's urban spaces were the material manifestations of all such ideological prearrangements. Since becoming the capital city of Turkey in 1923, Ankara has also acted as an inclusive terrain for spatial contestation between different communities. Subjectivities, including the state elite, the new national bourgeois, the conservatives, the moderate Islamists, and the radicals, were some active participants of this inclusive environment. Furthermore, all these subjects spatially divided up the capital and made their own differential spaces, either at the center or periphery, for further political confrontations.15 Historically speaking, the modernist space for the elite, for instance, was firstly believed to provide a public sphere for constructing a new collective ethos and indicating a continual tendency away from the political influences of the old regime. Secondly, modernism was also believed to enable them to have their own mythic spaces where authority and power could be publicly visible and legitimate. Power could best be presented via shared conceptions and learned experiences, and in this respect, secular urban spaces were regarded as the necessary constituents for such ideologies. However, unlike the republican spaces, the spatial imprints of other groups were the very material manifestations of resistance and transgression. In other words, for these groups, working with counterspaces also necessitated reconstructions and reinventions, that called for nonsecular themes, events, and narrations, and whose

representations had to be based on conservative, preferably religious genealogies. In this context, the architecture of counterrepresentations came both to resist the power of the state elite's and to weaken the control of secular authorities of urban spaces. Deeply bound by the iconography of partial and fragmented opposition, the architecture of counterrepresentations became a part of Ankara's ever-changing identities. The city of Ankara's Kemalist facade was in constant challenge. So was the city's secular sense of time as pro-Islam groups enacted alternative spatial practices and representational motifs. As a result, Page 264 → for Sincan's pro-Islam block, the whole process of spatialization was an important instrument in increasingly transgressing the elites' very own identity and in reclaiming their lived spaces as significant locales of possible insurgencies. Lacking such qualities as speed and mobility, however, the mode of opposition, struggle, and appropriation for them required asymmetric forms of spatialization that were, in fact, organized around their temporary presence in ephemeral spaces. Their resistance in space was designed in a way to temporarily violate the others' territories through particular modes of transgression. Sincan's pro-Islam groups' transgression of secular identities, and thus of social and political territories, could only retrieve its perpetual meaning from the very material properties of space, particularly in Sincan's streets and squares. Religious rhetoric and its reflected iconographies as symbolic constructions for further spatial representations, in this process, were of extreme importance.

Contesting Histories of Transformation and Resistance The overall transformation of Turkish society as well as the construction of the capital Ankara, for many, can be considered as one of the most successful models of a universally defined modernization process.16 However, despite a broad range of views and political frameworks with which to discuss the history of Turkey's modernity project, the central argument of this chapter is located in two distinct positions. Firstly, it is believed that the mode of Turkish Renaissance has revolved around the binary oppositions of modern and secular versus traditional-andreligious. Secondly, the evolving identity of a secular nation-state has simultaneously included both patriarchal /authoritarian and democratic/pluralist tendencies. By establishing a new political and cultural cult, and since the 1920s, the Turkish project of modernity has come to represent conflicting political strategies and ideological mappings, as well as unique spatialities. In light of the above findings, one may then draw a specific conceptual frame for the Turkish case: perhaps not quite unique in its ultimately secular and yet Islamic context of perpetual transformation, the modern republic of Turkey has witnessed exhaustive challenges reproduced by its underlying political animosities. However, even though all these positions constitute broad generalizations, we believe that one can find ample information about the profound complexities that underlay modern Turkey's attitudes in making its identities. In this context, identities in which the bourgeois-nationalism Page 265 → and the proIslamic conservative interpretations were both possible, become politically significant instruments in the process of spatial transformations.17 Here, our principal aim is to first trace the imprints of this constant contestation in order to understand the spatial representations of conflicting ideologies and their symbolic making of the capital city. Secondly, our aim is to illustrate how that, despite repeated attempts by the republican elite to dominate Turkey's cultural landscapes, the spatiopolitical developments of the country have been shaped by a much more complicated net of interactions and conflicting interests. Defining political identity has unquestionably been a long-lasting play of confrontation since the Tanzimat, the first-ever secular reforms of the Ottoman Empire in 1839.18 However, this became more obvious during the foundation of the modern Turkish republic, called the Turkish Enlightenment. In 1923, the Kemalist Inkilap, or Kemalist Revolution, was officially introduced to spatially separate Ankara from the existing world of traditional and religious display evident in the former capital Istanbul. The power of the state elite in this intricate play was apparent in its ability to transform the city into a massive construction site by carefully ordering artifacts, events, and even annotating their codes of conduct.19 Despite their worldly presence and authority, it was also very important for the elite that all representations or references to Ottoman identity disappear, yielding a separate spatial context. Recognizing the fact that modernist spaces in urban landscapes were one of the most significant components of a new spatiality, the elite's order then captured a dramatic shift by which the prerepublican Ankara gradually came to a partial end.20 In other words, modern urbanism was a vehicle for constructing a new bourgeois identity. As such it required modernist urban images where the spatial inheritances of the Islamic Ottoman tradition and its authority could be subordinated to the secular demands of the republican elite.

As such, the trilogy of identity, Turkish modernity, and Western urbanism was a major intellectual theme amid Turkey's ruling power groups. This was made evident through new urban performances and ceremonies. It is also important to note here that in the early years of the republican period a distinctive image and service were given to Turkey's new cultural and spatial faculties. These were to reflect predominant themes such as the new republic or national sovereignty. Designed as the home of the nonclerical, nonpatriarchal secular society, the new urban programs and their spaces were to represent the civic character of Turkey's nationalist identity. Attached to these new environments were urban performances such as secular Page 266 → celebrations, festivities, and anniversaries. There were also dramatic reenactments of citizen participation in building a nation-state.21 Nationalist ceremonies, parades, celebrations, and protests, mainly organized, directed, and even carefully policed by the state, supported the invention of independent and yet official-formal traditions, customs, and codes of conduct that were different and separated from their political and religious geneses. Hence, Ankara's first civic urban spaces, for instance, witnessed the opening ceremony of the first National Assembly, celebrations of the War of Independence, the declaration of the modern Turkish republic, the abolition of seriat (Islamic law), and even the proclamation of the secular state. In sum, all of these performances were joyful events not only for the republican bureaucrats who were pouring into the city but also for the local populations, for it was believed that modern urban spaces and such public performances could help define a much needed collective identity. In other words, modern urbanism and public performances, distinctively secular and bourgeois in nature, were imperative, firstly to create the wanted public spheres and secondly to fully use the new civic environments, republican squares and boulevards, for the material localization of the invented identity of modern Turkey. At the same time, the spatiality of counteridentities was also of significance. Conservative groups thoroughly believed that space was a powerful apparatus for cultural resistance through which they could target republican invention. Paralleling Turkey's initial politics and in relation to the republicans' restructuring of urban spaces, a similar mode of organization developed amid conservative power groups demanding their social and spatial enclaves since the early 1930s. In particular, following Turkey's transition to a multiparty system in 1946 and then after the national election in 1950, the conservative power bloc enjoyed major success. Consequently, the Kemalist Inkilap finally came to a partial end. As a result, the Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi's (CHP, or Republican People's Party) three-decade-long power, retained as the only legal political institution since the mid-1920s and associated with Western-oriented intellectuals, the secular military, and the national bourgeois, were all now under serious threat. Counterreforms, principally backed by the victorious conservative Demokrat Parti (Democrat Party), were now on their way to fully resist the Kemalist agenda. Believing that the political trajectory associated with Turkey's shift from East to West, with all the ritualistic, symbolic, aesthetic, and spatial manifestations, was an ideological failure, the prominent ideologues of the conservative power bloc began to criticize the republican Page 267 → elite for their perception of Islam and Ottoman heritage.22 Amid a broad range of positions, the main criticism was that the Kemalist Inkilap and its single-party regime constantly erased prerepublican memories and that the secular elite carefully confiscated traditional Turkish identity.23 Consequently, counterreformists, conservative central governments, and pro-Islamic local authorities found a vast political vacuum in which to transform the political and spatial landscapes of Ankara and create a culture of architecture that was, most of the time, organized around retrospective images of an Ottoman heritage or a distinct Islamic ideology.24 However, the spatial politics by the conservative groups came to a partial end on May 27, 1960, as a result of the first military coup d'état—an organized attempt by the state elite, the military, and the secular intelligentsia to control the ever-increasing power of the counterreformists. Turkey witnessed another military intervention on March 12, 1971. However, the years between 1960 and 1980 gave way to drastic civil disorder, and as a result, Turkey witnessed a third military intervention. This third military coup d'état that ended the civil war that had been steadily growing since the late 1960s among the factions of leftists, ultranationalists, fundamentalists, and Kurdish separatists not only brought a temporary peace to the streets of Ankara but also caused a substantial change in the nation's political orientation as well as in its economy for a second time.25 Under the strict direction of the new junta's three-year administration the remnants of the statist-protectionist policies were abolished. However, with the ensuing economic liberalism and decentralization the Kemalist state elite began to lose its administrative authority. As a result, local governments came to enjoy financial and administrative autonomy.26 Accordingly, the electoral success of the pro-Islam power groups in March 1994 was important: many of the major Turkish cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, once regarded as spaces of the Kemalist Inkilap, were now in

the hands of pro-Islamic local governments. Parallel to the above developments, the year 1997 also opened a new chapter in the history of the modern republic because, for the first time, a pro-Islamic party received the largest share of the votes cast. In addition, by holding key posts in the cabinet, they actively took part in the coalition government. Once positioned on the margins of politics, Islamic parties now believed that they could become the voices of popular resistance or subaltern identities. What was most needed to recover the past was therefore a calculated process through which a remapping of Ankara's spatiality could be possible beyond the centered domain of the dominant social and spatial orders. As a Page 268 → result, conservative performances during the Holy Month of Ramadan and communal services such as free meals and shelter for the urban poor came to more powerfully dominate Turkey's spatial practices as part of the cultural activities of pro-Islam groups' as well as their attempts at Islamists' social engineering. In such a context, urban-scale special operations as non-neutral containers of such religious performances became critical. For example, the construction of semiclosed public tents in squares and parks to house Ramadan festivities that included religious ceremonies, something never done previously, became very popular with the wider public events. Both the performances and such constructions, of course, provided the necessary means for ideological operations in a way both to recover radical identities and to evoke the most desired religious memories. The town of Sincan in this intricate struggle was certainly important. Originally planned around the outskirts of the capital city so as to provide housing, retail, and small-scale social amenities for a growing proletariat, this environment is currently one of the largest suburban areas for working-class families as well as for diverse economic and cultural groups. The town is in fact a stronghold for Ankara's religiously fundamentalist population, who desire spatial and cultural enclaves through which their political sentience can thoroughly experience autonomy and privilege.27 Sincan, for the conservative power bloc, is actually regarded as a strategic location for seeking counter and yet radical identities, and its urban spaces are therefore the best political apparatus to cultivate them.

Remaking a Religious Locale for Resistance and Transgression Upon his election as the new municipal governor of Sincan, Bekir Yildiz, a hard-liner of the pro-Islam Refah Party, carefully used his position for the normalization of counteridentities in the city. Exhibitions for religious publications, informal gatherings, and meetings for solidarity as well as formal conferences were organized regularly to make Sincan an active milieu for an alternative culture. In other words, for the local government, this suburban town was now de facto a religious community and a private locale for constant indoctrination in an attempt to fabricate a subaltern identity. Of the many structures built as part of the public performances of religious events, one urban construction built by the governor deserves special consideration, for it became an important representation of secular Turkey's final retreat in the 1990s, and with which the republican grand Page 269 → project of secularism and modernism lost its original power in urban spaces. Planned to simulate a very sacred site in Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock (or the Qubbat Al-Sakhra as it is known to the Islamic world), made out of regular plastic fiber, steel poles, and wires, was temporarily erected in the town center as a public service for Ramadan ceremonies. Religious meetings were as important as the construction itself. In fact, what triggered the military in the winter of 1997 was that construction and the following public events were designed, built, and conducted by Bekir Yildiz himself. On January 31, 1997, four days prior to the so-called military exercise, the municipal governor, Bekir Yildiz, and the Iranian ambassador to Turkey, Muhammed Riza Bagheri, attended a special gathering, known as Kudus Night (Jerusalem Night). Decorated by colossal portraits and flags of religious leaders and organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah and a huge painting of the original Qubbat AlSakhra, the construction was carefully designed to look like an ideological script in the very material particularities of this deceptive, yet quite effective, divine emporium.28 Followed by the provocative speeches of Yildiz and Bagheri, who both called for Islamic law and order, militant players in traditional garments performed, according to organizers, “a short drama” about the “Israeli occupation of Palestine,” “their civic upheaval” (or intifada), and “the Palestinian people's asymmetric resistance” to machine guns, grenades, and armored vehicles. Not surprisingly, this very amateurish yet politically expressive performance was completed with a very dramatic scene in which stone-throwing young Palestinian rebels were shot dead by the Israeli look-alike troops. The play

received an immense public response; the cheerful audience, estimated around 2,000 by some independent sources, was in tears, reciting religious verses and crying out loud altogether: “Allahuekber—God is great, down with Israel, death to the oppressor.” Although the play was a very short theatrical representation of political turmoil and deadly confrontations between opposing forces in the Middle East, it was also implicitly referring to the century-long dispute between Turkey's secular and antisecular historical blocks. The Turkish army was somewhat portrayed as aggressive and anti-Islam; consequently, the performance called for an Intifada-like civic upheaval against Kemalist ideology of “secularism and modernism” and presented a very keen resemblance to what had been experienced for years in the Turkish context.29 Simulating uprising, resistance, and passive violence against “oppression, despotism, and domination,” the Kudus Night, as a result, caused nationwide political turmoil. Needless to say, the search for an ideologically engaging iconography Page 270 → and its unique spatialization in Sincan's town center needs to be discussed in relation to Turkey's spatial politics. There, Sincan's identity was thoroughly empowered with religious symbols for a distinct representation with which a constitutive outside and the notion of difference were now possible. Furthermore, the choice of a specific architecture for that construction was no coincidence, but it had a practical reason: the identity of the original Qubbat Al-Sakhra was due to concrete experiences, for it was associated with specific spatiotemporal frameworks, and its experience and remembrance were deeply implanted in its spatial qualities. Located in one of the most divine cities for three major world religions, the original Qubbat Al-Sakhra dramatically captures a very distinct nemesis for the deeply committed Turkish people because of its long history under the reign of the Ottoman Empire. However, its history goes far beyond the Ottomans, for the building is regarded as one of the earliest examples of Islamic architecture, that still retains its original function after thirteen centuries.30 Built on top of the Sacred Rock, the Aqsa mosque continues to be used after thousands of years while the Qubbat Al-Sakhra with its octagonal shape, highly decorated facades, and golden dome marks, for many, the beginning of a Muslim era for the region.31 Today there remain many associations with the Sacred Rock, that is considered the oldest temple in Palestine, and the construction of the mosque between 688 and 692 empowers its religious significance more than ever.32 Identified with early, pure Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, the history of the Qubbat Al-Sakhra, also includes a very significant epoch. In 1517, during the reign of Sultan Selim, Jerusalem fell to the Ottomans, and for more than four centuries its administration was in Ottoman hands. In 1918, Jerusalem was no longer a part of the Ottoman Empire but under the British Mandate. However, with great respect to Islam and the apex of Ottoman classicism in art and architecture, the Turks have always praised the Qubbat Al-Sakhra's great monumental effects befitting the first House of Islam.33 The building, therefore, represents more than aesthetics for conservative Turkish people; it is rather an ideological commitment—a commitment that was to elevate the Qubbat Al-Sakhra's very own vocabulary into a specific iconography that could mutually blend the representations of Islam and the classical Ottoman era.

Marking Spatially “The Other”: Displaced Public Spheres Here, the simulacrum of Qubbat Al-Sakhra, manifested a special quality for pro-Islam Turkish groups, as well as local populations and government. Page 271 → The act of mimicking the original building as well as the choice of Sincan's town square, in this respect, was no coincidence. It was an intelligently driven act; restoring the very meaning of religious spaces and making them as detached as possible from modernist planning and architectural concepts. Rather it encapsulated a long-lasting desire for political displacement. There, a different mode of identity was badly needed, and its spatiality also required a theatrical stage to turn myths and symbols into ideological constructions for possible counterrepresentations. In this respect, the public performance and the simulacrum of the Qubbat Al-Sakhra as a nonneutral container were two constitutive elements in making an ideological allegiance among the locals. In doing so, both the public performances and the construction itself made public subversion and deviance in the bare images of historically significant spaces possible. By reenacting the codes of Islamic architecture and providing the necessary means for a collective memory, a sense of belonging, otherness, and alikeness was now more than possible. In fact, the sense of otherness was materialized dramatically on February 3. A television reporter from an independent channel, who was carrying out an investigation into Sincan's fundamentalist communities and taking

pictures of the simulacrum of the Qubbat Al-Sakhra, was brutally beaten, apparently by an Islamist militant, right in front of the construction. The militant's stubborn offense took place right in front of several passersby, as well as photographers and cameramen, and the event was in the newspapers and on television screens within hours. As one might expect, the contesting parties and the media had different views: for the secular papers, television channels, and NGOs, the incident was outrageous and intolerable, and the state had to take the necessary measures to penalize this illicit act of violence. The daily Zaman, the supporter of the pro-Islam Refah Party, on the other hand, seemed to be concerned, yet it was still eager to accuse the reporter of being provocative. However, a sarcastic response came from one of the most fundamentalist newspapers, Akit, which is known for its very aggressive tone and antisecular sentiments: according to Akit, this offense was in fact a “legitimate civic response” to outsiders who came to violate private religious rights. The reporter's unfortunate confrontation with the militant group was certainly important, for it was an unlawful yet self-referentially legitimate means of interplay to reveal the unspoken, the invisible, and the unrecognized. She, as a “secular professional woman,” was penetrating, through the media, an event she was not a part of: the sacred territory of the simulacrum of the Qubbat Al-Sakhra. Among other qualities, such as her profession and political orientation, the reporter's gender certainly needs further Page 272 → attention.34 Not quite having the same position as a man in traditional Islam, the reporter was in fact forcing the limits of religious tolerance as she transgressed spatial and political territories normally off limits to her and to women at large. At the same time, because she was not in traditional dress and manner, she was different and thus a major threat to the fundamental principles of Islam. To put it more explicitly, both the construction itself as well as its undrawn territory were no longer neutral, and any kind of transgression of this territory would be disciplined accordingly. In the eyes of proIslam groups, the reporter's presence violated their political and spatial territories, and her unauthorized act of entering represented an illegitimate act. It was perfectly known by those groups that the transgression of space and thus of social and political territories had to be prevented through the help of space's very material properties. The secular reporter's disturbance as a form of transgression therefore needed the restoration of privacy, and consequently marking their spatial territory was vital through any means necessary. Privacy could only be legitimized through distinct rituals and codes of conduct as well as performances that included the removals of all undesired public atrocities. The Kudus Night, as well as the incident with the reporter on the following day, amplifies the fact that the construction in some ways represents the fall of the secular public sphere and the rise of religious visibility in communal settings, which are manufactured by self-sustaining social groups within distinct spatial territories. Along similar lines, the public sphere in Sincan calls for a radical detour in which the secular public now becomes irrelevant, and the religious spaces fragmented into private spheres locate the whole issue as an urban question. Almost fabricating a forceful discrimination and division between “us and other,” “in and out,” or “he and she,” in this sense, Sincan's own Qubbat Al-Sakhra stresses the fragmented and fragile social identities. As clearly manifested in this artificially built, mosque-like pseudodivine edifice, the religious community of Sincan is only tangible, material, and visible within their religiously confined public spheres. Hence, their identity is also exclusively legitimate through privately defined spatial enclaves that are designed with specialized, unique differences. Clearly enough, Sincan's spatiality also works with a net articulation of difference, which calls for Otherness as the most determining category of all to make such an increasingly effective distinction between “us and them.” Thus, it might well be suggested at this very point that the question of identity is one of social power, and its articulation requires more than individuals, as difference is primarily inscribed upon historical categorizations such as religion itself.35 Page 273 → Sincan's new religious sphere actually works as an interface for autonomous, self-referential, and disobedient events, rituals, and festivities. Cultivating their own autonomy and reference systems, the mode of disobedience here, for some, is a legitimate resistance and insurgency. As paradoxical as it sounds, however, Sincan's resistance seems to locate its moral and emancipatory faculties in relation to Turkey's secular context. This act of religious recovery forcefully stresses privacy and community, and seems to be a repositioning of the secular public sphere in respect to such religious canons. There, the spaces of Islam practically relocate the original building and its

iconographic representation into a fetish object, a passionate idée fixe to meet a long-lasting desire, hope, and aspiration in the process of making a religious public sphere. In other words, the end product is certainly a spatialized commodity made for its prospective believers' constant consumption. With its collection of fragmented information in its contemporary setting, the construction is an important repertoire for schizophrenic experiences, relying upon retrospective images and delusive architectonic vocabularies. However, by bringing the two domains of religious identity together, privacy and community, Sincan in fact exemplifies postindustrial Turkey's political landscape since the early 1990s.36 The empowerment of religious identity captures a massive part of this political reorientation and desperately needs its spaces via imaginary procedures within which privacy locates the entire public domain.37 Hence, the confrontation between the secular reporter and the Islamist militant should be discussed within the above setting. Representing two distinct groups, one identified with secularism and the bureaucratic nation-state's codes of conduct, and the other with the teachings of Islam and the authority of God, their self-realizations are built upon their conflict of interests. The construction, for the reporter, was an architectural piece. According to religious conservatives, however, it was a replica of the mighty authority of God, all-visible, in the very essence of material space, and therefore an ideological imagining whose violation was to be disciplined on the basis of his collective identity.

Finale: The Confrontation as It Was The inescapable dissolution of secular space into age-old pastiche, traditional cliché, and religious conviction, was an important effort to retrieve an explicit milieu of political exercise within Turkey's political context and to provide the means necessary for resistance and radical transgression in Page 274 → the public sphere. Therefore, for the secular block, the resistance needed to be overpowered, and the transgression had to be disciplined accordingly—the military intervention of February 4, 1997, was unavoidable. Once supported by the pro-Islam Refah Party's ideologues, municipal governor Bekir Yildiz, was abandoned by his comrades shortly after the arrival of military units and dismissed from his position after the interior minister's military-backed order the next day. He was then taken into custody by the national police on February 5 and detained on February 13 until sent to the National Security Court. He was sentenced to more than four years imprisonment on October 15, accused by the republican prosecutors of being separatist and antirevolutionary. The short drama that took place in the construction also faced the court: the players were sentenced to imprisonment for insulting the Turkish army. In the following days, and in part as a result of far reaching support by the secular media and the public, the Turkish government was forced to declare the Iranian ambassador to Turkey, as well as the Iranian counselor in Istanbul, persona non grata, and both were asked to leave the country. The year 1997 also became an interesting arena for further political insurgencies. Through the influences of the West Study Group (June 11, 1997)—a military committee organized by the Turkish General Staff to pinpoint and investigate the nationwide growth of religious fundamentalism and its geographical enclaves—the effective intrusion of the Turkish army into politics was about to change the entire course of the pro-Islam government. The increasing tension between the army and the government came to an end on June 18, 1997, with the resignation of Necmettin Erbakan, the prime minister of the coalition government, and the leader of the Refah Party. This brief historical account shows that Turkey's public sphere should also be viewed not only as a realm of dialogue and debate but as a larger field of power relations. Mutually constituting each other, both secularism and religion are active domains through which the official public sphere in Turkey is grounded in a form of secularism that has been institutionalized as a state control over the public presence and practice of religion. As such, spatial politics and representations were commonly used as the main apparatuses with which the state enacted its founding ideology. However, the religious challenge to secularist discourse since the 1920s has also been part of Turkey's public sphere and similarly used the elements of spatial politics to defy the authority of secularism. There is no doubt that public constructions, performances, appearances, and images became effective Page 275 → means of giving public presence and visibility to religion in order to subvert the authority and power of secularism. It should be noted here that the public sphere in Turkey was and is still under the strict surveillance of the state, and yet such religious confrontations also show that the public presence of Islam and its visibility are very possible. However, this case study has also shown that public presence and visibility do not necessarily guarantee means for dialogue and debate for all individuals as suggested by Habermas.38 Contrary to his accounts, the public sphere of

Turkey is a larger field of power relations through which the state mobilizes its apparatuses so as to maintain its founding ideology. Emancipatory ideals attributed to the public sphere, in this respect, fall quite short in explaining how particular subjectivities can obtain their political liberties and also at the same time yield to the power of discipline and punishment. To sum up, a final word is still needed: by providing the necessary means to challenge the secular establishment and its spatial politics, the case of Sincan in fact seemed to defy what the original republican ideology had done over time in Turkey. The case of Sincan, in this sense, not only presents a challenge to Turkey's secularist ideology but also becomes the very simulacrum of its social contradictions and confrontations. As part of its underlying power relations all these contradictions and confrontations should be viewed as a sheer representation of how Turkey's public sphere has been constructed, sustained, and maintained in time, not only in a material sense but also in images, performances, and simulations. Therefore, Sincan draws our attention to Turkey's contesting ideologies and their spatial politics. It is evident that the city of Ankara as well as the suburban town of Sincan reflect a wide spectrum of ideological positions. What gave shape and meaning to this particular development, of course, are Turkey's inherently powerful antagonisms that ceaselessly imagine the nation as an authentic cradle of varying subjectivities. However, it should be suggested that the spatial politics of religion is now in a form of partial and fragmented resistance. Once symbolizing secular ideology and the public sphere, the cities of Turkey nowadays are sites of contestation between different political parties asserting their positions territorially.39

NOTES 1. For further reading, please see Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Cultural Memory in the Present) (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003). Page 276 → 2. In other words, in the saga of Turkish modernization, the dominant perceptions of space and associated cultural codes have surfaced as modern as a result of both specific policies and the state elites' social constructions. Embracing and internalizing all the cultural dimensions of the European Enlightenment, modernity was there regarded as a total project to support Turkey's nationalist fabrications. In this specific framework, the social structure had to be reconstructed around the well-formulated and protected institutions and shared notions, values, and ideals that were believed to constitute the necessary instruments for social change. Güven Arif Sargin, “Displaced Memories, or the Architecture of Forgetting and Remembrance,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 22, no. 5 (2005): 659–80. 3. H. Jansen and J. Brix were professors of urban design in Berlin, whereas L. Jauesseley, famous for his Barcelona and Paris plans, was the head architect of the French government. Formally invited by the government to develop plans for the new capital, the Turkish government finally decided on Jansen, whose work was relatively modest in its scale and style. Seemingly that fitted quite well with the central government's expectations as well as the limited national budget. 4. Feridun Aksin, Cumhuriyetin 75. Yili. Cilt 31 (Istanbul: Yapi Kredi Yayinlari, 1999). 5. Established on April 6, 1920, under the directives of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and organized by two prominent nationalist writers, Halide Edip Adivar and Yunus Nadi, the “Anatolian Agency” is today considered as one of the first national institutions. 6. William Hale, Turkish Politics and the Military (New York: Routledge, 1994). 7. In the late 1980s the main Islamist political party in Turkey was the Refah (Welfare) Party, which was banned by the Constitutional Court in 1998, but it immediately reapppeared as the Fazilet (Virtue) Party the same year. Fazilet was also banned in 2001, after which the party split into two when the moderate wing left the party under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey's current prime minister) to found the Adalet ve Kalkinma (Justice and Development) Party, which achieved a landslide victory in the November 2002 elections. 8. Frederick Jameson, “Architecture and the Critique of Ideology,” in Architecture, Criticism, Ideology, ed. J. Ockman (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), 51–87. 9. Following the first military coup d'état, Turkey's civic history came to a partial end on May 27, 1960. Turkey witnessed another military intervention on March 12, 1971. The third coup d'état on September 12,

1980, which lasted three years under the effective administration of the military junta, also changed the nation's political route completely. 10. Gramscian theory suggests a subversive practice of cultural politics and specialized public spheres for the growth of “opposition” and “resistance.” Antonio Gramsci, The Modern Prince and Other Writings (New York: International, 1959). Page 277 → 11. Kevin Hetherington, Expressions of Identity: Space, Performance, Politics (London: Sage, 1998). 12. Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Social Space (London: Blackwell, 1991); Michael Keith and Steve Pile, Place and the Politics of Identity (London: Routledge, 1993). 13. The army as the political domicile of nationalist officers since the abolition of the traditional military system by Sultan Mahmud II's order for the Ottoman Empire's first-ever reformist military school in 1834 played a crucial role not only in the Turkish War of Independence, but also in modern Turkey's decadeslong modernization project. As a leading graduate of the Turkish War Academy on February 10, 1902, Mustafa Kemal also devoted himself to Turkish nationalism and the Western mode of secularism throughout his career. For more information about Kemalist ideology as reflected in the Turkish armed forces, see Mehmet Ali Birand, Shirts of Steel: An Anatomy of the Turkish Armed Forces (New York: I. B. Tauris, 1991). 14. For Virilio, a traumatic intercourse between urban spaces, their ideological representations, and such occupations through militaristic interventions were all possible. Paul Virilio, Speed and Politics (New York: Semiotext[e], 1986). 15. By the end of World War II, Turkey had undergone serious transformations. First, the transition into a multiparty system circa 1946 meant an explicit representation of the growing political contestation between the modernists and the conservatives. Second, staunchly effective statist policies, concentrating extensive controls in the state bureaucrats, ceased to exist, and new conservative governments since then gave way to economic liberalism as the sole successor of all economic formulations. Finally, a massive population influx from the poorer periphery into metropolitan areas, including the capital city, also became a major event that eventually changed Turkey's demographic maps. 16. Modernity in the Turkish context also signifies a project of total transformation, needing new social and spatial orders based on the principles of “reason,” rather than Islamic canons: e.g., abolition of the monarchy-Sultanate, November 1, 1922; declaration of the foundation of the republic, October 29, 1923; abolition of the Islamic Caliphate, March 3, 1924; abolition of religious courts, April 18, 1924; abolition of religious orders and Islamic Law (sheriat), November 1925; acceptance of the civic and penal codes, October 4, 1926; secularization of the state, April 10, 1928; acceptance of Latin alphabet, November 1, 1928. See Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Ilhan Tekeli, Modernite Asilirken Kent Planlamasi (Ankara: Imge Kitabevi, 2001); Sibel Bozdogan, Modernism and Nation Building: Turkish Architectural Culture in the Early Republic (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001); T. Kili, Atatürk Devrimi, Bir Cagdaslasma Modeli (Ankara: Turkiye Is Bankasi Kultur Yayinlari, 1983). 17. Güven Arif Sargin, Ankara'nin Kamusal Yuzleri: Baskent Uzerine Mekan-Politik Tezler, ed. Güven Arif Sargin (Istanbul: Iletisim Yayinlari, 2002). 18. Tanzimat literally means “reorganization” and “comprehensive program.” Page 278 → New regulations in several fields were described in a document called the Hatt-i Serif (Noble Edict of the Rose Chamber): a new administrative system, new codes of commercial and criminal law, a standardized system of taxation, a new conscription system based upon Prussian patterns, a guarantee of racial or religious freedom, a new secular school system, and a guarantee of security of life, property, and honor were some of the key initiatives that took place. 19. At the turn of the century, Ankara was a small town of 20,000 with a very poor urban quality. Being far from Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire's capital city since 1453, and having no industry, agricultural significance, administrative power, or even municipal organization, the town in fact lost its all primacy by the nine-teenth century as a result of substantial economic transformations in the Anatolian peninsula. The choice of Ankara was therefore certainly political, both to initiate the Turkish War of Independence, 1919–23, and to enable the elite to erase any remnants of the old regime. 20. Inci Aslanoglu, Erken Cumhuriyet Donemi Mimarligi 1923–1928 (Ankara: METU, Faculty of Architecture Press, 2001); Renato Holod and Ahmed Evin, Modern Turkish Architecture (Philadelaphia:

University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984); Afife Batur, “To Be Modern,” in Modern Turkish Architecture, 68–93. 21. nci Yalim, “Ulus Square as a Representational Form of Collective Memory” (MS. dissertation, Middle East Technical University, 2001). 22. Serif Mardin, Turk Modernlesmesi; Makaleler IV (Istanbul: Iletisim Yayinlari, 1991). 23. The Democrat Party's counterreformist discourse, that for twenty-seven years the former regime had restricted traditional values, including the right of religious practice and its spatial organizations such as mosques and masjids, became a nationwide theme among the conservative population. Serif Mardin, “Modern Turkiye'de Din ve Siyaset” in Turkiye'de Din ve Siyaset, trans. M. Erdogan (Istanbul: Iletisim Yayinlari, 1993), 114–45. 24. Güven Arif Sargin, “The Architecture of Displacement: Notes on Monuments, Memories, and Identities of a Nation-Capital: Ankara” (paper presented at the 4th International Other Connections Conference, Sites of Recovery, Lebanon, Beirut, 1999): 339–48; Cana Bilsel, Güven Arif Sargin, and Belgin Turan, “Islam, Modernity, and the Politics of Public Realm in Turkey: The Kocatepe Complex of Ankara” (paper presented in the ACSA European Conference Proceedings, Berlin, 1997). 25. Kemal Karpat, Social Change and Politics in Turkey: A Structural Analysis (New York: Brill Academic Publishers, 1997). 26. Soner Yalcin, Hangi Erbakan: Milli Nizam'dan Fazilet'e (Istanbul: Su Yayinlari, 1999); Korkut Boratav, Turkiye Iktisad Tarihi: 1908–1985 (Istanbul: Gercek Yay Yayinevi, 1998). 27. Murat Güvenc, “Ankara'da Statu/Koken Farklilasmasi; 1990 Sayim Orneklemeleri Uzerine ‘Blokmodel' Cozumlemeleri” in Tarih Icinde Ankara (Ankara: METU Faculty of Architecture Press, 2001), 17–34. Page 279 → 28. The posters included Fetki Sakaki, Yahya Ayas, Abbas Musavi, and Musa Sadr, who were known as the leading members of Hamas and Hizbullah, which are listed by the U.S. federal government as well as many of the European countries, including Turkey, as the most radical terrorist organizations. 29. The players were not carrying any significant insignia or any other identification badge that could resemble that of the Turkish armed forces; neither were their uniforms the same as the standard issue of Turkish army personnel. They also claimed that the play in fact had no specific association with any nation or time. 30. The Qubbat Al-Sakhra is part of a larger holy precinct in the eastern part of old Jerusalem, where the temples of various religions, from the Temple of Solomon to Hadrian's Temple of Jupiter, from Christian's Templum Domini to Caliph Umar's first masjid of the Dome of the Rock, have succeeded one another with fascinating iconographic shifts. This holy district is today known as al-Haram al-Sharif to Muslims in which one of the most respectful religious buildings, Masjid al-Aqsa, was also built. Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary, is second only to Mecca for the Muslim pilgrimage. Its importance, on the other hand, comes from the fact that it is also emphasized in the Koran: according to Islamic legends, it is where the Prophet's Night Journey to God, the Miraaj in AD 622, is believed to have taken place. 31. The Sacred Rock has an almost-square cave, of which each side is four meters fifty centimeters and the overall height is three meters. Having an octagonal shape, on the other hand, in the Qubbat Al-Sakhra, “the length of each side being twenty meters-ninety five centimeters, or 167.60 meters in all; and nine metersfifty centimeters in height, above which is a parapet two meters-sixty centimeters high.” Volkmar Enderlein, “The Holy City of Jerusalem: The Dome of the Rock,” in Islam Art and Architecture, ed. Markus Hattstein and Peter Delius (Cologne: Konemann, 2001), 64–79; A. El-Aref, A Brief Guide to the Dome of the Rock and Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Jerusalem: Supreme Awqaf Council, 1964), 4. 32. The Qubbat Al-Sakhra is associated with the Umayyad period: Aldul-Malek Ibn Marwan, or Abd alMalik, the Umayyad Caliph of Damascus, was believed to have given the order to build the first Masjid over the “Sacred Rock” (688–92). A. El-Aref, A Brief Guide to the Dome of the Rock and Al-Haram AlSharif (Jerusalem: Supreme Awqaf Council, 1964), 10–31. 33. Yildirim Yavuz, “The Restoration Project of the Masjid Al-Aqsa by Mimar Kemalettin (1922–1926)” in Moqarnas An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World (London: Leiden-E. J. Brill, 1996), 149–64. 34. Nilufer Gole, The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996).

35. Lawrence Grossberg, “Identity and Cultural Studies: Is That All There is?” in Questions of Cultural Identity, ed. Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay (London: Sage, 1996), 87–107. 36. Oguz Isik, Melih Pinarcioglu, “Sultanbeyli Notlari,” in Birikim, Kentte Yarilma (Ankara: Iletisim Yayinlari, 1999), 47–52. Page 280 → 37. David Hummon, Commonplaces: Community Ideology and Identity in American Culture (New York: State University of New York Press, 1990). 38. Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (New York: Polity Press, 1992). 39. The author thanks Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aysen Savas and Asst. Prof. Dr. Namik Erkal at METU's Department of Architecture for their final comments and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bulent Batuman, of Bikent University, Faculty of Art, Design, and Architecture, for his library research. In addition, the author would like to thank Asst. Prof. Christopher Wilson of Izmir University of Economics, Faculty of Fine Arts and Design for his careful English proofreading of the text.

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11 The Secular Icon Secularist Practice and Indian Visual Culture KARIN ZITZEWITZ Since the 1980s, India's secular intelligentsia has struggled to understand the nature of the threat that Hindu nationalism poses to more inclusive forms of national culture established during the freedom movement and by the postcolonial state.1 Visual culture was perhaps the form most obviously targeted by Hindu nationalist political practices. India's popular visual culture—a complex that includes glossy and colorful “god posters” and a famously enormous film industry—had long drawn from the rich well of Hindu iconography to produce images that were used in a variety of social situations. But in campaign posters, in processions, and even in the posture of their political leaders, Hindu nationalist parties came to link the icon of the Hindu god-king Ram to a violently exclusionary politics.2 By insisting on Page 282 → the god's historical existence and his connection to a defined religious community, Hindu nationalist uses of Ram reduced a complex symbol capable of signifying virtue or suggesting political allegory to an assertion of Hindu majoritarian domination. Indian public intellectuals noted this transformation with alarm.3

India's modernist artists were particularly affected by a sense of crisis. For them, Hindu iconography was part of an Indian artistic tradition that their work continued, if in an autonomous and avant-garde form. The effect that Hindu nationalist uses of the Ram icon had on its meaning prompted Indian artists to rethink the role played by Hindu icons in Indian visual culture in general. This intellectual challenge led modernist artists to produce a wide array of secular approaches to the icon.4 In so doing, they articulated visual forms of the secular. In each, the meaning of symbols, their relationship to religious practice, and their connection to various viewing publics were reconstituted.

To envision a secular form of the icon meant to articulate a practice of visual culture that could serve as a lasting alternative to the Hindu nationalist form. K. G. Subramanyan, one of India's most influential artists and theorists, developed the most analytically sophisticated of these practices through a landmark series of essays and, even more effectively, through a series of works of art. In 1989, as the Hindu Right engaged with the iconography of Ram, Subramanyan explored the image of the warrior goddess, Durga.5 He concentrated on the mahishasuramardini (the goddess who killed the buffalo demon), a form of the goddess that is ubiquitous as a focus of worship and as a metaphor for the victory of good over evil. Subramanyan's mahishasuramardini icons emphasize the multiple meanings of the image, countering the dogmatic claims made by the Hindu Right in their own treatments of iconography. Subramanyan's images show his viewers that there is a choice: on the one hand, the icon could be a vehicle for an explicitly exclusionary religious politics; on the other, its public presence, as part of an Indian artistic tradition, could be compatible with the political and ethical imperatives of secularism. K. G. Subramanyan (b. 1924) came of age as a student activist in India's nationalist political movement. Jailed by the colonial state, he was barred from state-sponsored universities, so he trained in art at the private university founded by Rabindranath Tagore in Santiniketan, West Bengal. His experience as an activist left him disillusioned and reluctant to participate in formal politics, but Subramanyan has consistently donated his work and name to progressive causes, including secular activism.6 Yet he is best known as India's most influential theorist of visual culture, a role he assumed Page 283 → in the 1970s.7 As a leading art teacher and writer, Subramanyan has developed a theory of art as communication.8 He has sought to align modernist art with a wider field of Indian arts and crafts in order to demonstrate how art can both be meaningful to a community of viewers and invigorate that community's thinking about India's visual culture. Emphasizing the communicative value of art, the meaning of Subramanyan's painting and sculpture is established in the social relationship it prompts between artist, art object, and viewer. And yet, Subramanyan's modernist sensibility values art that is untranslatable, in which meaning remains ambiguous. The ambiguity that distinguishes good art from reductive or didactic work highlights art's social and historical contingency. For Subramanyan, that contingency produces what he calls art's “multivalence,” or the density of meanings contained in an object. Subramanyan describes works as “multivalent” when they are genuinely open to interpretation. While this is a general characteristic of art, he also argues that the Indian artistic tradition is unusually multivalent, made up of objects that mean different things in different contexts. The one stable attribute of Indian visual culture, he suggests, is the instability of meaning. A second source of contingency—one that Subramanyan does not acknowledge—is historical, triggered by events like the rise of Hindu nationalism. Although Hindu nationalist uses of icons were meant to fix or contain meaning, one effect of the rapid political realignments of the period was semiotic instability. As I will show, in the late 1980s moment in which Subramanyan produced his secular icons, it was not at all clear what meanings could be expected to emerge in the social relationship of art viewing. In its emphasis on meaning, Subramanyan's theory of visual culture complicates two more common ways of understanding the Indian artistic tradition. In a definition also often employed by professional historians of Indian art, visual culture is an archive of historical forms that are available for citation by artists.9 He rejects that as too static a view of what he calls India's “living tradition.”10 The second theory, which also animates much present academic scholarship of Indian visual culture, finds in various artistic strategies a single recurring formal device of “frontality.”11 Yet the semiotic instability embodied in Subramanyan's notion of multivalence discourages an understanding of visual culture as a series of practices extrapolated from a single generative form. By contrast, his model is decentralized; it is ultimately reliant only on the intelligibility of signs to a community of viewers. The question of intelligibility emerges most strongly in historical periods Page 284 → in which the meanings of signs are profoundly destabilized, such as the period in question. For Subramanyan to produce his secular icons, he had to assume the existence of a community of secularists in India, just when that community was under threat. And yet, because Subramanyan's artistic practice is also a practice of secularism, his art objects have the potential to produce secular meanings in themselves. As practice, his secularism is grounded in a particular time and place; it is not simply a reflection of a stable ideological stance. It may seem counterintuitive, but in order to determine what ideological work is done by secular icons in India, they must not be seen as simple reflections of ideology.

Art objects must instead be shown to facilitate the forms of social interaction that characterize the political ideology of secularism.12 In other words, before understanding what the effects of the historical rupture perpetrated by Hindu nationalism on Indian secularism have been (and will be) on the meaning of visual cultural signs, it is necessary first to understand how visual culture works.

Hindu Nationalism and Its Critique The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political wing of a complex of Hindu nationalist organizations, achieved stunning electoral success in the 1990s. In the 1989 elections, the party increased its number of seats in the powerful lower parliamentary house, the Lok Sabha, from two to eighty-eight.13 The party's share of parliamentary power increased steadily until 1998, when the BJP was first able to form a coalition government. The movement that made this political rise possible sought to establish a temple on the supposed birthplace of the god-king Ram in Ayodhya. Begun in the mid-1980s, the Ram-birthplace movement peaked in 1992 with the destruction of the sixteenth-century mosque that Hindu activists claimed occupied the site of his birth. That act led to widespread rioting across India, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people. It also served to mainstream Hindu nationalist politics, reviving what had been a marginalized political force.14 Scholars have sought to establish a causal connection between the simultaneous appearance of new forms of visual culture and the new visibility and effectiveness of the Ram-birthplace movement.15 In the most pointed of these studies, Arvind Rajagopal links Hindu nationalist success to the spread of television in India.16 Though introduced in the late 1970s, television's spread was roughly coextensive with the Ram-birthplace movement; satellite television was introduced in 1992, the same year as the demolition of the Ayodhya mosque. Rajagopal argues that the BJP's new political Page 285 → practices took advantage of the transformative power of television as a medium. They capitalized on the extraordinary popularity of the televised version of the epic of Ram's life, the Ramayana, which ran between January 1987 and August 1989. Rajagopal argues that the serial's appeal as a shared idealized past allowed it to bridge the elite-subaltern social and political divide symbolized by the division between the English-language and vernacular-language press. Rajagopal concludes that by harnessing the interest in Ram to the Ram-birthplace movement, the BJP was able to take advantage of the polysemy of the Ram serial while reducing its political effect to a simple assertion of Hindu primacy. As the agitation around Ram's birthplace heightened, public discussions of secularism among Leftist intelligentsia were increasingly anxious. The 1989 national election included campaign promises by the ruling Congress Party that were meant to appease Muslim and Hindu groups' claims on the site of the birthplace. Those actions ultimately led to an escalation of the conflict in Ayodhya, and they drew questions about the party's definition of secularism.17 Despite their stated commitment to secularist nonintervention in the sphere of religion, the Congressled state appeared in fact to be excessively interventionist. All that secularism appeared to mean was the formal maintenance of parity in submissions to theologicopolitical demands. In the face of the Ayodhya movement, it became increasingly clear that secularism as it existed in India was an ineffective counter to religious nationalism.18 The debate about the failure of state secularism was divided between culturalist arguments that debunked secularism as foreign to Indian soil and historically grounded arguments that described the present political impasse as a product of the particular form of governmentality developed in postcolonial India.19 A third voice in the debate ultimately defended secularism as the flawed last hope of a tolerant society.20 These arguments, later collected in a foundational volume in the contemporary scholarship on secularism, were prompted by their authors' engagement with the crisis precipitated by the success of Hindu nationalist political claims.21 Despite their differing conclusions, the authors shared the sense that the major tenets of the secularization thesis were empirically false. Whereas classical arguments about secularism saw the creation of a public sphere cleared of religion, contemporary scholarship has come to claim that secularism has constituted religion as a bounded form, separate from the field of politics and of reasoned critique.22 Conversely, as the essays in this volume demonstrate, religion is also constitutive of the form taken by secularism, particularly in the public sphere. My analysis of Subramanyan's work demonstrates Page 286 → the reliance of his particular form of secularist practice on very modern ideas of religion, and on the permeable boundaries between religion and ethics.

Disrupting Mahishasuramardini In K. G. Subramanyan's Mahishasura Mardini 2 (1989, fig. 11.1), the goddess Durga bursts into the frame riding a magnificent blue lion. Scattering bulls before her, she fires a series of tridents at a blue demon whose human head has just emerged out of that of a bull. This large painting, done in reverse in oil and watercolor on a clear acrylic sheet, is exceptionally dynamic. It captures the energy of the long battle undertaken by the goddess and the buffalo demon, one of the most commonly represented episodes in Hindu mythology. The mahishasuramardini (goddess who kills the buffalo demon) image has a very long history in textual and oral tradition and in sculpture, painting, and folk and modern media. In the story as recorded in the sixth-century Sanskrit text, Devi Mahatmya, the goddess (here not named Durga) engages in a long battle with demons led by Mahisha, a demon who has taken the form of a buffalo. Various moments in the narrative are commonly represented. The most popular of those is when the goddess finally kills the buffalo demon: her foot on his throat, she pierces him with her spear and finally cuts off his head with her sword (e.g., sculptures at Mathura, ca. 1st C. CE, and Aihole, ca. 7th C. CE). Relief sculptures at Mamallapuram (ca. 7th C. CE) show an earlier battle scene, while the Ambika-Mata temple in Jagat, Rajasthan (dedicated 960 CE) dramatizes the moment when the human form of the demon is dragged out of the neck of the decapitated bull. Versions of these scenes are also staples of the various court-painting traditions of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries.23 Alongside these temple and court representations of the theme are treatments in “folk” painting and sculpture from several Indian regions.24 This series of objects shares an iconography that refers to textual and oral narratives. The icon therefore serves to unify disparate visual forms into a historically continuous field of the Indian artistic tradition. It constitutes an archive of visual culture. In this archive model of visual culture, contemporary forms of the mahishasuramardini image are buttressed by and, arguably, reconfirm the relevance of its classical history in painting and sculpture. The intersection of past and present also encourages the continued production of folkic forms that often correspond more to local oral traditions than to formal Page 287 → written texts.25 As art historians have shown, the mahishasuramardini collection is also connected to a wider set of terrible forms of the goddess, including other versions of Durga and Kali. This literature often highlights how the goddess image has been transmitted into modern media—particularly from sculpture to painting to prints. For these commentators, the persistence of iconic imagery is a sign of cultural continuity and the continued relevance of the Indian artistic tradition in modern life. That point is unusually easy to make about the mahishasuramardini image. By the eighteenth century, the icon had gained a specific public importance, particularly in the eastern state of Bengal, where Subramanyan lived in 1989. In the modern period, enthusiastic Durga puja (worship/festival) displays have been mounted each October, with the mahishasuramarsdini as their centerpiece. This festival, along with other public forms, encouraged the growth of Kolkata into a center for popular art production in India.26 While recent commentators have described these public celebrations as potentially contentious expressions of social power, they have also consistently pointed out that Durga puja has not been captured by the exclusionary politics of Hindu nationalism.27 Gayatri Spivak has argued that Kolkata Hindus have folded the goddess image into a culture of toleration that she calls “Bengali humanism.” Spivak describes this as a “vision of Bengali identity … [that] points to a gendersliberated, egalitarian, and humane people domesticating Buddhism as high Buddhism moves to East Asia, coming to terms with Islam as Bengali Islam opens its doors to oppressed outcastes, acknowledging the body as the iconic representation of the universe.”28 Spivak celebrates the inclusiveness of this vision, calling it a dvaita (duality) “structure of feeling.” She sees in the Bengali treatment of the goddess the dvaita principle of the “unanticipatable emergence of the supernatural in the natural,” or the notion that every being is always potentially both god and not-god.29 Spivak associates this internalized form of radical alterity with the différance of deconstruction, but she ultimately invokes dvaita in order to explain how tolerance for social and religious difference can be maintained within a Hindu religious practice. The appeal of Subramanyan's mahishasuramardini image lies both in its connection to a visual archive and in the ethical appeal of the cultural concepts it contains. In Mahishasura Mardini 2, Subramanyan represents the moment when the demon emerges from his form as a bull. This choice emphasizes the “metamorphic flow” that,

Subramanyan argues, characterizes the Indian pictorial tradition as a whole. In writings contemporary to the picture, Subramanyan plays with the same Hindu principle highlighted by Spivak, noting that there is “a girl in every goddess. A goddess in every Page 288 → girl.”30 Subramanyan wishes his images to exist in the visually metaphorical space opened up by this popular concept. Although his Durga could not function for worship, he does maintain its potential as a representation of a sacred narrative. Yet he balances the sacred potential of the icon with ironic distance, commenting on the icon even as he represents it. Such a balance is constitutive of Subramanyan's modernist approach to art practice, which sets great value on disruption. As he writes, his goal is not only “to save the common from being too common” but also “to save the uncommon from being too precious.”31 In this particular instance Subramanyan wishes to disrupt the image of the goddess as a solemn symbol of the triumph of good over evil. The key is the scattered bull-demons, which are charmingly painted, as Subramanyan's animals tend to be.32 They are beasts, indeed, but familiar ones. They look so much like the common water buffalo—an animal driven through village and city streets in harmless herds—that they are quite literally domesticated. With these animals to control, for all her power, Durga really is at once a goddess and a village girl.33 When Gayatri Sinha interviewed Subramanyan about this painting, he began his response by mentioning a few childhood memories of temple images.34 But he also told a story from when he lived in Jangpura, which in the Delhi of 1960 was still a village neighborhood within the city. Once, Sinha paraphrases, a villager attempted to steal a buffalo from the village rehabilitation center. She continues, “A woman jumped into the fray, slapped the thief, and then led the buffalo by the horns to safety.” In Sinha's interpretation, the spirit of that story pervades this painting. While all of the elements of a classical mahishasuramardini are there, “the myth is desacralised into an image of a goddess, half-virile, half-playful.” By marking the presence of the mythic or divine in everyday life, she argues, Subramanyan's image is simultaneously sacred and profane. Sinha's interpretation of the image amounts to a summary of the secularist position on Indian visual culture: it is sacred and secular at the same time. Outside of its sacred function, its attributes as an image—what Subramanyan will call its “multi-valence”—are attributes of Indian culture as a whole. This is a second-order interpretation of secularism: first, as in Spivak's notion of dvaita, the sacred and the secular are seen to coexist in a single object; second, that coexistence is itself seen as a unique form of secularism. For Subramanyan insists that the secularism of the image is not an ideology of pure separation from religious content but stems rather from its interpenetration. As Ashish Nandy writes, describing the battle between good and evil that characterizes the mahishasuramardini, “these permeable Page 289 → borders between gods and demons, between the definitions of what is sacred in everyday life and what is not, are a major source of social tolerance.”35 Subramanyan's choice to emphasize multivalence amounts to a demonstration of a disposition toward the secular. Grounded in a particular form of Hindu thought, this secularism allows for the abstraction of ethically meaningful content from religious iconography.

Sacred Vision and the Secular Icon Subramanyan's theory of Indian visual culture is similar to the prevailing theory in academic scholarship, in which the distinguishing characteristic of Indian visual culture is its abstract relationship to Hindu religious practice. Yet there are important differences. In two groundbreaking articles on the genre of Indian cinema called “mythologicals,” Geeta Kapur and Ashish Rajadhyaksha posited a formal device, “frontality,” as an essentially Indian manipulation of the cinematic medium.36 Deities are shown in mythological films looking straight into the camera, a frontal address that is rarely used in narrative cinema. In mythological films, the exchange of glances is shown between god and devotee and is also, importantly, made available to the audience. Frontality describes the adaptation to film of a culturally particular form of sight, darshan. As religious studies scholars have described, darshan is the act of looking at a Hindu devotional image in which the devotee's glance is met by the god's.37 The substance of that meeting exceeds common notions of the glance to be described as an exchange of matter.38 For Rajadhyaksha, frontality is proof of the possibility of indigenous media—the transformation of the technology of cinema itself by cultural codes.

But for Kapur, that relationship is reversed, and the film medium itself ensures that this sacred practice is also secular. As frontality appears in film, she writes, the “transfer of affect between god, saint, and viewer” is accompanied by “an intersubjective truth-effect that is ultimately secular.”39 Kapur first reads the filmed exchange of glances as hierarchical, discerning a generosity in the god's glance that is proper to his superiority to his devotee. But she also finds that the devotee's gaze is ultimately reciprocal, suggesting an exchange between subjects rather than the bestowal of a divine gift. That upsetting of the sacred power differential is what makes filmic darshan, or frontality, secular in the sense discussed above. Although the semiotic mechanism of frontality is originally abstracted from Hindu religious practice, it encourages a habit of viewing that is ultimately divorced Page 290 → from that religious context and instead comes to signify Indian tradition as a whole. For Kapur, the use of frontality in film is only one example of a larger tendency toward what she calls the “surfacing of tradition.” This phenomenon, equally visible in word, image, and performance, is the chief characteristic of the category of the “popular” in India. She finds frontality in a series of popular forms: in the paintings produced at the Kalighat and Nathadwara temples and in the performance traditions of lila and tamasha.40 Her description of the “surfacing of tradition” is meant literally. Kapur finds in each of these objects a characteristic movement of the material of tradition to the surface, where it is available to the viewer. The process she describes corresponds to the formulation of the “iconic” in film theory, which she overlays with the common definition of the icon as a devotional image.41 She further notes how the icon is embedded in iconography, as we saw with the mahishasuramardini. In this theory of visual culture, the icon sits at the intersection of three domains of the image—the semiotic, the religious, and the art-historical—that correspond to distinct modes of meaning that are at once sacred and secular. In “frontality,” a description of a practice and a practice itself, Kapur has found an enormously productive site of convergence in which the model of visual culture as an archive is deepened into a theory of vision connected to the sacred but ultimately independent of it. The idea that frontality has a fundamental place in Indian popular visual culture is found in much of the scholarly work on the category, including studies of film, popular art, and photography.42 This material does not always consider frontality to be a secular mechanism, and it makes little distinction between the religious and the cultural.43 At times, in fact, this literature elides the sacred/secular distinction that Kapur so carefully articulates, reading frontality as a simple transcription of darshan. As a result, much scholarship on Indian visual culture validates frontality because of its connection to religious practice, while assuming that its effect goes beyond the community of practitioners. If one takes seriously the role that practice plays in the generation of culture, however, this version of frontality has limited value as a description of visual cultural practices meaningful to all Indians, not only practicing Hindus.

Visual Culture and Art Language Like the theory of frontality advanced by Kapur, Subramanyan's theory of visual culture focuses on the relationship between cultural practices and art Page 291 → objects. For Subramanyan, cultural practices can precede and influence the artistic practices that determine the form of objects. Frontality is one such example. But in other cases, the relationship is reversed, and formal tendencies, more visible in particular art objects, are revealed as cultural practices by particular artists. Further, Subramanyan sees less of a convergence between these two tendencies than Kapur. For Subramanyan, what really characterizes Indian artistic practice is its multiplicity; to him, art objects should not be sites of convergence but of a productive form of disruption. Instead of determining what unifies Indian visual culture, Subramanyan therefore asks how modernist artists can make objects that can enter the Indian visual cultural field. He answers that question in two ways: one, by describing how modernist artists practice within a wider field of visual culture and, two, by describing the field of visual culture itself. As we shall see in the section that follows, as Subramanyan outlines that field, he draws upon the idea of secularist practice already defined, under the sign of “tradition.” Addressing his fellow artists in his 1987 volume The Living Tradition, Subramanyan advises that they emulate his own engagement with the present-day “living tradition” of Indian arts and crafts. In this broader approach to art, artists would look past the surface of the object to take into account the entire process of production, which he calls the “work-circuit.” This prompt to practice includes everything from patronage, to the social place of the artist, to the materials used, to ideas about images, to the natural environment, to the formal choices of the artist.

The last, the formal choices prized by modernist art, is merely one small part of a process that is mostly external to the artist himself. “To an insider,” Subramanyan writes, a tradition is a chain of work-circuits; some components continue through time, some undergo change, whence the similarity and dissimilarity in the results. To an insider the commodity points of the results, or their similarities and dissimilarities, are less significant than the work-circuits and their component factors …; he believes that if he takes care of the seeds and the sowing, the crops will take care of themselves.44 Art objects spring (like crops) almost spontaneously from artists who are properly embedded in their work-circuit. The individual differences between those objects—what is normally thought of as style—are certainly present, but they do not prevent an “insider” from recognizing the art object as a product of his own tradition. Subramanyan imagines those “insiders” Page 292 → as embedded in culture, while modern artists fall victim to art's autonomy, or its separation from life. Modern artists, by whom he means middle-class and formally educated artists rather than lower-class craftsmen, must therefore learn their work-circuit. Artistic training should primarily be about this, not about learning to make forms.45 According to Subramanyan, modernist artists must overcome their own alienation and learn to be “insiders” to tradition in order to make art objects that can be recognized as Indian visual culture. But he also argues that the modernist should not sacrifice his critical attitude to Indian visual culture. That attitude can be maintained by viewing visual culture as an “art language,” a concept that allows Subramanyan to explore the complexities of the visual sign and its relationship to a “tradition.” He sees language as a system of meaning that begins with “equations” between symbols and meanings. But just as with objects and their makers, these equations are never absolute. Instead, With changes in context, configuration, implication, or association, these equations [between symbols and meanings] change in character and capacity, and gain thereby an elasticity or maneuverability that allows them to do a whole circus of feats, cross-trapezing from one perch to another, giving them various degrees of definition or indefinition, or what we may call multi-valence. This invests them with the necessary reach or resonance to embody experiences or concepts whose dimensions too are not strictly definable.46 Subramanyan has loosened the hermeneutic convergence that Kapur finds in frontality; he presents visual signs as more flexible, more slippery, and ultimately more divergent than she does. He quickly illustrates his point with particular kinds of signs. Choosing linguistic equivalents to Kapur's earlier cited collection of visual forms, he constructs a model for what should be recognized as “Indian tradition.” Whether simple in components and structure, or more loaded and complex, all these levels strike a special chord of human experience: the talk of the street, the housewife's cradlesong, the verbal antics of a village story-teller, the song of a Baul with its home-brewed philosophy, the lyric of a studied poet with its chiaroscuros of sound and meaning, the weighty enunciations of a philosopher, each unique at its level.47 Page 293 → According to Subramanyan, each level of complexity illuminates “human experience” in a particular way, and among a particular subcommunity of people. Art language is therefore not built on shared experience, but rather out of the multiple experiences that can be supported by a single language elaborated in many different ways. An artist who wishes to make critical statements should not abandon this language in a false bid for autonomy. Instead, he must learn how to use it. In his artistic practice, Subramanyan splits what he calls “multi-valence” in his writings into two closely connected principles. Instead of privileging the coalescence of forms, he looks for ways in which forms of signification emerge out of material interruptions. As I have already suggested, his predilection for interruption

has much to do with his modernism. But his modernist aesthetic sense also allows him to explore more thoroughly the equally disrupted forms of visuality present in nonmodernist Indian forms. What he uncovers is the “metamorphic flow” that he has argued not only characterizes his own paintings of mahishasuramardini but amounts to the secular potential of the Indian visual tradition. The overlap he sees between his modernism and Indian visual culture is an aesthetic tendency toward multiplicity and disruption, one exemplified by objects in which such opposing principles as the sacred and the secular can coexist.

Developing “Multi-Valence” Despite his elaborate linguistic metaphor, Subramanyan is careful in his writings to insist that, for art to be good, it must produce a meaningful visual experience. But as his artistic work shows, visual experience is anything but pure. As one critic suggests, Subramanyan's works frame “the experiential world in cultural quotes.”48 Beyond simply acknowledging that viewing is grounded in cultural habits, however, Subramanyan has an exceptionally complex approach to artistic practice in which the optical is countered by the tactile, and shared symbols are tempered by idiosyncratic gestures. Subramanyan assembled his technique gradually, developing an approach to the image first and then translating that approach into different media—from oil paint to clay and glass. By the late 1980s—the period of his mahishasuramardinis—methods he had developed serially began to be combined. Examining Subramanyan's formal development before he turned to the subject of the goddess will therefore allow us to more fully understand how his secular icons work. Page 294 → Beginning in the 1950s, Subramanyan rejected the expressionism that had a hold on the Indian art scene, in which a signature style of painting was seen as the product of an individual artist's psyche. Subramanyan retreated from his own canvases, which became less the expressions of an artistic self than formal experiments in methods for the representation of everyday objects. R. Siva Kumar, a curator and critic who has worked extensively with Subramanyan, describes his focus in this period as “reality and its visual transfer into painting.”49 As Siva Kumar notes, what concerned the artist in his early work was the exact opposite of what was going to characterize his Mahishasura Mardini 2: instead of finding the ordinary in the divine, Subramanyan attempted “the apotheosis of the ordinary.”50 What this meant was that various meanings coalesced onto a single image, whether of an ordinary woman or the studio table. Over the first two decades of his artistic career, Subramanyan attempted to increase the density of meaning that could be carried by ordinary objects. At first, he adopted a cubist approach, through which, generally speaking, he could show how the optical experience of an object is translated into the different optical experience of a painting. Those paintings focused on the surface of the canvas, rejecting the illusion of depth by juxtaposing glossy fields of color.51 In a group of works from the 1960s, however, he combined cubist representation with attention to the materiality of paint.52 He began to embed gravel, marble dust, and other sorts of grit into the surface of still-life paintings, countering the luminosity of his own earlier works.53 In these formal experiments, we can observe a gradual complication of the illusion central to painting—that a three-dimensional object can be represented on a flat surface—with more and more attention to medium. This was accomplished by the addition of tactility to a field of significance dominated by vision. In a group of works from the late 1960s, Subramanyan extended his formal experiments to focus on the problem of symbolic representation. He worked with a series of small square canvases, fitting them together to make grids that resembled unsolved sliding tile puzzles.54 While the forms he used were representational, they were jumbled into a set of recombined, barely recognizable references. What had been a formal exploration of the qualities of paint and the tactile disturbance thereof now turned into the manipulation of symbols in an effort to provide only the barest conventional cues to the meaning of a painting. Critics later found these works excessively formal. Although appearing very different, Subramanyan's experiments with different kinds of signs came to inform his later work. His concerns are Page 295 → combined in terra-cotta relief sculptures, using a technique he first developed in 1971. Subramanyan forms figures out of rolled clay that he pinches and scores until it represents

humans or animals. He then attaches those figures to simple slabs, necessarily small panels that do not curl or break in firing. As in his earlier paintings, he combines multiple tiles into larger compositions, and the division of the ground into a grid highlights the conventional nature of the symbols he used. But the overall effect is quite different. Subramanyan made many of these works during the 1971 Pakistani civil war, which India eventually entered and that resulted in the founding of Bangladesh. The war was marked by the abduction, rape, and slaughter of thousands of civilians by the West Pakistani army or Bengali militias. Most shocking, especially for members of the intelligentsia, was a series of killings and abductions of girls from Dhaka University. Out of concern for human rights, as well as a refugee crisis in West Bengal, most Indians supported their country's participation in the war. The subject of war and violence marked a real departure for the artist, who had up until then usually dealt with more innocuous aspects of everyday life. The terra-cotta mural was a particularly apt medium for the subject, however, and these works proved to be some of the most densely significant of the artist's career. Terra-cotta is a rich choice of medium. In its basic quality, unglazed terra-cotta evokes the earth. But it also brings immediately to mind the artisanal pottery that was an integral part of everyday life in India, particularly at that time. The artist's own gestures, small decorative scores and pricks, were meant to tap into a rich reserve of associations with indigenous pottery. They also disrupt the sensuous surface of the clay, as in his earlier experiments with gravel in oil paint. Most of all, however, the reliefs exploit the most basic propensities of terracotta to simulate the surface of skin and the weight of flesh. These associations are put to pointed use in these works, particularly in Sunrise at Tarsali (1971, fig. 11.2), in which figures are shown flayed but still recognizable. Cut off by the arbitrary borders of the panels, the bodies are combined in ways that mirror his late-1960s grids, marking the representations as arbitrary. But through his handling of the clay, Subramanyan references memories of touch and of use while eliciting a visceral reaction to the violent manipulation of flesh. So the meaning of those arbitrary signs is quite different, as is the overall effect of the technique. For Subramanyan, the terra-cotta relief provided an outstanding opportunity to explore deeply meaningful symbols within a medium that is itself richly significant. One way to understand these works is to note what sorts of interpretations Page 296 → they encourage in viewers and how they cast new meaning on the process of art viewing itself. In the earlier works, the concerns were primarily formal, by which I mean that they were about form and what art can mean. Subramanyan's relief sculptures prompt different sorts of reactions. One could imagine among those a range of categories from feelings (of sadness and rage), to observations (of the potential for human cruelty), to acts (concrete steps in the political field). It is worth noting that, in this case, the content of these interpretations is secular in the strictest sense of the word: religion is fully absent, and a secular mode of understanding human actions and the resulting suffering apply. His terra-cotta reliefs marked a turning point in his development of an artistic practice that was Page 297 → also a theory of visual culture, for they consciously tapped connotations of the medium that were associated with culture as habit. From this point on, Subramanyan's work would draw upon the entire range of semiotic properties of a medium and set of subjects in order to exploit all possible ways of making meaning and all of the kinds of meaning it is possible to provoke.

Around 1980 Subramanyan converted the techniques he employed in the terra-cotta reliefs to a medium in which the demands could not be more different: reverse glass painting. He modeled his work quite strictly on the tradition of late nineteenth-century South Indian reverse glass paintings, devotional objects that are the direct antecedents of the contemporary Page 298 → popular print.55 The sensuousness of Subramanyan's glass paintings goes beyond the luminescent medium, however. Deliberately modernized icons, they resemble both goddesses and pinups (see fig. 11.3). With this set of associations, he begins to connect his work to a specific archive of Indian visual culture. In doing so, he also draws attention to the links between other objects. His glass paintings link their nineteenth-century counterparts to present-day popular goddess prints and other, more explicitly erotic images of women. Those connections are nearly as strong as the one to his own body of work as an artist. In reverse painting the details are painted first, and the ground is added last. As a result, this technique effectively exposes Subramanyan's focus on gesture. These gestures are remainders of the physical actions of painting, the traces left exposed on its surface. For this medium, they are the equivalent of the pinpricks and decorative elements seen in the terra-cotta reliefs or, in a different way, the surface interruptions of his 1960s oil paintings. In the earliest forms of these paintings—of which Mahishasura Mardini 2, as a reverse painting on acrylic sheet, is a later iteration—Subramanyan applied gold leaf to the back of the picture. Shown through the glass, this gold glows and shimmers, and is notoriously difficult to photograph. It is only possible, then, to experience the quality of this picture in person: the deep gold reflects the light and, almost like a mirror, the viewer himself. The glass paintings are considered a watershed in Subramanyan's career, after which his work lost its last vestiges of formal experimentation and became more flexible and exciting to his viewers. While this set of glass paintings has some of the formal qualities of goddess pictures, these are conventional associations: they could never be confused with sacred icons. They are sensible to the viewer through these associations and powerful in their sensuous color and plain eroticism. Subramanyan's Mahishasura Mardini 2 is unlike them on this score. As an icon of the particular form of secularism in which the sacred and the profane intermingle, that painting not only refers to these two sets of conventional signs—iconography and historical artifact—but it also takes part in the semiotic effects of the sacred. But it is important to point out that despite these multiple layers of signification, the effect is not didactic. Subramanyan's references remain open to interpretation, with their exact meanings, he insists, mysterious even to him.56 As Siva Kumar writes, unlike the popular or folk artist, Subramanyan “defreezes” the painted icon, for “while rendering each figure or object, the conventions are rearticulated rather than repeated.” The objects are difficult to read because they “point not to fixed types but to an evolving Page 299 → iconography.”57 Even as Subramanyan insists upon the importance of the iconography of what he would call “tradition,” he also insists upon the importance of “enlivening” those icons and deliberately interrupting their easy transmission. As a result, even as he denies mastery over his own works, their distance from mere convention is a product of his sensibility. This sensibility is ironic, modernist, and, as I will argue below, ultimately secular. As a result, it would be impossible to mistake Subramanyan's practice as “actually” traditional. Despite his explicit attempt to disappear from his art objects, Subramanyan's agency as an artist—which is a product of modern subjectivity—always threatens to supersede that of his work. As products of what is, at once, his modernism and his modernity, the art objects that Subramanyan makes do not only signify as we have already described—experiments in form and the communicative power of art, and elements of visual culture—but they also manifest the artist's self. They do not just project his own individuality as an artist, but a particular kind of subjectivity that is, among other things, modern, modernist, secular, and national.

Secularist Practice In a recent interview, Subramanyan argued that the basic modernism of his work could be found in his attitude toward visual cultural signs. His distance from these semiotic codes meant that his references to the goddess, for instance, are different from a craftsman's deployments of the same sign.58 His critical distance from the sign—his subjectivity as an artist—is what makes the work modern. That is also what makes these objects secular, for Subramanyan's semiotic interruptions are results of a deliberate effort to preserve the coexistence of the sacred and the everyday in artistic works. Subramanyan's mahishasuramardini image is not secular because it avoids or

destroys the sacredness of the icon, but because of its attitude toward the sacred. It is still possible to see this icon as an index of the presence of god, but it is surely not only that. The secularism of Subramanyan's image does not come from its removal from the field of the sacred, but rather because the sacred is made to coexist with another, more humorous vision of the goddess as a village woman interacting with livestock. As I have already mentioned, this secularism is similar to that of the frontal shots in mythological films, as discussed by Kapur, in which the sacred glance is doubled by the conventions of cinema that allow the viewer to enter the frame. In both cases, secularism Page 300 → is the interruption of the sacred function with the everyday. In Subramanyan's terms, such a gesture at once defamiliarizes the “common” or everyday and familiarizes the “uncommon” or otherworldly. It holds open the possibility of an act of viewing that is not an act of darshan; in that space, the image is recognized and appreciated, but not worshipped. It allows Mahishasura Mardini 2 to be an artifact of national visual culture, open to non-Hindus. If, in the case of mythological film, that openness is sustained formally by the medium of cinema itself, for Subramanyan, it is left to the viewer's interpretation. It encourages in the viewer a certain form of secularism: the ability to look beyond the sacred to see the profane. Subramanyan creates his works of art within a framework characterized by a distinct relationship between modernism, secularism, and Indian visual culture. Although the artist pledges to keep his images open-ended, and although images like Mahishasura Mardini 2 encourage a secular attitude on their own, I would argue that Subramanyan's painting requires the viewer to evince the epistemic formation and ethical attitude of “the secular.” The object demands as the common ground of its understanding a secular commitment to the openness of cultural signs to ironic reinterpretation by all Indians, regardless of religious identity. That form of toleration, which amounts to a disposition to the world, is the ethical form of the ideology of secularism. Among those who share Subramanyan's interpretation of secularism, the good-natured toleration that characterizes popular Hinduism is imagined to be the egalitarian and openended content of the form of the secular.59 In this formulation, the secular does not exactly collapse into the sacred; instead the content of religion is encircled by the secular. And through that process, it is transformed into an inclusive ethics. Before the rise of Hindu nationalism in the 1980s, it would have been assumed that the viewers of contemporary art would have such an ethics, and it is possible that Subramanyan still assumes that his viewers will be characterized in this way. Yet in the moment of this image's production—a moment of crisis—that assumption had to be questioned. In 1989, it seemed as if quite suddenly the secular bedrock of the Indian middle class was disintegrating under the stress of Hindu nationalist publicity. One would not want to overdramatize the effects of this within the art world, a segment of Indian society in which there is little debate about the necessity of secularism both to the state and the public sphere.60 Regardless, the indeterminacy of meaning in Mahishasura Mardini 2 opens the painting up to debate over the nature of religion, the meaning of religious icons, and the place of both in the public sphere. In this context, a series of questions emerge: Should the mahishasuramardini image be considered to be part of a shared code of reference? Page 301 → Or are such gestures ultimately part of a secularism that is not actually inclusive, a “composite culture” that, at the end of the day, corresponds only to a kind of Hinduism? Is this a “common ground” secularism in which the ground cannot be felt to be common at all? This last possibility had the most implications for modernist artists engaged in thinking about Indian visual culture. It reflects the same doubt voiced by Partha Chatterjee a few years later, when he argued that secularism as practiced in India was not at all incompatible with Hindu nationalism. As he predicted, one could easily imagine the Hindu Right “using all of the ideological resources of [the modernizing] state to lead the charge against people who do not conform to its version of the ‘national culture.'”61 That is exactly what has come to pass in, for instance, the legal prosecution for offense to religious sentiment of artists who publicly exhibit similar ironic reinterpretations of Hindu iconography.62 The toleration so valued by secularism's supporters is neither fundamental to the ideology nor was it produced by its legal formulation. One cannot simply rely upon the goodwill of the modernizing secularist elite—exactly the sort one could presume to be the viewers of Subramanyan's icon—to continue to maintain the entry point of irony and double entendre in their opposition to Hindu nationalism. The sort of symbolic interruptions that Mahishasura Mardini 2 provides are simply not enough to arrest the collapse into exclusionary religious politics.

A Safer Secularism There is evidence that Subramanyan concluded as such. Although his more recent images continue to privilege instability, they no longer take part in the effects of the sacred. Instead of disrupting the sacred with the everyday, Subramanyan's images tend only to refer to secularized narrative expectations. The secularism of Subramanyan's more recent images has come to resemble the practice of another Indian artist, Tyeb Mehta. Around the time of Subramanyan's turn to mahishasuramardini, Mehta, a Bombay-based painter, began to paint another terrible form of the goddess, Kali. Mehta was drawn to the violence of the Kali image for he had long been preoccupied by representing the role played by violence in the human condition. In order to see Kali in that light, however, Mehta felt it was necessary to eliminate much of the iconography of the goddess, including her necklace of skulls, her sword, and her multiple arms. The Kali he paints is the “presiding deity of this yuga [era]”—the “age of violence”—but rather Page 302 → Page 303 → than sacred, the image is “a distillation of the social, psychological, emotional, and physical content of our culture.”63 Mehta divests the icon of its sacred power in order to highlight the relationship of the iconic symbol to worldly problems. Mehta's image projects a different sort of secularism than had Subramanyan's.

Subramanyan's later works seem to share this new secularist practice, if with more humor. In Ageless Combat I (1998, fig. 11.4), the mahishasuramardini story is applied to marriage. The canvas is split in two, with Mahishasura and Durga in the upper half. In the frame below, a couple argues over a dining table. Unseen by his wife, the man's legs are replaced by two heads of bulls, marking him as a poor demon, undoubtedly about to be thrashed.64 While this painting shares his earlier practice of seeing Hindu mythological themes in everyday life, it does little to comment on the icon itself. That sort of intervention has simply become off-limits. By noting the foreclosure of certain forms of image making within the community of Indian contemporary artists, I do not mean to highlight their separation from the several other, more popular domains of art in which iconic images have retained their divine functions and/or fallen into full-voiced Hindu nationalism. Instead, I wish to call attention to the vulnerability of visual culture itself to historical events. My reading of Subramanyan's work posits that visual culture is less an illustration of a community than it is an agent of it. But just as art objects can prompt certain meanings, they can also fall victim to changes that prevent those meanings from coming to light. In this case, the kind of secularism in which the sacred and the secular are held together under the sign of tradition is challenged not just in the domain of political discourse or law but also in the practice of contemporary art. To put it another way, to mark this shift is to mark artists as secularist practitioners in contemporary India. Considerations of how K. G. Subramanyan's image making has been changed by the emergence of new discursive limits allows us to widen the scope of what the practice of secularism can be considered to include. What visual culture offers is a space in which choices about representation and meaning are conceived as modes of understanding the world that have social and political implications. In this context, secularism can be seen as a political ideology that is also a social practice dependent upon the work of visual culture to mediate between subjects—here, artist and viewer. For Subramanyan, visual culture can only embrace the full multivalence of its signs—the multiple kinds of meaning, including the sacred and the secular—when social conditions allow for both the full exercise of the artist's critical function and the assumption of a stable ethical community. Page 304 → In recent decades in India, both of these possibilities have become compromised.

NOTES 1. A longer version of this essay was published as “The Secular Icon: Secularist Practice and Indian Visual Culture,” Visual Anthropology Review 24, no. 1 (2008): 12–28. 2. Peter van der Veer, Religious Nationalism: Hindus and Muslims in India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994); Richard H. Davis, “The Iconography of Rama's Chariot,” in Contesting the Nation: Religion, Community, and the Politics of Democracy in India, ed. David Ludden (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996), 27–54; Arvind Rajagopal, Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Kajri Jain, Gods in the Bazaar: The Economies of Indian Calendar Art (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007). 3. Anuradha Kapur, “From Deity to Crusader,” in Hindus and Others: The Question of Identity in India Today, ed. Gyanendra Pandey (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993), 74–109. 4. While goddesses had been the subject of contemporary Indian art before, in the 1980s a number of influential artists focused more squarely on the icon itself. See Tyeb Mehta's paintings of Kali, Akbar Padamsee's paintings of Jesus Christ, and the 1970s and 1980s work of M. F. Husain, whose icons have been the subject of much debate. 5. Subramanyan completed two murals that incorporated the goddess, as well as a number of paintings and sketches. The first mural was a set of three relief sculptures of goddesses in sand-cast cement, executed with Gyarsilal, Subramanyan's longtime mural assistant. One of the goddesses rides a tiger, like Durga, while the other two hold a snake and a lotus, attributes of local goddesses. The second, black-and-white-painted mural covered an entire building and was meant to fade quickly, as do rural wall paintings. It included two images of the goddess on a tiger. In addition, a series of studies of mahishasuramardini and other Durga images were shown in Of Myths and Fairytales, a solo exhibition at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture in Calcutta in 1989. They were also included in his retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art in 2003. 6. He supports SAHMAT, the most important secularist association tapping the work of artists in India. See

Rustom Bharucha, In the Name of the Secular: Contemporary Cultural Activism in India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998). 7. Ashish Rajadhyaksha, “Living the Tradition,” Journal of Arts and Ideas 16 (1988): 73–86; Nilima Sheikh, “A Post-Independence Initiative in Art,” in Contemporary Art in Baroda, ed. Gulammohammed Sheikh (New Delhi: Tulika Press, 1997), 96–108. 8. K. G. Subramanyan, The Living Tradition (Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1987); R. Siva Kumar, K. G. Subramanyan: In Retrospect (New Delhi: National Gallery of Modern Art, 2003). 9. E.g., Vidya Dehejia, Devi: The Great Goddess; Female Divinity in India (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1999); Gayatri Page 305 → Sinha, ed., Woman/Goddess: An Exhibition of Photographs (New Delhi: Multiple Action Research Group, 1999). 10. Subramanyan, The Living Tradition. 11. Geeta Kapur, “Mythic Material in Indian Cinema,” Journal of Arts and Ideas 14–15 (1987): 79–108; Ashish Rajadhyakhsha, “The Phalke Era: Conflict of Traditional Form and Modern Technology,” Journal of Arts and Ideas 14–15 (1987): 47–78. 12. See Alfred Gell, Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Christopher Pinney and Nicholas Thomas, eds., Beyond Aesthetics: Art and the Technologies of Enchantment (Oxford: Berg, 2001). 13. Christophe Jaffrelot, ed., Hindu Nationalism: A Reader (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007). 14. Thomas Blom Hansen, The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), and Jaffrelot, Hindu Nationalism (2007). 15. E.g., A. Kapur, “From Deity to Crusader,” and K. Jain, Gods in the Bazaar. 16. Rajagopal, Politics After Television. 17. For contemporary criticism published by academic scholars in the popular press, see Gyanendra Pandey, “The Masjid and the Mandir: On the Horns of a Dilemma,” India Magazine, September 1988, 64–71; Romila Thapar, “The Ramayana Syndrome,” India Magazine, June 1990, 31–43; and newspaper columns reprinted in Partha Chatterjee, A Possible India: Essays in Political Criticism (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997). 18. T. N. Madan, “Secularism in Its Place,” in Secularism and Its Critics, ed. Rajeev Bhargava (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), 297–320. 19. Ashish Nandy, “The Politics of Secularism and the Recovery of Religious Tolerance,” in Secularism and Its Critics, ed. Rajeev Bhargava (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), 321–44, and Partha Chatterjee, “Secularism and Tolerance,” in Secularism and Its Critics, ed. Rajeev Bhargava (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), 345–79. 20. Rajeev Bhargava, “What Is Secularism For?,” in Secularism and Its Critics, ed. Rajeev Bhargava (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), 486–542. 21. Rajeev Bhargava, ed., Secularism and Its Critics (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998). 22. Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2003); Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety: Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005). 23. Vidya Dehejia, Devi. 24. Jyotindra Jain, “The Goddess and the Buffalo,” in Woman/Goddess: An Exhibition of Photographs, ed. Gayatri Sinha (New Delhi: Multiple Action Research Group, 1999), 43–55. 25. Doris Meth Srinivasan, Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes: Origin, Meaning, and Form of Multiplicity in Indian Art (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 1997). 26. Jyotindra Jain, Kalighat Painting: Images from a Changing World (Ahmedabad: Mapin Publishing, 1999); Pika Ghosh, “Unrolling a Narrative Scroll: Artistic Practice and Identity in Late-Nineteenth-Century Bengal,” Journal of Asian Studies 62 (2003): 835–71; Tapati Guha-Thakurta, “From Spectacle to ‘Art,'” Art India 9, no. 3 (2004): 34–56. Page 306 → 27. Anjan Ghosh, “Spaces of Recognition: Puja and Power in Contemporary Calcutta,” Journal of Southern African Studies 26 (2000): 289–99; Tapati Guha-Thakurta, “From Spectacle to ‘Art,'” (2004): 34–56. 28. Gayatri Spivak, “Moving Devi,” Cultural Critique 47 (2001): 137. 29. Ibid., 123. 30. R. Siva Kumar, K. G. Subramanyan: In Retrospect, 102.

31. R. Siva Kumar, K. G. Subramanyan: In Retrospect, 99. 32. Geeta Kapur, When Was Modernism: Essays on Contemporary Cultural Practice in India (New Delhi: Tulika Press, 2000), 114. 33. In a 1989 catalog, R. Siva Kumar relates the mahishasuramardini to a shepherdess. He sees the goddess as a “mistress of animals who entices them into ritual combat and tames them with talismanic weapons.” Siva Kumar, “The Recent Works,” in Of Myth and Fairytales: K. G. Subramanyan: Recent Works (Calcutta: Seagull Foundation for the Arts, 1989), not paginated. 34. Gayatri Sinha, “Age No Bar to His Perspective,” Hindu, March 2, 2003, electronic document, accessed November 4, 2011, http:\\ 35. Ashish Nandy, Time Warps: The Insistent Politics of Silent and Evasive Pasts (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2001), 148. 36. Geeta Kapur, “Mythic Material in Indian Cinema,” and Ashish Rajadhyaksha, “The Phalke Era.” 37. Diana Eck, Daran: Seeing the Divine in India (New York: Columbia University Press, 3rd ed., 1989). 38. Lawrence Babb, “Glancing: Visual Interaction in Hinduism,” Journal of Anthropological Research 37 (1981): 387–401; Alfred Gell, who describes darshan as a mode of divine agency in which power is distributed with the glance in his Art and Agency (1998), 116–21. Because darshan is embodied and tactile, Christopher Pinney rejects as too “disinterested” the category of visual “representation [that] … overcerebralizes and textualizes the image.” Christopher Pinney, “Photos of the Gods”: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India (London: Reaktion Books, 2004), 8. 39. Geeta Kapur, When Was Modernism, 239. 40. Kalighat and Nathadwara are important forms of popular painting associated with temples in Kolkata and Rajasthan, respectively, and lila and tamasha are popular forms of performance. 41. Geeta Kapur, When Was Modernism, 236. 42. E.g., Christopher Pinney, Camera Indica: The Social Life of Indian Photographs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997); Madhav Prasad, The Ideology of the Hindi Film: A Historical Reconstruction (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998); Lalitha Gopalan, Cinema of Interruptions: Action Genres in Contemporary Indian Cinema (London: BFI Publishing, 2002); Gayatri Chatterjee, Mother India (Delhi: Penguin India, 2002); Kajri Jain, “New Visual Technologies in the Bazaar: Reterritorialisation of the Sacred in Popular Print Culture,” in Sarai Reader ‘03: Shaping Technologies (Delhi: Sarai, 2003), 44–57; Philip Lutgendorf, “Jai Santoshi Maa Revisited: On Seeing a Hindu ‘Mythological' Film,” in Representing Religion in World Cinema: Mythmaking, Culture Making, Filmmaking, ed. S. Brent Plate (New York: Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2003), 19–42. Page 307 → 43. For exceptions, see Christopher Pinney, “Photos of the Gods,” and Kajri Jain, Gods in the Bazaar. 44. K. G. Subramanyan, The Living Tradition, 23. 45. Nilima Sheikh, “A Post-Independence Initiative in Art,” 98. 46. K. G. Subramanyan, The Living Tradition, 50. 47. K. G. Subramanyan, The Living Tradition, 51. 48. R. Siva Kumar, K. G. Subramanyan: In Retrospect, 56. 49. R. Siva Kumar, K. G. Subramanyan: In Retrospect, 31. 50. K. G. Subramanyan, K. G. Subramanyan Retrospective (Calcutta: Birla Academy of Art and Culture, 1983), not paginated. 51. See, for instance, his Bird (1954) and Seated Woman (1958), R. Siva Kumar, K. G. Subramanyan: In Retrospect, 124, frontispiece. 52. See, for instance, his Still Life with Mangoes (1961) and Still Life with Ceramic Jars (1963), R. Siva Kumar, K. G. Subramanyan: In Retrospect, 127–28. 53. Geeta Kapur first identified this move, interpreting it as a critique of Western painting techniques. In India, oil is historically tied to colonial painters and painting, and it was rejected by the nationalist Bengal School of painters. Kapur also suggests that Subramanyan distrusted the sensuous pleasure of oil paint and wished to disrupt that pleasure with the introduction of tactile elements. Kapur, When Was Modernism, 118–20. 54. See, for instance, his Windows I (1968), R. Siva Kumar, K. G. Subramanyan: In Retrospect, 136. This was initially a problem of practical constraint: When in New York on a Rockefeller Fellowship, Subramanyan had only a very small studio, in which he could only make small canvases. He later combined

them into larger works (personal communication, January 2002). 55. Jaya Appasamy notes that the luminescence of the glass is imitated in the glossy finish of contemporary popular prints, in her Indian Paintings on Glass (New Delhi: Indian Council on Cultural Relations, 1980). 56. Interview with K. G. Subramanyan, January 2002. 57. R. Siva Kumar, K. G. Subramanyan: In Retrospect, 56. 58. Interview with K. G. Subramanyan, January 2002. 59. This characterization of Hinduism as fundamentally tolerant, which characterizes much middle-class popular writing of this period, is represented by Ashish Nandy, “The Politics of Secularism and the Recovery of Religious Tolerance” (1998). But Nandy argues, unlike figures like Subramanyan, that this more tolerant version of Hinduism is destroyed by the secularism of the modern state. In the view of secular activists and practitioners like Subramanyan, state secularism is necessary to preserve a tolerant Hinduism in the face of Hindu nationalism; Spivak, “Moving Devi.” 60. Rustom Bharucha, In the Name of the Secular. 61. Partha Chatterjee, A Possible India, 230–31. 62. Philip Reeves, “M. F. Husain in the Center of Indian Art Controversy,” (May 29, 2007), electronic document, accessed November 3, 2011, storyId=10438377. 63. Indira Ramesh, “Tyeb Mehta: Expressing the Human Dilemma,” India Magazine (June 1990): 72–79. 64. R. Siva Kumar, K. G. Subramanyan: In Retrospect, 182.

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12 Spatial Representation of Sectarian National Identity in Residential Beirut SUNE HAUGBOLLE To dig into urban space in Beirut is to enter a minefield of symbols. The city's many inhabitant groups all have richly varied ways of expressing their cultural, religious, and political beliefs. Moving from quarter to quarter through Beirut, one cannot fail to notice the posters, flags, and writings that dot the streets and buildings. Throughout the Lebanese civil war (1975–90) the social fragmentation of Beirut was mirrored in symbolic form by various spatial practices. Popular clandestine expressions of allegiance and identity, such as graffiti, as well as orchestrated propaganda, such as political posters and monuments, were deployed in the contest over urban space. Today, many of the divisions that were enforced by military barricades during the war are still in place on the symbolic level. Leaving aside the “controlled” space of the reconstructed Downtown in Beirut where a uniform, nostalgic nationalism has been constructed by the state, this article turns attention to some of the unprojected transformations that have taken place in residential Beirut and their historical prerequisites.1 In particular it examines the visual means employed by political parties to demarcate their “turfs” in the city. While their public signs relay subnational identity, they often do so by inscribing it into a context of Lebanese nationalism. As an effect, religious/sectarian and secular/nationalist imagery come together in attempts to define the nation from a sectarian perspective. By giving expression to these contentions, public space in Beirut functions as a visual forum in which the negotiation of Lebanese national identity between religious and secular imaginaries appears as embodied practices Page 309 → rather than abstract ideology. As such, public signs constitute a lived negotiation of political and identity-related ambiguities that are otherwise taboo in public discourse. Therefore, I argue, this visual public sphere presents us with a more truthful reflection of nationalist sentiments embedded in the genealogies of political movements as they have been transformed through a checkered history of independence, civil conflict, and postwar reconstruction. The survey of public space in this article describes Beirut in the years immediately preceding the murder of Rafiq al-Hariri and the withdrawal of the Syrian army in the spring of 2005. Therefore, its conclusions only hold true for what is known as the postwar period, a period that arguably ended on February 14, 2005. Since that fateful day, public space has changed drastically in Lebanon in ways that reflect the dramatic transformation the political landscape has witnessed.2 One of the strangest things to occur immediately after the death of Hariri was the sudden transgression and conflation of the party symbols of the demonstrators who came out to mourn and protest. Amid the sea of Lebanese flags filling downtown Beirut day after day in the early spring of 2005, pictures and slogans of former enemies mixed easily and filled observers with baffled optimism that a cross-sectarian, if not secular, consensus could emerge. Sadly, the nationalist momentum of 2005 unraveled and has since given way to a sustained political crisis that still mars Lebanon at the time of writing in July 2007. In order to understand the complex predicament of this country and its seemingly recurrent history of sectarian conflict, it is necessary to historicize the development of secular and sectarian ideas and practices before, during, and after the civil war. This article hopes to contribute to this effort by focusing on the transformation of urban space in residential Beirut.

Secularism and Sectarian Nationalism The central problem facing Lebanon since the moment of independence has been how to reconcile divergent population groups with a common national identity and find a political system suitable to create consensus between them. The consociationalist model, constituted in the National Pact of 1943 and reconfirmed in the Ta'if Accord in 1989, favors equitable distribution of political power along sectarian lines. As such, it is structurally adverse to the separation of religion and politics. As Maha Yahya puts it in her article in this volume, the dominant principle of secularism as the French mandate powers enshrined it in the constitution was not to create Page 310 → distance between religion and state but to ensure equal respect for all religions.3 Nationalism, the proponents of this system originally believed, would emerge through participation in common institutions.

Contrary to this thinking, Lebanon before the war in 1975 became the locus of various competing nationalisms—principally Arabism with socialist and Islamist nuances versus Lebanonism with a Christian tint—struggling to achieve a hegemonic position. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the political realm expanded to include formerly underrepresented parts of the population. The expansion of the public sphere happened at a time when the country was becoming embroiled in the volatile politics of the Middle East conflict and resulted in two different kinds of movements. The first were secular, highly ideological movements sympathizing with the Palestinian cause and revolutionary change in the Arab world. They viewed the consociationalist system as an instrument for the leading classes to suppress the lower classes and prevent true, all-embracing nationalism from developing. The other kind of movements mobilized newly urbanized masses with forms of “romantic ethnic nationalism” that were modern in their organizational expression and fulfilled what Eric Hobsbawm calls “the demand for emotionally satisfying ritual and symbolism”4 but certainly ran counter to secular Lebanese nationalism.5 When the competing visions of Lebanese nationalism were given a military expression in the civil war, it seemed to contradict the founding ideas of consociationalist Lebanon and threaten its existence. However, in spite of all, the country survived as a national entity. As the war wore on, the different visions eroded their credibility to a great extent, and the war ended with the realization that none of them had any chance of achieving superiority. After the war, a new public consensus stressing coexistence, tolerance, and, more implicitly, Syrian tutelage effectively effaced the strident ideologies from public discourse. National consensus in postwar Lebanon has been built on this idea of a “burn-out stalemate,” supported by Syrian protection and political sectarianism.6 As several observers have pointed out, this political fait accompli maintained peace and order but failed to build on a paradoxical but apparent upsurge in Lebanese nationalism at the end of the civil war, and instead exacerbated sectarianism and particularistic, exclusive brands of Lebanese nationalism.7 On the other hand, moments of common confrontation with Israel and lately Syria have given expression to cross-sectarian nationalist sentiments. As a result of these transformations, exclusive and inclusive forms of Lebanese identity have continued to coexist and overlap, changing according to the different events, situations, and strategies that trigger them. Page 311 →

A History of Spatial Differentiation in Beirut The basic structure of Beirut's cultural geography mirrors the political reality sketched above. We could describe it as a “multicentric configuration,” where different neighborhoods display particular and often conflicting identities.8 Beirut's multicentric nature owes much to the civil war, which divided the city and destroyed its center. Indeed, no symbol of the war is more powerful than the so-called Green Line, which split the city into a Christian East and a Muslim West. In the war, the Line was enforced by the militias but also by popular demarcations. However, it is disputed whether the war only concretized a divide already present in the cultural texture of the city, or whether that divide was created by the war. The divisions can be traced back to the first expansion of Beirut beyond the city walls in the 1830s. Christians settled mostly on the eastern flanks of the center while Muslims drifted toward the south and west, but nowhere did they create homogeneous quarters separated by hermetic lines.9 The settlement extra muros seems to have been effected according to an economic rather than a sectarian logic. Still, occasional acts of communal violence and territorialization between Muslim and Christian parts of the city also occurred in Beirut's early period of rapid expansion.10 As the city grew bigger and in 1920 became the capital of the new Lebanese republic, the state gradually lost control over urban growth. The political shift from local elite rule in the Ottoman system to a nation-state shared by all communities meant that religious communities in the city, but not of the city, were given access to the wealth and management of Beirut. Concurrently, two important population movements took place. Maronite Christians moved in large numbers to East Beirut, which had hitherto been predominantly Greek Orthodox, and Shiites started moving to the southern suburbs of Beirut from the 1920s. The Maronite drive toward Beirut began around the time of the sectarian wars in Lebanon and Syria in 1860–61, and another significant wave of urban

migrants arrived in the 1920s. At that same time, Armenian refugees escaping the genocide in Turkey settled in the neighborhood of Burj Hammud, and other strictly sectarian enclaves started to take form in East Beirut, such as the Maronite Karm az-Zaitun and Karantina. Similarly in West Beirut, Shiites from the south and the Biqa´ Valley populated the suburb of Shiyyah, whereas Basta Fawqa and Mazra´ grew into more or less purely Sunni neighborhoods.11 The influx of Shiites to Beirut was radically exacerbated in the 1950s and 1960s, and in the process urban space in the suburbs began to be politicized and marked off with symbols of allegiance. Lebanese media first Page 312 → identified the confessional identity of East and West Beirut in the “small civil war” in 1958, and it was also around this time that the first use of ideological posters is recorded. The institutionalization of sectarianism among the lower classes was effected by popular mass movements and political parties, principally Amal12 and Kata'ib,13 which originated in the suburbs. Beirut in the 1950s and 1960s displayed a growing discrepancy between public and private space, not just as a result of urban growth but also because of the privatization of social life and the economy in general. The Lebanese state from the onset subscribed to a laissez-faire philosophy14 characterized by disinterest in creating new public spaces or regulating urban growth. This had a visible impact on Beirut, which lost much of its former orderliness. Now parts of the bourgeoisie began to leave the inner city for new luxurious suburbs, feeling that Beirut was getting too dirty, noisy, and congested. Abandoned spaces in the old neighborhoods were left for newcomers, who would settle along sectarian lines, as they had done from the beginning in the suburbs. At the same time, disagreement over regional and internal matters took on a distinctly sectarian character among the population, and especially after the 1967 war and the radicalization of the Palestinian groups, the first signs of and actual spatial segregation between East and West began to show.15

“It came from the mountains” More than providing a history of urban growth, the narrative sketched above also implies a certain theory of the historical reasons for the civil war in Lebanon. To observers like Michael Davie the “neo-urban” population of the suburbs laid the ground for the civil conflict, since it was here that the ideological currents were strongest and the social grievances and the impetus for change most pertinent.16 The privacy of sectarian enclaves, in both a spatial and a mental sense, took over the city with no efficient counterweight from any public sphere or public space to challenge the logic of confrontation.17 We could call this theory “It came from the mountains.” It describes a move from cosmopolitan virtues like openness and tolerance in Ottoman Beirut to a city increasingly encroached by the “traditional” ideas of the Lebanese mountains. In the words of Fouad Ajami, cosmopolitan Beirut lost out to the politicized sectarianism in Beirut's suburbs, “It was claimed from its hinterland … by peasants and sons of peasants who arrived at its gates from the silent and remote villages in the south and the Bekaa Valley, from other rural parts of this small country, and who brought to the Page 313 → city the attitudes of men uprooted from the land and hurled into a city whose ways were alien to them.”18 One could criticize this historical explanation on a number of points. First, Ottoman and cosmopolitan do not necessarily rhyme in the case of Beirut. Throughout, strong ties persisted between the city and the mountain. To describe the rural immigrants as merely traditional, sectarian, and alien to the ways of Beirut is to leave out a wide variety of social nuances. By doing so one also replicates a stereotypical stigmatization of the suburbs, ad-Dahiya, and more generally, of the Shiites of Lebanon.19 Second, the impetus for ideological mobilization in the prewar years actually did not come from the mountains as such but rather developed due to international circumstances in combination with rapid social change inside Lebanon, and applied to large parts of “original Beirut” (especially Basta) as much as to the suburbs.20 The leftist parties that aligned themselves with the armed Palestinian groups came out of a modernizing context and were not the product of a traditional backlash. Perhaps a more reasonable explanation for why the “Ideologies of the Mountain and the City”21 eventually clashed should be looked for in the political structure of Lebanon. The suburbs were poorly represented in the political system because of the electoral law that to this day stipulates that people must vote as residents in their village or town of origin. This meant that the newly urbanized classes lacked political representation that could have integrated them into the city of which they were now effectively a part. It was in this gap between the state and the new social reality that the political mass movements took shape. Phrased in terms of public and private space, the public space of the state and the cosmopolitan city-dwellers (assuming that they really were

cosmopolitan) with their secular aspirations failed to transcend and influence the private space of sectarian settlements in the city, and of sectarian mass movements in the political space. Consequently, the Green Line was not an expression of a historic duality of the city but rather an expression of the existential crisis of the Lebanese nation-state and its incapacity to deal with the rapid influx of new populations. We can also conclude that before the war there were in fact two lines going through Beirut. Visualized on a map, the first cut a vertical line, dividing the inner city of the ostensibly original Beirutis, where the Sunni and Greek Orthodox constituted the most important communities, from the suburbs of the newly urbanized or urbanizing Shiite and Maronite communities; the second, horizontal, line was an increasingly politicized rift between Christian East and Muslim West. Both lines existed, but whereas the war all but blotted out the vertical line, the horizontal line manifested itself fully after 1975 (fig. 12.1).

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The Use of Public Signs in the War Soon after the fighting broke out in April 1975, militias took control of “the street” in both East and West Beirut, and an exceedingly bloody logic of clean space was enforced. Massacres of what we today call ethnic cleansing were carried out by both sides, and residential spaces were transformed into combat zones, where mobilization took on very visible forms. Daily intimidation and retaliation increasingly polarized the population socially and spatially, and whole communities were displaced as formerly mixed neighborhoods morphed into more or less homogeneous sectarian entities. The “two years war” of 1975–76, which more than any other sequel of the civil war was marred by sectarian strife, created most of the homogeneous zones that are still in place. In this process, the conception of private and public space was inverted, or even perverted. The liminal spaces of basements, rooftops, balconies, and other strategic openings in private homes became part of the logistics of combat.22 Former meeting places became danger zones, whereas before the war they had served as spaces of linkage between communities. Perhaps most ironically, national symbols such as the National Museum, the Mathaf, and the former buffer zone per se, Martyr's Page 315 → Square and the whole Downtown area, became permanent war zones and among the most ravaged parts of the city, practically blotting out coexistence as a spatial possibility. On the street, mobilization would manifest itself in ideological signs, which were known in the suburbs before the war but now moved into the old neighborhoods close to Downtown, where the first seeds of Beirut extra muros had been planted in the mid-1800s. Gone was the civic spirit of Ottoman Beirut. Now, graffiti and political posters

would reveal the identity of the quarter with reference to the party and ideology that held sway over the space, or to the vilified enemy. Before the war, indirect indicators like shop signs, fashion, music, cuisine, and so forth had sufficed. Now the cultural difference was politicized and flaunted in the form of explicitly sectarian propaganda. In due course new sectarian militias like the Druze Popular Socialist Party (PSP),23 the Shiite Amal, the Maronite Lebanese Forces (LF),24 and the Sunni Murabitun25 “conquered” all zones of the city including formerly mixed and tolerant ones, like Bashura and Musaitba, and in the process of conquest, so to speak, painted them in their color. The National Movement of Kamal Jumblatt and his allies envisioned a secular alternative, but after Jumblatt's death in 1977, this vision faded as elements in the National Movement took on a Muslim sectarian character, and the PSP increasingly became a militia serving Druze interests. Especially after West Beirut fell to Amal and PSP in February 1984, the group of secular parties in West Beirut lost out against the logic, and military power, of the sectarian parties. The image of conquest or invasion is also fitting in the sense that the patterns of recruitment later in the war changed toward professionalizing the military organization of the big militias, which meant that recruitment now became less based on local participation and more on imposed top-down structures and fighters hailing from outside the neighborhoods they fought in. To view the posters and graffiti as expressions of a localized street opinion would therefore in most cases be a misinterpretation. Certainly later in the war, these signs were propaganda backed by raw military power. Before 1982, as graffiti collected in a survey from the period 1975–83 illustrate, public signs often played the role of support rather than critique of the ruling ideology in the space where they were inscribed. This corresponds with the assertion of Fadia Kovacs, who studied the rumors of the war in Ashraffiya, that until the death of Bashir Gemayel in 1982, “l'ordre milicien reste dans l'ensemble bien accepté par cette communauté [i.e., the Maronites].”26 Both in East and West Beirut, the messages of the graffiti coincided largely with those of the official party posters. However, they Page 316 → differed from them in their format. Political posters would express the basic ideas of political parties in symbolic form, often centered on the idea of nationalism that they defended. For example, posters of the Palestinian movements invariably showed the kufiya or the Kalashnikov, whereas the imagery of the Christian Right involved cedar trees and crosses to symbolize their cause.27 The texts accompanying the posters, simple slogans meant to underline the symbolic message, were hardly given to ambiguity (e.g., “Towards Victory,”28 “The South,” “10452”).29 But the ephemeral nature of public space necessitated immediate communication such as that achieved by the slogan and the symbol. The literary techniques of graffiti leave more room for sophistication and variety of forms, ranging from affirmative/negative (“yes/no to Arafat”), imperative (“kill all Kata'ib hippies”), conditional (“if my dick was Kata'ib, I would cut it off”), interrogative (“Son of Mukhtara [Walid Jumblatt], do you know who your father is?”), equational (“Lebanon is Christian”), and so on. More ambiguous statements, like “It is difficult for man to be refugee in his own country” and “My Muslim brother, you will always be my brother as long as you love Lebanon” as well as the popular “no to sectarianism” also found their way to the walls, especially later in the conflict, when popular resistance to the militias became widespread.30 As can be seen from the quoted graffiti, the uneven language would often reveal something of the individual behind it, which suggests a reading of graffiti as people's spontaneous reaction to the war. At a closer look, however, many of the writers in Habib's sample seem to have been combatants and only few of them casual passersby, not to speak of women. Despite some observations that suggest widespread popular support for the militias in the early phase of the war, we should therefore be cautious in concluding from graffiti and posters that ordinary Lebanese necessarily backed the ideology of separate spaces. In fact plenty of literature attests to popular resistance to the war outside of what was expressed in graffiti.31 In his study of the way in which territories were marked off during the war, Davie links the phenomenon of demarcation closely to economic and military control over urban space. He describes how political propaganda would cluster close to cores of military control like barracks and party offices, “ideological centres.”32 Walls in liminal “fluid” spaces, where no military control was exercised, would often be left blank or even have occasional clandestine messages out of sync with the official ideology of that neighborhood, suggesting that the spatial segregation and the ideologies supporting it were imposed ideas, which the population had little chance to resist. To Davie, the act of demarcation indeed came

“from the mountains” Page 317 → and mainly functioned as a means for the militias to delimit zones of economic exploitation and military rule. If anything, the public signs therefore tell us what the parties and militias thought or what they might have hoped or felt was the “street opinion.” Their discourse was circular and self-reinforcing, closed, self-sufficient, and insensitive to the opinion of “the Other.” In this regard it is telling that the parties never attempted to export their propaganda: content with upholding consensus on their home ground, they applied their posters and graffiti within the marked-off space according to a logic of cultural and ideological concordance. This was the underlying logic that marred public space for most of fifteen years.

Ashraffiya: Christian Beirut We will now turn our attention to postwar Beirut as it appeared in 2003 and the use of public signs in Basta and Ashraffiya, two areas on different sides of the former Green Line.33 Both denominations are sometimes used locally in the broad sense of “residential East Beirut” and “residential West Beirut,” but actually each contains a number of smaller neighborhoods. The part of Ashraffiya studied here encompasses the administrative districts of Yassuiya, Furn al-Hayak, Mar Mitr, Ghabiya, Siyufi, Jaytawi, Ashraffiya, Hôtel-Dieu, and Nasra. Since the beginning of the 1840s, this area has been home to a variety of Christian denominations as well as a small minority of Sunni Muslims. In spite of its varied population, no one has ever attempted to create Maronite, GreekOrthodox, or other denominational ghettos in Ashraffiya. Not even the intra-Christian fights after 1985, which pitted supporters of different leaders against each other, managed to alter its status as Christian in the all-inclusive sense. The composition in 1991 was an estimated 53 percent Maronite, 21 percent Greek Orthodox, 16 percent Greek Catholic, 8 percent other Christians, and 2 percent Muslims. Of the Maronites, only 27 percent were registered in the electoral district (muhafada) of Beirut, whereas the majority of Greek Orthodox were registered in Beirut and therefore count as “original” Beiruti families. In addition to these figures, 23 percent of the complete population in 1991 consisted of displaced Christian refugees from other parts of Lebanon, such as the village Damur, which was completely destroyed in 1976.34 Ashraffiya was to begin with settled mostly by a Christian bourgeoisie of a Greek Orthodox majority, but starting from the 1950s the area became increasingly dominated by the Maronites and their political institutions. Page 318 → The war made this historical process visible on several levels. First, many haute bourgeois families living close to the Green Line moved out of Beirut or out of Lebanon altogether when the area became too dangerous to live in, and the western part of Ashraffiya lost out in influence to the more removed, secluded area around Place Sassine, which became the new center for economic and social life in East Beirut. This square was later in the war renamed “Place des Martyrs Kataeb,” underlining the growing influence exercised by Maronite institutions. On a political level, the leaders of the old Beiruti families were challenged by upstarts from the countryside, like Elie Hobeiqa and Samir Ja´ja´, who made their way into politics on the back of a career in the militias. These militias mainly found support in a Maronite “petite bourgeoisie néo-urbaine combattante” and were almost all inspired by a Maronite ideology.35 This does not mean that they sought to compete with or exclude other Christian denominations, only that the ideology and politics of the Christian militias were essentially a Maronite project. As an effect of the war, much of the educational, residential, and institutional space in the area was taken over for military use. Because of its strategic importance, hardly any part of Ashraffiya escaped the dominance of barracks, military headquarters, and militia rule. Christian militias and parties constantly redressed the streets of Ashraffiya in their propaganda so that no one had any doubt about the combative nature of the place. Ashraffiya in 2003 was not a combative space, but judging from the abundance of symbols referring to Christian parties and dead leaders from the war one could be inclined to think so. Even though the barracks were gone, the presence of active political offices still ensured a considerable proliferation of propaganda. It was difficult to find a single street without posters, graffiti, spray-painted logos, or other public signs. Posters from Kata'ib, LF, and the National Liberal Party (al-Ahrar)36 were widely distributed throughout the area, but, as during the war, could only be found in concentrated form in the vicinity of the respective political offices. The same feature of extremely localized signs can be observed with respect to graffiti. For example, pro-Aoun graffiti was only found on the walls around Université Saint Joseph, a center for political groups in favor of the ousted Michel Aoun, who was to return to Lebanon from exile in Paris in 2005. However, most signs were spread

widely over all of Ashraffiya and not confined to small localities. The signs included prints, posters, and graffiti with the name, sign, or slogan of LF and Kata'ib, simple red crosses with reference to a party or a leader, and posters with dead and exiled leaders, principally Michel Aoun, Samir Ja´ja´, Elie Hobeiqa, Dany Chamoun, Ramzi Irani, and Bashir Gemayel. Many graffiti offered combative and/or nostalgic comments on the status of Ashraffiya as locus primus for the “Christian cause”: “The martyrs belong to us. Al-Numur al-Ahrar,” “One East / Will stay one / Closed / Christian area,” “The army + LF, that's all [wa bass],” “Kill to live and live to kill. LF,” and “Bashir is living within us.” Poetic graffiti also existed (e.g., “Mourir, partir, revenir, c'est le jeu des hirondelles”), as did anti-American (“to Hell with America”) and anti-Israeli statements (“Israel is the head of terrorism”) and a few antisectarian graffiti (“no to sectarianism”). One had to search long for an expression of belief in ChristianMuslim coexistence, and when one found it (“Chrétiens et Musulmans unis pour le Liban”), even that had been altered to conform to the recurrent sectarian discourse (“Chrétiens et Musulmans unis pour le Liban”) (fig. 12.2).

Page 319 → Despite pervasive reconstruction in Ashraffiya, some signs from the war had been left untouched, or even restored. This mainly regards monuments, which could be found scattered around the area. The most common type of memorial was roadside shrines dedicated to Maronite saints and Page 320 → dead fighters from the war. One shrine on Rue Abdul Wahab al-Inglizi read: “To St. Elias. For the souls of the martyrs of the neighborhood Musaitba [in West Beirut]. September 1985” and bore the logos of the Lebanese Forces and Kata'ib. Such shrines are locally erected memorials, serving much the same purpose as tombstones. But just like tombstones, memorials need maintenance. Not more than 500 meters from the Musaitba shrine, a large Kata'ib memorial site for local fighters dating back to 1986 was taken down in June 2003 to clear the space for construction of luxury apartments. According to the local mukhtar, many “martyred” fighters' families moved during the Aoun-Ja´ja´ war in 1989–90, and with time the place therefore lost its raison d'être.37 An equally decaying memorial could be found on a windy street going down from the Ashraffiya hill through the neighborhood of Jaytawi, where a large memorial site from 1982 portrays Bashir kneeling in combat uniform, saluting an elevated Kata'ib cedar tree with his right hand. Perhaps due to its peripheral position, the site had not been well maintained and appeared to be heading for extinction. A more central Bashir memorial can be found in the heart of East Beirut, on Place Sassine where a large monument with Bashir's profile and pointed finger above a pyramid erected to honor fallen LF fighters

consecrates the memory of the Christian struggle. Everyone who comes and goes in Ashraffiya will pass by Sheikh Bashir's sharply drawn features in the characteristic modernist style of Kata'ib's imagery. This monument is the focal point in a web of public signs in Ashraffiya. Together, they produce what we could still in 2007 call a uniformly Christian space. Yet, the memory and political legacy of conflict within the Christian community, which were part of the war that ended in 1990, also make into the public space. In Jummayza, north of Ashraffiya, a fight over public representation could be observed around a by-election in September 2003, which pitted followers of the exiled general Aoun against Kata'ib. Posters of the Aounist candidate Hikmat Dib, the (then still) imprisoned LF leader Ja´ja´, Bashir Gemayel, and Aoun himself contested for the space (fig. 12.3). Every day of election week, the street would change appearance: posters were taken down, while others were torn apart or replaced with new ones. This shows that competition over public space and popular resistance to propaganda is indeed possible. If the signs disturbed the inhabitants of East Beirut sufficiently, they could arguably paint them over or take them down, like they would certainly be taken down immediately if they were to be put up in West Beirut.

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The Cult of Bashir Gemayel In 2003 and throughout the postwar period, the cult of Bashir Gemayel was the most visible commemorative phenomenon in Ashraffiya (fig. 12.4). The leader of LF, who was assassinated shortly after being elected president of Lebanon in September 1982, is revered with a wealth of different signs, ranging from spray-painted profiles and posters in the public space of the streets, to the intimate, institutional space of the entry hall of Beirut's old Jesuit university, Université Saint Joseph, where one is greeted by a large picture of Bashir Gemayel. “Bashir hay fina [Bashir is living within us]” goes the most recurrent slogan on the walls of Ashraffiya: Although he is dead, what he stood for is internalized by his followers. A Kata'ib poster verifies the immortality of “the Cause” of Bashir and the Christians of Lebanon by stating that “Bashir al-hulm wa-l-haqiqa [Bashir is the dream and the truth].” In Ashraffiya, the yearly commemoration on September 14 of the death of Bashir in the postwar period developed into Page 322 → a minor holiday in line with religious feasts. The ritualization of this day includes a mass gathering in Place Sassine around the Bashir Gemayel monument. For most of a week, the square is draped in a huge Bashir banner, and all of Ashraffiya is covered with Bashir propaganda, which is not taken down again but lingers on until next year's commemoration. In a synchronized way, the neighborhood,

represented by the political organizations and their followers, confirms its commitment to his cause. Much like a rite of spring, the neighborhood is “redressed” and blooms with propaganda every September. As a result, time never catches up with the memory of the war, for it is constantly reaffirmed and reinscribed in public space. In September 2003 the event was arranged by LF, Kata'ib, and the Bashir Gemayel foundation. Four days later, an article in the left-leaning daily as-Safir described the ceremony and quoted from a pamphlet distributed on the occasion by followers of the BJ foundation.38 Among the things observed that day in Ashraffiya was “a priest blessing three soldiers as if they were going to war” and young members of BJ foundation “giving them [the inhabitants] poisonous texts which glorify the machineries of the Lebanese war; talking with militancy and joy of being professional in the art of killing. The BJ Foundation is not ashamed of this militancy in their pamphlet.” By breaking into the cultural intimacy of a private subnational public sphere and flaunting it in the national press, asSafir effectively exposed Ashraffiya in front of a national public. The accusation was aimed both at the content of the material and the attitude of its distributors and, implicitly, its audience: “They are simply gloating over their former glory. They come straight out of one of the caves of Osama bin Laden to remind us of a past which ought to be left distant and forgotten, unless we use the proper language to discuss it.” Although the militancy of BJ nostalgics on their own stomping ground on this specific occasion is “well known to most Lebanese,” as-Safir continued, “the BJ foundation gets angry when they are accused of speaking the language of 75.” This discrepancy can be explained by the fact that the foundation has two ways of communicating: one toward itself and another toward the rest of Lebanon. They have no shame “producing a pamphlet which does not explain what Bashir did [i.e., directing massacres]. It claims that the war was forced on them, but then they keep silent about it, because talking about the war was, and still is, shameful for everyone.” The cult of dead leaders and the focus on a specific point in time (September 1982) can be read as an attempt to immortalize a moment in the history of the Maronites and the history of the quarter when it looked like they were going to dominate Lebanon. September 14, 1982, is the crucial point of no return after which “the dream and the truth” quickly backfired. Since then, the Maronites as a group have experienced a steady political decline, internal divisions, and a growing dispersion of the community. The pervasive nostalgia in public signs rectifies their common experience of living in a combative space and a combative time. Talking about the war may be “shameful for everyone” in a national context, but inside the smug intimacy of the sectarian space, people allow themselves to entertain any measure of nostalgic and self-vindicating notions of the past.

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These notions are intricately tied up with specific visions of Lebanese nationalism. Differences between parties and leaders apart, almost all signs—in terms of the style and content of the symbols and text—in the public space of Ashraffiya as it appeared in 2003 inscribed themselves in a unitary, self-righteous, often belligerent discourse of the past. Kata'ib's slogan—“God, Fatherland, Family”—rendered as a graffito next to a cedar and a cross illustrates the ideological convergence between secular nationalism and religious, sectarian identity in the Christian parties. Here, religion, politics, and nationalism are indivisible. Symbols of nationalism (the Lebanese flag and the cedar tree) are conflated with Christian symbols Page 324 → (crosses and saints), often forming the graphical background for the head or torso of a leader. The slogans only reinforce this conflation of religion, or sect, with nationalism: “Lebanon needs you,” “Free Lebanon,” “For the sake of Lebanon,” and so on. No attempt is made to include other Lebanese groups in the nationalist imagery. It exclusively defines Lebanon from the perspective of one of its components.

Basta and Bashura: The Eastern Part of West Beirut Public consecration of dead leaders is a general feature of Lebanon's sectarian politics. On the other side of the former Green Line, in the eastern part of West Beirut, in the popular neighborhood of Basta (which includes Basta Fawqa, Basta Tahta, and Bashura), the anniversaries of the death of the Sunni Mufti Khalid who was killed on May 16, 1989, and the founder of Amal, Musa as-Sadr, who disappeared in 1978, each year produced redressings of the streets much in line with the cult of Bashir Gemayel in Ashraffiya. The custom of redressing the city with martyr posters around yearly commemorations started during the war.39 Unlike in Ashraffiya, however, there was no singular cultural or political narrative or “cause” uniting the public signs in Basta and Bashura. Public space in 2003 appeared, on all levels, messier here than in Ashraffiya. Bashura and to a lesser degree Basta were confessionally mixed neighborhoods before the war, contrary to Ashraffiya. A substantial Christian population resided in Bashura before 1975 but left or were forced to leave in the 1975–76 war. At the same time Shiites from Bourj Hammoud in East Beirut moved to Bashura, along with Shiite and Sunni refugees from other parts of Lebanon. A substantial part of the Sunni bourgeoisie had already begun leaving the area before the war, as part of a general trend in the 1960s. However, the displacement of Sunnis during the war was limited and often temporary. The Sunnis who moved from Basta and Bashura did so voluntarily and for economic reasons. Shiites, on the other hand, had existed in the area since families from Northern Lebanon started arriving in the 1920s.40 In the southern end of Basta, the neighborhood was poorer and more distinctly Sunni prior to the war. In the civil war in 1958 Basta became a bastion of Lebanese Nasserists. One observer described how “something that approached the Paris commune was achieved: a revolutionary city controlled by itself.”41 Fouad Ajami also remembers the Basta of his childhood as distinctly Arab and Sunni, as opposed to the nearby “Parisian” world of Ashraffiya: “The world of Basta was a piece of the urban Page 325 → world of Islam: it could have been a fragment of Damascus or Baghdad…. Just as Ashrafieh's truth was Christian, the truth of Basta was that of Pan-Arabism and of Islam.”42 In the words of Samir Kassir, Basta was the “pleb” of original Muslim Beirut, almost 100 percent Muslim and a focus for popular Muslim life, which journalists would often pit against Jummayza, the almost 100 percent Maronite neighborhood on the other side, in their accounts of Beirut.43 This is also reflected in the, still current, derogatory use of bastawi (from Basta) to describe a person as lower class or even vulgar. The war brought a large number of Shiite refugees to Basta. After 1985 and the demise of the Sunni militia Murabitun, the Shiite parties asserted their political influence in most parts of the area. In terms of local power structures, in the words of one mukhtar from a traditional Sunni family, “the area is still living in the aftermath of the developments in 1985.”44 He and several Sunni makhatir expressed nostalgia and, even if they did not blame their newly urbanized neighbors for the fate of the neighborhood, a longing for an urbane, prosperous past when Basta was the center of a distinctly Arab cosmopolitanism.45 During the war, these areas never became the locus primus of one particular group, in spite of Shiite dominance. Various militias and political parties held sway, initially all on the nationalist, leftist side, but later with different and at times conflicting programs. For example, the Lebanese Communist Party fought here, as some graffiti still attest. The Lebanese army effaced most of the secular graffiti after its incursion in West Beirut in 1983 and later in 1990, but remnants like the hammer and sickle do persist in places, often overwritten with other signs or graffiti, as reminders that this area used to be a

stronghold for secular groups in Lebanon. In 2003, the walls of Basta and Bashura can be described as layers of propaganda. Even though Amal's political propaganda is by far the most recurrent, other groups are represented, principally Hizbollah,46 but also PSP, Murabitun, Independent Nasserite Movement,47 and the Lebanese Communist Party.48 Most of them offer simple slogans or just the name of the party or a picture of its leader. More clandestine messages include support for the Sunni football team al-Ansar, pro-Syrian graffiti, and simple Koranic quotations in colorful writing, making it clear for all that this is a Muslim area (fig. 12.5). Three features of public space in Ashraffiya recur here: anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans (“America and Israel are one state and one people and one army and one economy”); the concentration of propaganda around party offices; and the fact that political propaganda by far overshadows noninstitutional expressions. Indeed, nonsectarian graffiti professing a secular vision of Lebanon are all but missing. Like much of residential Beirut, Basta is lacking both parks and public squares. Without a central focus like Place Sassine, war memorials in the area serve a localized function, like the roadside shrines in Ashraffiya. A number of small, semipublic monuments could be observed. One example is a “genealogical tree” planted in a petrol barrel in Bashura. On its metallic leaves the names of Amal fighters, who fell here during the civil war, are written along with their village of origin. Unlike the cancelled memorial site in Ashraffiya, the commemorated fighters are not from the neighborhood, merely from the party holding sway over it. Questioned about the memorial, the local mukhtar explained that, indeed, most fighters during the war came from outside the neighborhood, and that reconciliation after the war therefore had been a smooth process.49 Other makhatir repeated that reconciliation has been largely successful.50

Page 326 → “People forget quickly—unless you had a dear one kidnapped or did something bad. Then you don't forget the grief…. Nobody in Basta and Bashura would create boundaries and kill others. The trouble came from Page 327 → the militias, who created boundaries and made people mistrust each other. The war was not sectarian, it was political … as-susa ja't min barra' [the disease (literally: woodworm) came from outside.]” In other words, “It came from the mountains” is a popular explanation of the war, even in relatively low-income areas of Beirut. Since all fighters, according to this information, came from outside the neighborhood, there was “no reason why all Lebanese brothers shouldn't embrace each other again.”51 Like their colleagues in Ashraffiya, none of the makhatir in Basta professed that people still hold grudges. As representatives of the Lebanese state,

and faced with an inquisitive foreign researcher, they defended the official view that reconciliation has been largely successful, and that in any case, true to the ethos of multicentric nationalism, it must be dealt with by each of the individual sectarian members of the “national family,” on their own turf and in their own way. While this attitude defends the official nationalist idea of Lebanon as a family of sects, it also reinforces the particularity and spatial self-rule implied in the model, which, as the symbolic landscapes on walls and streets around the neighborhood show, easily tends toward exclusion of other sects.

Hizbollah versus Amal Amal dominated the public space with a number of different signs: billboards, sprayed logos, shahid (martyr) posters of people who died in the security zone in South Lebanon (although this genre was more represented by Hizbollah), street banners, and pictures of the founder Musa as-Sadr and the current leader Nabih Berri. In some of the material there were references to the plight of the Lebanese Shiites but also to the resistance in general. Some signs quoted the Koran, some the leaders, while others were simple slogans expressing support for the resistance against Israel. On a large billboard, which could be observed at the entrance of several central streets in West Beirut in 2003, the figures of Nabih Berri (dressed in a suit) and Musa Sadr (in clerical garb) could be seen hovering like demigods in the horizon, overlooking a group of Amal soldiers seemingly walking to meet the enemy. The text read, “Imam of the nation and the resistance,” with reference to Imam as-Sadr, and underneath the following quote from “the brother and president/leader [ra´is] Nabih Berri”: “Indeed, we abound with resistance fighters who do not fear the least/even if they meet with death or death meets with them.” This communicates to all Lebanese who pass by: Amal is leading the fight against the common enemy of the nation Page 328 → (Israel), and the strength of the party is abundant, in terms of both political capital (Nabih Berri being the Speaker of Parliament), popular support and military power (the overflowing resistance fighters), and the symbolic capital imbued by the founder of the party, Musa as-Sadr, who was widely respected by all Lebanese. Moreover, the sign embodies the conflation of secular and religious identity in sectarian iconography. Strategically placed at the “entry” into Amal-dominated areas, the billboards effectively served the function of a city sign that seemed to be saying: “Welcome to West Beirut. Amal territory.” Hizbollah generally excel in more purely Islamic references than Amal, who retain a less religious and, in a Shiite context, secular profile. The symbolic competition between the two big Shiite parties has been a feature of the Shiite areas of Lebanon since the 1980s and sometimes takes very outspoken forms. On a local level, the political affiliation of neighborhood mosques determines which party had the right to claim the street with posters. A fierce competition between Amal and Hizbollah often divides areas into smaller areas of control, and symbolic trespassing periodically ends in violence, in West Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon. On September 23, 2003, the Daily Star reported that a fight over public space in the village of Jbaa had forced the army to open fire on Hizbollah members for the first time in more than a decade, killing one and wounding two. “The incident began when members of Hizbullah and Amal clashed over hanging political posters in Jbaa's main square, a Hizbullah official said on conditions of anonymity. Amal members had hung pictures of Imam Musa Sadr…. Several Hizbullah members objected to the pictures and scuffles resulted between the two sides, which were followed by fights with sticks and knives.” In conclusion, the public signs in Basta and Bashura were no less closed and circular forms of communication than those in Ashraffiya. “The people” represented by the parties were not the Lebanese writ large, but the Muslim Lebanese and in particular the Shiites. However, unlike in Ashraffiya, the messages were never directed overtly against “Christians,” “fascists,” or whoever was perceived to have been the enemy during the war. Layers of propaganda from earlier times remained in place, often written on ruins and dilapidated buildings, but there was no “Christians and Muslims united for Lebanon” on the walls of Basta and Bashura, to match the reverse version in Ashraffiya. Yet, the symbolic and textual universe was restricted to Islamic references (the Koran, Islamic imagery and colors [green and black], and clerical leaders). Unlike the Christian parties, the Shiite parties made less use of the official national symbols, the cedar and the flag. Instead, their nationalism consisted of unwavering commitment to the Shiite parties, at the expense of excluding Christian participation.

Observing these signs on a rainy day in April 2003, through grime and mud and general misery, their symbolism was manifest. “Amal until death” screamed an inscription in green letters on a particularly bullet-ridden building in Bashura, just across the street from Ashraffiya. The building and much of the neighborhood did indeed look like death. Further down the former Green Line, on the old Damascus Road, one could spot a rare example of counterdiscourse among the public signs in Beirut (fig. 12.6). A large graffito dating back to the early 1990s still covered a whole wall in front of a church in the Muslim neighborhood of Ras al-Naba´. Written in all the three languages used in Lebanon, Arabic, French and English, it struck a hopeful note for communication of unity rather than otherness between the Lebanese: “No to religion. Yes to Muslims. Yes to Christians.” Page 330 →

Conclusion Spatial fragmentation and sectarian representation in Beirut existed before 1975 but crystallized during the civil war. In postwar Lebanon and to this day, all of residential Beirut bears witness to the sway of sectarian parties and their cultural representation in the form of public signs. These signs communicate to their own subgroup on marked-off spaces that posture vis-à-vis each other, claiming different brands of what it means to be Lebanese. In short, the sectarian political parties represent “the street,” with little credible competition from secular alternatives. What the public space really illustrates, then, is the failure of the state in a fractured society to create a political system that is able to both represent the people and function as a venue of communication between the people. It also demonstrates the limited political space for secular parties and secularism more generally. Today, Lebanese secular parties and their secular vision for Lebanon appears sidelined and reduced to leftist nostalgia for the 1960s and 1970s when Lebanon was a locus for secularism in the Arab Middle East. As a political vision with mass support it was defeated in the first phase of the Lebanese civil war. There have been attempts to resurrect it in the formation of the Democratic Left Movement, founded in February 2004.52 But despite the prominent role that this and other smaller secular groups played in organizing the demonstrations during the Independence Intifada in 2005, secular parties and their ideas today present no substantive electoral challenge to sectarian representatives nor to sectarianism as social system. The Lebanese example presses us to ask, or perhaps restate, some critical questions about secularism, nationalism, and political representation in the Middle East.53 Is pluralism still pluralism when it is lacking a secular center? Is civil society indeed civil when it is made up of particularistic groups resisting inclusive notions of citizenship? Can nationalism be sustained in a political configuration shot through with confessional loyalties? If the answers to these questions are negative, then a strong state supported by outside tutelage from stronger states can appear as an attractive alternative, as represented by President Emile Lahoud in his first presidency (1998–2004). However, even a strong state does not ensure national cohesion. As this article has shown, underneath the pro-Syrian postwar regime's pretensions of representing a strong center for the reconstituted “national family” of Lebanese sects, legacies of the war influenced alternative narratives of space, belonging, history, and identity that, alarmingly, failed to connect, communicate, and be aware of each other. Beirut's cityscape told, Page 331 → and still tells, a story of disparate Lebanese nationalisms, each inscribed in histories of political movements and their historical development in contests over urban space. Without a common will in society and credible institutions to regulate it, states can become precarious, or worse, fracture completely. Lebanon's modern history offers ample examples of such scenarios. Despite the celebrated civic and secular spirit of prewar Beirut, no one was able to successfully defend the republican ideas of coexistence, democracy, and everything that is supposed to belong to the urban order, when they came under threat after 1975. No political party organized successfully in defense of these values at the time when Amal and Kata'ib claimed their followers in the suburbs. If it is true that public space in the 1960s and 1970s gradually closed itself to debate and interaction between its multiple centers, the same could be said of postwar Beirut. Only time will tell whether the Independence Intifada in 2005 has spawned a durable potential to reverse this trend, transform Lebanese nationalism, and open up the city again.


1. The story of this construction has already been written by other people and will not concern us here. See Maha Yahya, “Building Cities and Nations: Visual Practices in the Public Sphere in India and Lebanon,” in this volume; Jens-Peter Hanssen and Daniel Genberg, “Beirut in Memoriam,” in Crisis and Memory in Islamic Societies, ed. Angelika Neuwirth and Andreas Pflitsch (Beirut: Ergon, 2001), 231–65; Saree Makdisi, “Laying Claim to Beirut: Urban Narratives and Spatial Identity in the Age of Solidere,” Critical Inquiry 23 (1997): 661–705; Caroline Nagel, “Reconstructing Space, Re-Creating Memory: Sectarian Politics and Urban Development in Post-War Beirut,” Political Geography 21, no. 5 (2002): 717–25. 2. See Sune Haugbolle, “Spatial Transformations in the Lebanese ‘Independence Intifada,'” Arab Studies Journal 12, no. 3 (2006): 60–77. 3. Maha Yahya, “Building Cities and Nations: Visual Practices in the Public Sphere in India and Lebanon,” in this volume, “Nation Building and Secularism in India and Lebanon.” 4. Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, 1875–1914 (London: Abacus, 1999), 105. 5. Farid Al-Khazen, The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon, 1967–1976 (London: I. B. Tauris; Centre for Lebanese Studies, 2000), Michael Johnson, All Honorable Men: The Social Origins of War in Lebanon (Oxford: I. B. Tauris), 132–61. 6. Marius Reinkowski, “National Identity in Lebanon since 1990,” Orient 38 (1997): 493–515, at 502. 7. Ahmad Beydoun, “Confessionalism: Outline of an Announced Reform,” in Options for Lebanon, ed. Nawaf Salam (London: I. B. Tauris, 2004), 75–96; Theodor Hanf and Nawaf Salam, eds., Lebanon in Limbo—Postwar Society and State in an Uncertain Environment (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2003). Page 332 → 8. Jorge Silvetti, “Beirut and the Facts of Myth,” in Projecting Beirut: Episodes in the Construction and Reconstruction of a Modern City, ed. Hashim Sarkis and Peter Rowe (Munich: Prestel, 1998), 235–49, at 246. 9. Michael F. Davie, “‘Beyrouth-Est’ Et ‘Beyrouth Ouest’: Territoires Confessionels Ou Espaces De Guerres?,” in Beyrouth—Regards Croisés, ed. Michael F. Davie, Collection Villes Du Mondes Arabe (Tours: Université de Tours, 1997), 22–49, at 27. 10. Ibid., Hanssen and Genberg, “Beirut in Memoriam,” Samir Kassir, Histoire De Beyrouth (Paris: Fayard, 2003), 158–92, Samir Khalaf, Lebanon's Predicament (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), 43. 11. Davie, “‘Beyrouth-Est’ Et ‘Beyrouth Ouest’: Territoires Confessionels Ou Espaces De Guerres?” (1997), 31–32, Michael F. Davie, “The Emerging Urban Landscape of Lebanon,” in Lebanon's Second Republic : Prospects for the Twenty-First Century, ed. Kail C. Ellis (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002), 159–74, at 161. 12. Shiite party founded by Musa as-Sadr and since 1980 led by Nabih Berri. 13. Predominantly Maronite party founded by Pierre Gemayel in 1936. 14. Markedly so under presidents Beshara al-Khoury (1943–52), Camille Chamoun (1952–58), and Suleiman Frangieh (1970–75), and less so under presidents Fouad Chehab (1958–62) and Charles Helou (1962–70). 15. Davie, “‘Beyrouth-Est’ Et ‘Beyrouth Ouest,'” 35; Cynthia Ghorra-Gobin, “Beyrouth Ou Les Conditions D´Émergences De L´Espace Public,” in Beyrouth—Regards Croisés, ed. Michael F. Davie, Collection Villes Du Monde Arabe (Tours: Université de Tours, 1997), 89–107: 102; Tania Habib, “Les Graffiti De La Guerre Libanaise,” Annales de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie 2 (1986), 36–53, at 48; Fuad Ishaq Khuri, From Village to Suburb: Order and Change in Greater Beirut (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), 37–62. 16. Davie, “‘Beyrouth-Est’ Et ‘Beyrouth Ouest,'” 38. 17. It is worth noticing that the celebrated cultural life of the “Golden Age” in the 1960s somehow failed to provide a reconciliatory public sphere strong enough to resist the drive toward war. A study that critically examines the cultural capital of prewar Beirut rather than celebrating it must be called for. 18. Fouad Ajami, Beirut: The City of Regrets (London: W. W. Norton, 1988), 9. 19. Mona Harb, “La Dahiye De Beyrouth: Parcours D'une Stigmatisation Urbaine, Consolidation D'un Territoire Politique,” Genèses 51 (2003): 70–91. 20. Michael Johnson, Class & Client in Beirut : The Sunni Muslim Community and the Lebanese State, 1840–1985 (London: Ithaca, 1986), 130–31. 21. The title of a brilliant essay by Albert Hourani (1976), in which he sketches the development of the

political ideology of modern Lebanon as an idea based on the ability of cosmopolitan Beirut to integrate the rest of the country into its own openness and coexistence. 22. Maha Yahya, “Reconstituting Space: The Aberration of the Urban in Beirut,” in Recovering Beirut: Urban Design and Post-War Reconstruction, ed. Samir Khalaf and Phillip S. Khory (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1993), 128–66. 23. The Progressive Socialist Party was established in 1949 and for many years led by Kamal Jumblatt and since 1977 led by his son Walid Jumblatt. During the Page 333 → war, PSP was the center of the Nationalist Movement, but in spite of a socialist ideology it always retained a vast majority of Druze members. 24. Under the leadership of Bashir Gemayel from 1976 to 1982, the LF managed to subjugate and unite the different Christian militias into one front. After 1982 the LF lost its uniting force. In 1994 the movement was banned and its leader Samir Ja´ja´ imprisoned. 25. The Sunni Murabitun was a militia with a predominantly Sunni following. Established in 1958 as the armed group of the Independent Nasserite, it lost all influence after being defeated by Amal and PSP in 1985 but was restored as a political group after the war. 26. The military order was still generally accepted by this community. Fadia Nassif Tar Kovacs, Les Rumerurs Dans La Guerre Du Liban—Les Mots De La Violence (Paris: CNRS Édition, 1998), 330. 27. A large collection of posters from the Lebanese civil war can be found at /jafet/posters/english.html. 28. In the following, all text from graffiti and posters is translated from Arabic unless written in French or otherwise specified. 29. Kata'ib and LF slogan referring to a famous speech by Bashir Gemayel, in which he mentioned all of the national territory (10,452 km2) as part of the nation. 30. Habib, “Les Graffiti De La Guerre Libanaise” (1986), 63–108. 31. See, e.g., Miriam Cooke, War's Other Voices: Women Writers in the Lebanese Civil War, Cambridge Middle East Library (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), Theodor Hanf, Coexistence in Wartime Lebanon: Decline of a State and Rise of a Nation (London: Centre for Lebanese Studies in association with I. B. Tauris, 1993), Elise Adib Salem, Constructing Lebanon: A Century of Literary Narratives (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2003). 32. Michael F. Davie, “Les Marqueurs De Territoires Idelogiques À Beyrouth (1975–1990),” in Dans La Ville, L'Affiche, ed. Michael F. Davie (Tours: EIDOS, 1993), 9. 33. The analysis is supported by a series of interviews with local mayors (makhatir), which focused on local history, demographic transformations during and after the war, and popular perceptions of residential space and public signs. The material was collected between April and September 2003 as part of the EUfunded project Mediterranean Voices, and with the support of the Center for Behavioural Research at the American University of Beirut. The results can be viewed at The interviewed makhatir and their precise location remain anonymous by their own request. 34. Amale Gholam-Khoury, “Mutations Urbaines À Beyrouth. Le Quartier D'achrafieh” (Thèse de doctorat, Université Paris 1—Sorbonne, 1991), 416–18. 35. Tristan Khayat, “Espaces Et Territoires Communnautaires À Achrafieh Et Dans La Proche Banlieue Est De Beyrouth” (Mémoire de DEA, Université Francois Rabelais, 1995), 18. 36. Predominantly Maronite party founded by Camille Chamoun in 1958. Ideologically, the NLP is close to Kata'ib. 37. Interview in Beirut, June 22, 2003. 38. The following quotes are from Jihad Bazzi, “Al-Ashrafiyya Tadaafa’ ‘an Page 334 → Nafsihaa Wa ‘ Ain Ar-Rumaana Kadhalika [Ashraffiyeh Defended Itself and So Did Ayn Al-Rumaneh],” as-Safir, September 17, 2003. 39. Davie, “Les Marqueurs De Territoires Ideologiques À Beyrouth (1975–1990)” (1993), 3. 40. Salma Husseini, “La Redistribution Des Communautés Chi´Ite Et Sunni Dans Le Grand-Beyrouth (1975–88),” in Beyrouth—Regards Croisés, ed. Michael F. Davie, Collection Villes Du Monde Arabe (Tours: Université de Tours, 1997), 209–29. 41. Stewart (1958), quoted in Johnson, Class & Client in Beirut: The Sunni Muslim Community and the Lebanese State, 1840–1985, 131.

42. Ajami, Beirut: The City of Regrets, 24. 43. Kassir, Histoire De Beyrouth, 357. 44. Interview in Beirut, July 23, 2003. 45. Interviews in Beirut, July 11, July 23, and July 25, 2003. 46. “The Party of God” was a Shiite party established in 1982 as a splinter group from Amal with a more fundamentalist ideology. During and after the war, it challenged Amal for representation of the Shiite community. 47. The Independent Nasserite Movement was an Arabist, Nasserite movement with a Muslim constituency. 48. Established in 1924, it had a relatively large constituency in the 1970s. Its militia fought as part of the Nationalist Movement in the war. 49. Interview in Beirut, July 25, 2003. 50. Interviews in Beirut, May 10, June 22, June 25, and July 12, 2003. 51. Interview in Beirut, July 25, 2003. 52. The initial founders counted several well-known intellectuals, including Ziad Majid, Elias Khoury and Samir Kassir, as well as prominent Communist leaders George Hawi and Elias Atallah. For a formal ideological program of the new Left, see Mulhaq an-Nahar April 25, 2004: Mashru´ wathiqa siyasiya liharakat alyasar al-dimuqrati (The official political program of the Movement of the Democratic Left). 53. Augustus Richard Norton, “Introduction,” in Civil Society in the Middle East, ed. Augustus Richard Norton (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995), 1–16.

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Contributors ALEV INAR Alev Çinar is Professor of Political Science at Mugla University, Turkey. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the International Center for Advanced Studies, New York University in 1999. She was appointed as a Ford Associate at the Five College Women's Studies Research Center and taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst during 2001. She is the author of Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey: Bodies Places and Time (2005) and coeditor of Locating the City: Urban Imaginaries and the Practices of Modernity (University of Minnesota Press, 2006). SUNE HAUGBOLLE Sune Haugbolle is Assistant Professor in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Department for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. He holds a D. Phil. in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford (2006). His work deals with social memory, media, and politics in the modern Middle East. He is the author of War and Memory in Lebanon (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and has coedited the volume The Politics of Violence, Truth and Reconciliation in the Arab Middle East (Routledge, 2009), as well as a forthcoming volume titled Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East: Rhetoric of the Image (Indiana University Press, 2012). His articles have appeared in a variety of journals including Arab Studies Journal, Contemporary Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and Arab Media and Society, for which he is a contributing editor. He is currently working on a project about ideology and the Arab Left. SABINA KIDWAI Sabina Kidwai is currently working as a faculty member at the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. She has been teaching editing for the last fifteen years and has worked as an editor for a large number of independent documentaries. She has directed and edited a documentary Page 336 → on the issues of identity, Shadows of Freedom, for the Public Service Broadcasting Trust. She is the codirector for the film Diminishing Resources made under the UK Environment Fellowship 2006. She is the coauthor of two publications, Illusion of Power and Crossing the Sacred Line, on the subject of women and political participation. Her recent publication is a study, Images of Muslim Women, for WISCOMP (Women in Security, Conflict Management, and Peace), produced under the “Scholar for Peace” Fellowship. She is a member of a six-woman collective called Mediastorm that has produced three films on gender and social issues. Mediastorm was also the recipient of the Chemali Devi Award and the Award for Communal Harmony. SAMIA MEHREZ Samia Mehrez obtained her BA and MA degrees at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and completed her PhD at UCLA where her dissertation focused on the works of the Egyptian writer Gamal al-Ghitani. She taught at Cornell University from 1984–90 in the Department of Near Eastern Studies before she came to AUC where she currently teaches modern Arabic literature in Arabic and in Translation as well as courses on Translation Studies and Theory in the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations. She is the founding director of the AUC Center for Translation Studies. She has published numerous articles in the fields of modern Arabic literature, postcolonial literature, translation studies, gender studies, and cultural studies. She is the author of Egyptian Writers between History and Fiction: Essays on Naguib Mahfouz, Sonallah Ibrahim and Gamal al-Ghitani (AUC Press, 1994 and 2005) and Egypt's Culture Wars: Politics and Practice (Routledge, 2008 and 2010; AUC Press, 2010). Her edited anthologies A Literary Atlas of Cairo: One Hundred Years in the Life of the City and The Literary Life of Cairo: One Hundred Years in the Heart of the City in which she has translated numerous Egyptian writers are published by AUC Press (2010, 2011); the first volume has also been published in Arabic by Dar Alshorouk, Cairo, and the second volume is forthcoming in fall 2011. She is the editor of Translating Egypt's Revolution: The Language of Tahrir (AUC Press, 2012). AY E ÖNCÜ

Ayşe Öncü is Professor of Sociology and teaches at the Cultural Studies Program at Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. She has previously taught at Bogazici University, University of Michigan, and UCLA. Her current research centers on the relationship between cultural politics and media in Turkey. She has published extensively in various international journals and coedited various volumes, focusing on questions of space, culture, and power in globalizing cities, with special emphasis on Istanbul. She has also been involved in research networks in the Middle East, such as GURI, Meawards, and MERC, and engaged Page 337 → in collaborative research with partners in the region. Her work is situated in the intersection of sociology and cultural theory. She is the author of “Interaction of Markets and Politics: The Remaking of Turkish Media Industry in the 1990s” (2004); “Consumption, Gender and The Mapping of Istanbul in the 1990s” (2002); and “Istanbulites and Others: The Cultural Cosmology of ‘Middleness’ in the Era of Neo-Liberalism” (1999). AMIT S. RAI Amit S. Rai is Senior Lecturer in New Media and Communication at Queen Mary, University of London. Previously he was an associate professor of film, media, and postcolonial studies at Florida State University. He received his PhD in Modern Thought and Literature, from Stanford University in 1995, and has taught at the New School for Social Research and the Tata Institute for Social Sciences (Mumbai). He is the author of Rule of Sympathy: Race, Sentiment, and Power (Palgrave, 2002). He has written on Indian masculinity in film, anthropologies of monstrosity, sympathetic discursive relations, and the swerves of media (clinamedia). His study of new media in India, entitled Untimely Bollywood: Globalization and India's New Media Assemblage, was published by Duke University Press in May of 2009; /93388181017. His blog on the history of media assemblages and the politics of perception can be found at He was recently in India on a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship diagramming the perceptual mutations involved in gender identity and mobile phone networks in urban areas. SRIRUPA ROY Srirupa Roy is Professor and Chair of State Democracy Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Gottingen, Germany. Her research is on nationalism, state building, and the politics of identity in India and Turkey. She is the author of Beyond Belief: Culture, Politics, and Nation-State Formation in India; coeditor of Beyond Exceptionalism: Violence, Modernity, and Democracy in India (with Amrita Basu); and author of articles that have been published in Media, Culture and Society; Comparative Studies in Society and History, Journal of Asian Studies, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Interventions: The International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, and South Asia. GÜVEN ARIF SARGIN Güven Arif Sargin is Associate Professor of Architecture and currently the Head of the Department of Architecture, Middle East Technical University (METU). Specializing in Urban and Environmental History and Theory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he currently teaches architectural design at both undergraduate and graduate levels, including courses on politics and space and critical urban theories. Professor Sargin was the recipient of the Page 338 → METU Prize for Academic Excellence Award (2000 to 2006) and Mustafa Parlar Foundation Academic Excellence Award (2004). In addition to his numerous essays and research papers on architecture, politics, and contemporary urban theories, he is the editor of Nature as Space: (Re)Understanding of Nature and Natural Environments (2000), Sevki Vanli: Dusunceler Tasarimlar (Sevki Vanli: Ideas and Designs) (2001), Ankara'nin Kamusal Yuzleri: Baskent Uzerine Mekan-Politik Tezler (The Public Faces of Ankara: Theses on the Spatio-politics of the Capital City) (2002), and Hybrid Spaces (2004); and the author of Turk Modernlesmesinin Cevresel Tarihi (The Environmental History of Turkish Modernism) (forthcoming in 2012). BUKET TÜRKMEN Buket Türkmen is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Galatasaray University in Istanbul. She has also been a visiting professor in the graduate program in the department of sociology in Bilgi University and a visiting scholar

at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in Harvard University working on her current research project entitled Turkish Young Women's Sexual Identity and the Reconsideration of the Islamic Licit by Islamist Women. She has contributed to comparative research projects on the Public Sphere and Islam in Kulturwissen-schaftlisches in Essen (Germany), Bogazici University, and Bilkent University (Turkey). Her articles on Turkish secularism, public sphere, youth, and Islamic and secularist foundations in Turkey have appeared in various books in French and in Turkish (Diversité culturelle en Turquie et en Europe; La Turquie: les mille visages; Islamin Yeni Kamusal Yuzleri) and journals in French (Les Annales de l'Autre Islam; Cahiers de la Méditerrannée; Migrations et Sociétés). She is the editor of the forthcoming collection New Religiosities in the Period of Fragmented Secular Public Spheres (Harmattan, France). MAHA YAHYA Maha Yahya is regional adviser on social and urban policies and development for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. She has two PhDs, one in Architectural History, Theory, and Criticism from MIT and the other in Urban Planning from the Architectural Association in London. She was the project director and lead author of the National Human Development Report at UNDP entitled Toward a Citizen's State, as well as two additional publications, One Hundred and One Stories to Tell: Civic Initiatives in Public Life and Education and Citizenship. Prior to that she worked as a consultant for international organizations such as the World Bank, and others, on a variety of projects concerning cultural heritage, urban regeneration, and community development in various countries including Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. She is the founder and editor of the MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies (MIT-EJMES), has taught at the American University of Page 339 → Beirut, and was a Rockefeller Postdoctoral Fellow at the International Center for Advanced Studies at New York University and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the American University of Beirut among others. Her current academic research focuses on the relationship between political change, specifically nation building, and architecture/urbanism from colonial and postcolonial perspectives in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. USHA ZACHARIAS Usha Zacharias is Assistant Professor of Communication at Westfield State College, Massachusetts. She works on the biopolitics of media, gender, and citizenship in the context of fundamentalisms and neoliberalism in India. She is coeditor of the Commentary & Criticism section of the journal Feminist Media Studies. Her writings appear in Critical Studies in Media Communication, Social Text, and Cultural Dynamics. GIZEM ZENCIRCI Gizem Zencirci is a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts. Currently she is working on a book manuscript titled Neoliberal Social Governance: Cultures of Giving. She is particularly interested in studying the intersections of public culture and political economy. Her research interests include nationalism, democratization, civil society, NGOs, philanthropy, charity as well as issues of citizenship, gender, and governance. KARIN ZITZEWITZ Karin Zitzewitz is Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at Michigan State University. A specialist in modern and contemporary South Asian art, her essays have appeared in Third Text and Visual Anthropology Review and, most recently, in Barefoot Across the Nation: M. F. Husain and the Idea of India, which was edited by Sumathi Ramaswamy and published by Routledge UK and Yoda Press (India). She is at work on a book manuscript entitled The Art of Secularism: The Cultural Politics of Modern Art in Contemporary India.

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Index Abd El-Sayyed, Dawud, 149 Abu-Lughod, Lila, 150 Adivar, Halide Edip, 53, 276n5 Advani, L. K., 137n13 Afarit al-asfalt, 153 Afghani, Jamal-al-din al-, 183 Aftimous, Yusuf, 246 Agamben, Giorgio, 71, 72, 89–91, 135 Agnes, Flavia, 212–13 Ahluwalia, Amrita, 209–10 Ahmed, Leila, 33, 34 Ahram Weekly, Al-, 151 Ajami, Fouad, 312–13, 324–25 AK Party (Justice and Development Party), 4, 35, 39, 44n9, 65, 95, 104, 199, 276n7 Akit, 271 Alavi, Seema, 220 Alevi minorities, 195 al-Qaeda, 128 Altinay, Ayse-Gul, 100–101 Altounian, Achot, 248–49 Altounian, Madiros, 247, 256n65 Amal, 312, 315, 324, 327–29, 331, 334n46 Ambedkar, B. R., 75 Ameena, 209–11 Anderson, Benedict, 229 Ankara, 19, 37, 99, 100, 105, 181, 259–75, 278n19 Aoun, Michel, 318, 320

Appasamy, Jaya, 307n55 Arafat, Yasser, 316 architecture, 2, 7, 17, 20, 142, 228, 230, 232, 234–35, 238–41, 246, 248, 252, 254n31, 259, 267, 270 Arendt, Hannah, 229 Arslan, Gonul, 40 Asad, Talal, 3–4, 29, 87–88, 229 Asfdur, Gabir, 158 Association for Atatürkist Thought, 94 Association of Anatolian Youth, 67n32 Aswany, Alaa al-, 148 Atallah, Elias, 334n52 Atatürk, Mustafa Kemal, 10, 31–32, 33–34, 38, 52, 179, 276n5, 277n13 Awan al-ward, 150 Ayodhya temple. See Babri Masjid Ayse Ozgun Show, 185–92, 203n22 Azmeh, Aziz Al-, 177–78 Azmi, Shabhana, 141n40 Babri Masjid, 18, 78, 117, 137n12, 138n27, 204, 206, 211, 215, 222n3, 223n11, 284 Bachchan, Jaya, 124 Bagheri, Muhammed Riza, 269 Bahibb issima, 144–45, 152–68, 173n49 Bajpayee, Manoj, 124 Bajrang Dal, 115 Balmiki Jayanti procession, 11, 73, 76, 83–87, 90 Balmikis, 11–13, 70–91 Barakat, Henri, 148, 149 Barsum Affandi yabhath an wadhifa, 148 Bayumi, Muhammad, 148 Page 342 →

Beirut, 19, 20, 227, 231, 242–51, 308–31 Bekir, Latife, 33 Bendre, Sonali, 141n42 “Bengali humanism,” 287 Berlant, Lauren, 27, 230 Berri, Nabih, 327–28 Beshara, Khairy, 149 Bhagat, H. K. L., 82 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 83, 115, 129, 284–85 Bhargava, Rajeev, 2 Bhatty, Zarina, 220 bin Laden, Osama, 128, 220, 322 Bir, Cevik, 261 Bletchtrommel, Die, 172n27 Bollywood, 120, 123, 133, 151 Boon, David, 81 Bourdieu, Pierre, 59 Braveheart, 28 Brix, Joseph, 276n3 Brooks, Peter, 140n38 Carpignano, Paolo, 7 caste system, 12, 70–71, 74, 82, 86 Celik, Huseyin, 107 Chahine, Youssef, 149, 163 Chakrabarty, Dipesh, 252 Chamoun, Dany, 319 Chandhoke, Neera, 121, 137n13 Chandigarh, 79, 227, 231, 232–41, 251 Chatterjee, Partha, 77, 85, 301

Chiha, Michel, 242 Chikhlia, Dipika, 81 Chopra, Vidhu Vinod, 118, 120 Cihad. See jihad Çinar, Alev, 10, 21n15, 49, 114 cinema. See film colonialism, 9, 18, 33, 72, 77, 229, 234, 242–43 Commission on International Religious Freedom, 147 communalism, 215, 221, 241, 243, 244, 251, 256n60, 257nn71–72 comparative methodology, 8–9 Congrès Internationale d'Architecture Moderne, 235, 254n34 Congress Party, 204, 285 Cooke, Miriam, 140n36 Coptic community, 16, 144–68, 168n4, 169–71nn6–16, 172n22 counter publics, 10, 50–51, 55–65, 97; defined, 50 darshan, 289–90, 300, 306n38 Darwish, Mustafa, 159 Davie, Michael, 312, 316 Deewar, 135n2 Delanda, 136n4 Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guatarri, 136n4, 136n9 democracy/democratization, 6, 7, 144, 165, 199, 200n7, 220, 228, 238, 239, 248, 261 Democrat Party (Turkey), 266, 278n23 Democratic Left Movement, 330, 334n52 Derrida, Jacques, 57 Dev, 135n2 Devi Mahatmya, 286 Dharmendra, 117 Dib, Hikmat, 320

Dincer, Alaaddin, 107 Directorate of Religious Affairs, 8, 37, 174, 176, 178, 180, 190, 194–99, 201n10 “disturbing visibility,” 59, 60 Donohue, 185, 203n21 Doordarshan, 81, 213 Drew, Jane, 235, 236 Dukhtaran-e-Millat, 218 Durrafourd, Christian, 247 Dutt, Sanjay, 125 educational practices: in Lebanon, 244, 255n56; in Turkey, 179, 200–201nn9–10 Ellis, John, 182 Engineer, Asghar Ali, 220 Enlightenment, the, 2, 228, 258, 276n2 Eraslan, Sibel, 41, 42 Erbakan, Necmettin, 37–38, 39, 67n33, 176–77, 184, 200n5, 274 Page 343 → Erdogan, Emine, 35, 39 Erdogan, Recep Tayyip, 35, 39, 41, 44n9, 276n7 Erener, Sertap, 105 Ersoy, Muazzez, 105 “étatization,” 18 Eyewitness, 206, 213–14 Fakhreddine palace, 248–49, 257n67 Fall of the Imam, The, 158, 172n32 Farid, Samir, 159 Fatima wa Marika wa Rachel, 148 Fawzi, Hani, 144, 151–53, 165 Fawzi, Usama, 144, 153, 159, 162, 165 Fazilet Party, 39, 40, 44n9, 276n7

film (movies): in Egypt, 15–16, 148–68; in India, 15, 17, 113–35, 289–90, 299; representation of Copts in, 148–49, 151–68; representations of Jews in, 148–49, 171n16; representation of Muslims in, 115, 117, 119, 122–25, 127–34, 135n2, 148–49; representations of Nubians in, 171n16; “terrorist monstrosity” genre, 15, 115, 118–20, 122, 127–30, 134 Film hindi, 151–52 Fiza, 120, 123, 124–25, 129–30, 133, 140n37, 141n41 Foucault, Michel, 52, 57, 64, 136n9, 139n33 Foundation of Ensar, 47, 55–58 Foundation of National Youth (FNY), 47, 55–61, 67n32 Fraser, Nancy, 50, 65, 97 Gadar, 116 Galal, Nadir, 149 Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand, 77, 85 Gandhi, Rajiv, 72 Gannat al-shayatin, 153 Gazalî, Imam,56 Gazayirli, Fu'ad al-, 149 Gellner, Ernest, 53 Gemayel, Bashir, 315, 319, 320, 321–22, 333n24, 333n29 gender identity, 25, 31, 42, 63, 87, 100, 130 Ghosh, Amitav, 216 globalization, 115, 121, 135n4, 181 Gole, Nilufer, 47, 97 Gorkha National Liberation Front, 81 Gouraud, Henri, 243 Govil, Arun, 81 graffiti, 20, 308, 315–17, 318–19, 325, 329 Gramsci, Antonio, 276n10 Gul, Abdullah, 94 Gul, Hayrünissa, 94 Gulen, Fethullah, 57

Gyarsilal Varma, 304n5 Habermas, Jurgen, 5–6, 26–28, 34, 43, 50, 64, 228–29, 231, 275 Habib, Jasmin, 316 Hamas, 269, 279n28 Hameed, Saeeda, 220 Hamid, Marwan, 148 Hamid, Wahid, 150 Hansen, Thomas Blom, 72–73, 241 Haram, Al-, 148 Hasan wa Murqus wa Kuhin, 149, 171n18 Hariri, Rafiq al-, 309 Hat Law, 31–32 Haugbolle, Sune, 19, 20 Haussman, Baron, 240 Hawi, George, 334n52 Haydar, Hydrar, 173n39 Haykal, Muhammad Hassanayn, 170n12 Hazratbal mosque, 126, 139n30 head coverings/headscarves, 10, 11, 25, 31, 35–40, 43n1, 49, 54, 56, 59, 60, 94, 199. See also veiling Higher Education Council, 38 Himida, Mahmud, 153 Hindu (newspaper), 206, 210, 211 Hindu mythology, 12, 18, 71, 74–77, 281–82, 286–88, 301, 303, 304n4 Hindustan Times, 206, 207, 209–10, 211, 213, 219 Page 344 → Hindutva movement, 4, 12–13, 72–73, 77–78, 83, 86, 88, 121, 132, 137n13 Hizbollah, 5, 182, 269, 279n28, 325, 327–28, 334n46 Hobeiqa, Elie, 318 Hobsbawm, Eric, 227, 310

Hourani, Albert, 242, 332n21 hurafe, 192–93; defined, 203n24 Husain, M. F., 304n4 Hyderabad child marriage, 207, 209 Ibrahim, Saad Eddin, 147 Idris, Ali, 159 Idris, Yusuf, 148 Ilwi, Layla, 154, 160 “imagistic regimes,” 117, 136n8 Imam-Hatib, 55, 67n34 Imarat Ya'qubian, 148 Independent Nasserite Movement, 325, 334n47 India Today, 206, 216, 217 Indian art, 282–84, 290–92, 294, 304n4, 306n40, 307n53, 307n55 Indian National Congress, 72, 75, 78, 80, 82, 83, 88 Irani, Ramzi, 319 Irhabi, Al-, 149 Isiga Cagi, 184 Islam: Kemalist (see Kemalism/neo-Kemalism); “public,” 97, 192–93, 202n19; “reactionary,” 200n5; “secular,” 4, 11, 16, 174, 176–78, 195, 197–98; Sunni, 193, 195 Islamic Brotherhood, 5 Islamic Research Academy, 158, 163, 172nn31–32 Islamic terrorism, 206, 220 Istanbul, 41, 59, 99, 187, 261, 274 Jacquemond, Richard, 144 Jager, Colin, 175 Jaitley, Arun, 129 Jaja, Samir, 318, 320, 333n24 Jama Masjid, 214 Jansen, Hermann, 276n3

Jauesseley, Leon, 276n3 Jay, Martin, 230 Jeanneret, Pierre, 235 jihad, 119, 124–25, 130–31, 176–77, 206, 218 Joseph, Ammu, 208 Jumblatt, Kamal, 315, 332n23 Jumblatt, Walid, 316, 332n23 Kalhana, 139n31 Kaplan, E. Ann, 122–23 Kaplan, Sam, 200n9 Kapoor, Karishma, 124 Kapur, Geeta, 122, 140n38, 289–91, 292, 307n53 Kara, İsmail, 42, 46n55 Karaosmanoglu, Yakup Kadri, 53 Kashmir, 120, 132, 139nn30–31, 207, 218–20 Kassir, Samir, 325, 334n52 Kata'ib, 312, 316, 318, 320, 322, 323, 331 Kemalism/neo-Kemalism, 10–11, 13, 34, 48, 49, 51, 52–54, 58, 59–60, 65, 179, 194, 200n7, 263, 265–67, 269, 277n13 Keskin-Kozat, Burcak, 29 Khalid, Hassan, 324 Khalti Safiya wa l-dayr, 149, 171n16, 171n18 Khomeini, Ruhollah, 222n2 Khosrokhavar, Farhad, 47 Khoury, Elias, 334n52 Khursheed, Salman, 129 Kidwai, Sabina, 14, 16–17, 113, 251 Kilroy, 185 Koran, 58, 68n47, 94–95, 125, 158, 173n32, 179, 183, 188–93, 201n10, 215, 279n30, 328 Kovacs, Fadia, 315

Kudus Night, 18, 269, 272 Kumar, Manoj, 137n11 Kuran ve Insan, 184 Kurds, 182, 201n14, 267 Kuris, Konca, 29 Kutub, Seyyid, 56 Lacan, Jacques, 57 Lahoud, Emile, 330 Page 345 → Lakshya, 135n2 Land Ceiling Act, 212 Landes, Joan, 26 Laskhar-e-Jabbar, 218–20 Le Corbusier, 235–41, 242, 254n36 Lebanese Forces (LF), 315, 318–22, 333n24 Lefort, Claude, 239 L'Enfant, Pierre, 240 Leurdijk, Andrea, 202n20 Lily Talkies, 115–16 LOC Charlie, 135n2 Lutyns, Edwin, 236–37, 240 MacLeod, Arlene, 43n1 Mahabharata, 71 mahishasuramardini, 282, 286–90, 293, 299, 301, 304n5, 306n33 mahrem, 63, 68n47 Main Hoon Na, 135n2 Majid, Ziad, 334n52 Mankekar, Purnima, 73 Mardin, Serif, 45n42

Maronite community, 243, 311, 313, 315, 317–18, 323, 325 Matthan, John Mathew, 120 Mayer, Albert, 235, 236, 241 Mazzarella, William, 181 media piracy, 117, 136n7 Media Production City, 151–52 Meeting Forum of Young People, 106 Mehrez, Samia, 14, 15–16 Mehta, Tyeb, 301–3, 304n4 Mevlana Jalal al-din Rumi, 183 Ministry of Culture (Egypt), 143, 164 Ministry of Information and Broad casting, 204 Mission Impossible, 105 Mission Kashmir, 118–20, 123, 125–27, 129–30, 132, 133, 134, 141n39 Mitchell, W. J. T., 230 modernity, 2, 9, 25, 30–31, 36, 47, 54, 61, 63, 65, 96, 140n38, 175, 193, 228, 230, 234, 235, 243, 246, 248, 250, 259–60, 265–66, 276n2, 277n16, 293 modernization. See Westernization Mohajir Qaumi Movement, 140n36 Mohamed, Khalid, 120 Mohammed, 94, 139n30, 179, 222n2, 270, 279n30 Morse, Margaret, 201n17 Mother India, 122, 141n40 movies. See film; and individual titles Mubarak, Hosni, 143–44, 147 Muhajir, Al-, 163 Muhammed Ali, 142 “multivalence” in art, 283, 288, 292–93 Mumbai riots, 123–25, 138n27 Murabitun, 315, 325, 333n25 MUSIAD, 177

Muslim Personal Law, 206, 208, 210, 211, 212, 213, 217, 222n1 “Muslim sister,” 62, 68n46 Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 222n1 Muslim women in India, 205–21 Nadi, Yunus, 276n5 Nandy, Ashish, 288–89, 307n59 Naqvi, Saeed, 220 Nasrallah, Yousry, 149 Nasreen, Taslima, 214–17, 223n11 Nasser, Gamal Abdel, 143, 155–56, 170n12 nationalism, 2, 227, 229; Arab, 177, 330; Egyptian, 145, 146–47; Hindu, 1, 4, 5, 12, 13, 18, 19, 77, 85, 120, 121, 135, 137n13, 281, 283, 284, 285, 287, 300, 301, 303, 307n59; Kurdish, 182; Lebanese, 246, 249, 255n52, 308, 309–10, 316, 323–24, 327, 329, 331; religious, 6, 9, 12; secular, 18, 76; Turkish, 31, 37, 97, 99, 101, 174, 175, 178, 184, 193, 195, 197, 265, 277n13 National Liberal Party, 318, 333n36 National Movement, 315 National Security Council (Turkey), 13, 25, 35, 38, 102, 200n5 National Vision movement, 55 Nehru, Jawaharlal, 204, 232–34, 239, 240, 242, 254n27 Nesevî, Omer,56 Page 346 → Newstrack, 206, 213–14 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 183 9/11 attacks, 15, 128, 134, 218, 220 Nisa, Khatoon, 212–13 Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, 172n27 occidentalism. See Westernization Öncü, Ayse, 11, 14, 16, 113, 114 Oprah Winfrey Show, 185, 203n21 orientalism, 32, 213 Ottomanism, 30–31, 33, 49, 248, 259, 265, 267

Ozbudun, Ergun, 104 Ozgun, Ayse, 185–92, 203nn21–23 Ozturk, Yasar Nuri, 16, 174, 176, 177, 182–99, 202nn17–18 Ozyurek, Esra, 103 Padamsee, Akbar, 304n4 Palestine occupation, 269 partition of India, 123, 204, 231, 233; of the Punjab, 233 Pasha, Jamal, 244 Patel, Sujata, 77 Place d'Etoile, 246–48, 249–50 Popular Socialist Party, 315, 325 posters, 20, 279n28, 281, 308, 312, 315–16, 318, 320, 321, 324, 327, 333n27 Pradhan, Sukha, 82 Puar, Jasbir, 128 public celebrations/holidays: in India, 287; in Lebanon, 321–22, 324; in Turkey, 93–108, 266, 269–70 public sphere: defined, 5–7, 21n15, 26–28, 228–31, 259, 285; in Egypt, 144–68, 170n10; in India, 72, 114, 204–5, 227–28, 230, 285, 300; in Lebanon, 227–28, 230, 309–10; in Turkey, 25–43, 47–65, 93–108, 185, 194, 197–99, 258–76; women and, 25–26, 29, 31–36, 39–43, 205–21 PUMER, 41 Qubbat Al-Sakhra, 269–73, 279nn30–32 Radi, Munir, 151 Rafla, Hilmi, 148 Raghuvanshi, Manoj, 214 Rahmatullah, 212 Rai, Amit S., 14, 15, 251 Rajadhyaksha, Ashish, 289 Rajagopal, Arvind, 73, 121, 284–85 Rajah Harishchandra, 121 Ram (Hindu god-king), 18, 19–20, 138n27, 222n3, 281–82, 284 Ramadan, 18, 63, 150, 184, 267, 269

Ramanujan, A. K., 232 Ramaswamy, Sumathi, 230 Ramayana, 11–12, 71–91, 285; Srimad Valmiki Ramayana, 75; Tulsi Ramayana, 75; Uttara Ramayana, 11–12, 72, 73, 75–76, 79, 84–85, 89–90 Ramjanambhoomi temple, 209, 222n3 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), 115 Reality Bites, 220 Refah Party, 13, 18, 28, 30, 35, 37–42, 44n9, 102, 104, 199, 261, 268, 274, 276n7 Republic Rallies, 94, 95, 101 Republican People's Party, 199, 266 Rihani, Naguib al-, 149 Rogoff, Irit, 86 Roshan, Hrithik, 124, 126 Roy, Olivier, 47, 54–55 Roy, Srirupa, 18, 96, 98, 232 Rushdie, Salman, 204, 209, 215–17, 222n2 Saadawi, Nawal-El, 158, 172n32 Sadat, Anwar, 143–44 Sadr, Musa as-, 324, 327–28 Safir, as-, 322 Sagar, Ramanand, 81 Sahin, Fadime, 182 SAHMAT, 304n6 Saktanber, Ayse, 41 Sarfarosh, 120, 123, 127, 129–30, 131–32, 133–34, 139n36, 140n37, 141n42 Page 347 → Sargin, Güven Arif, 18, 19, 20 Sarkar, Tanika, 77 Sassen, Saskia, 124, 138n28 Sayf, Samir, 150

secularism: defined, 3, 4, 5, 15, 44n16, 48, 175, 178, 251, 258, 284, 285, 288; “didactic secularism,” 53; “hegemonic secular culture,” 72; “pseudosecularism,” 114; vs. religion, 3–5, 14, 174–75, 196, 199, 204, 250, 258, 264, 273–74; “secular public,” 14 Segeih, Yahya, 209–10 Shafik, Viola, 149, 171n16 Shah Bano, 204, 207–9, 211, 221, 222n1 shaheed, defined, 138n29 Shankaracharya temple, 126, 139n31 Shariat, 208, 215, 266 Sharma, Kalpana, 208 Shenouda III, 169n7, 170n12, 171n14 Shiv Shena, 129 Sholay, 117 Shrivara, 139n31 Shroff, Jackie, 118 Sincan, 18, 19, 260–64, 268–75 Sinha, Gayatri, 299 Sisman, Nazife, and Ayse Bohurler, 42, 46n55 Siva Kumar, R., 293, 294, 298–99, 306n33 “spatial politics,” 258, 260, 267, 275 Spivak, Gaytri, 287, 288 “street censorship,” 144, 168n1 street performances, 20, 100 Subramanyan, K. G., 18, 281–83, 285–304, 307nn53–54 Sufism, 37 “supersubjects,” 183, 201n17 Suroor, Hasan, 216 Tafuri, Manfredo, 249 Tagore, Rabindranath, 282 Tagore, Sharmila, 214

Taher, Bahaa, 149 talaq, 207, 208, 211–14, 217, 220 Taliban, 128, 129, 218, 219, 220 Tango Charlie, 135n2 Tantawi, Sayid, 147, 171n14 Tanzimat, 265, 277n18 television: in Egypt, 149–50; in India, 73, 79–81, 83, 117, 204–5, 284–85; in Turkey, 16, 174, 176–77, 182–99, 200n5, 201n15, 202n20 Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 124 Thabit, Madkur, 159 Thackeray, Balasaheb, 129 Tilhari, Hari Nath, 212 Times of India, 206, 207, 209–10, 211, 213, 217, 219 Tsing, Anna, 181 Turkish Women's Federation, 33, 34 Türkmen, Buket, 10–11, 13 Ulus, 100 urban planning, 230–32, 234, 241, 244, 252 Usman, Yusuf, 153, 160 Veer-Zara, 135n2 veiling, 32, 33–34, 37, 40, 41, 42–43, 48, 58, 61, 63, 64, 87, 96, 113, 184, 207, 214, 218–20 Victory Monument, 100 Virilio, Paul, 277n14 Von Moos, Stanislaus, 237 Wafd Party, 146 Warner, Michael, 7, 194 Weber, Max, 202n17 Welfare Party, 176–77, 184, 195, 200n5 Westernization, 11, 19, 30–32, 47, 51–53, 63, 64, 96, 113, 132, 142–43, 243–44, 248, 259, 265, 266 Women's Commission, 41

women's issues. See gender identity; Muslim women in India; public sphere World of Belief, 183 Yahvuz, Hakan, 200n7 Yahya, Maha, 17–18, 19, 20, 309–10 Page 348 → Yildiz, Bekir, 268–69, 274 Zaccour, Michel, 242, 256n56 Zacharias, Usha, 11–12, 251 Zaman, 272 Zee News, 220 Zencirci, Gizem, 13 Zinta, Preity, 126, 141n39 Zitzewitz, Karin, 18, 19–20 Zizek, Slavoj, 70, 88–89