There’s something disturbingly comforting in the way we write about violence. In stories of the cow vigilantes, the girl who got stabbed twenty seven times on a street in Delhi with people passing by; stories that make me insanely angry of course. But they do so from a comfortable distance that produces the opposite effect. They seem to describe a horror that lies at the edge of my world but which never implicates me. My only response is to feel terrible about it, but not look at what I might need to do in my own space; in order for this to not recur. The journey I have had with the book I am now writing disrupts all of that. It forces me to engage with the violence ‘out there’ as something I helped create. Not by design, but by being at a safe distance from what causes it. By failing to look at it up close and engaging with the people that make it happen.

The Anatomy Of Hate‘ is a book about understanding mass violence where it is at its worst. Violence that caused a genocide against Muslims in the year 2002 in Gujarat. Violence that didn’t come about because some people are inherently made that way. But who turned to it because of the collective failure of all of us to engage with them, to include them and to find a way to help them find their way when they were unsure of who they were and hated the circumstances they were born in. My book is an attempt to take a long, hard look at violence from their point of view, from the perspective of those who create it. And in so doing, force us not just to see how violence of the most bestial kind can be socially reinforced and spread, but in a deeply personal way, make us all feel what it is really like to be one of them. The crushing and disturbing reality of being part of a genocidal mob.

About The Museum Resident

Revati Laul is an independent journalist and film maker, who worked on her book ‘The Anatomy of Hate‘ as a Museum Resident in the Conflictorium from February to May, 2017. Much of her reportage over the last twenty years has been on violence, conflict and what this tells us about ourselves. While here, she also hosted a talk for the public titled ‘Looking At Mass Violence From The Inside Out: Why This Is an Important Conversation To Have‘ as well as a three part series called ‘Readings and Reflections on Genocide‘.