My Son’s Inheritance: A Secret History of Lynching and Blood Justice in India


Aparna Vaidik

Paperback 9788194233787


My Son’s Inheritance is a groundbreaking exploration of the phenomenon of lynching and the larger culture of violence that invests the social and political fabric of India.


My Son’s Inheritance: A Secret History of Lynching and Blood Justice in India is a provocative and disturbing examination of the history of lynching in the country. Aparna Vaidik’s investigation traverses several centuries and offers powerful insights into the phenomenon. She demonstrates how violence is secretly embedded in India’s myths, folklore, poetry, literature, and language, and is therefore invisible.


She delves deep into family history to further illuminate how widespread violence is in Indian society. Framing her narrative as a message to her son, she acquaints him with his ancestors—those who abet and carry out lynching as well as those who are lynched. In this way, her son embodies both the violator and the violated, much like the country in which he will come of age.


She lays bare the heritage of violence bequeathed from generation to generation and disabuses the reader of the myth that nonviolence and tolerance are the essence of Indian culture. She argues that the perpetrators of violence are not just the state, the rulers, the police or the army but all who, through their silence and indifference, foster and perpetuate violence in India.


The author


Aparna Vaidik is Associate Professor of History at Ashoka University. She has previously taught at Georgetown University, Washington DC, and Delhi University. She studied at St. Stephen’s College and the University of Cambridge and received a PhD from the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU. Her research monograph, Imperial Andaman: Colonial Encounter and Island History, was published by Palgrave Macmillan, Cambridge Imperial and Postcolonial Studies Series in 2010; her forthcoming book is Waiting for Swaraj: Inner Lives of Indian Revolutionaries.




‘Searing, thoughtful, deeply personal, and profoundly moving, My Son’s Inheritance tells a
story all Indians must hear and exposes a truth no Indian wishes to face.’ – Shashi Tharoor

‘Exploratory, powerful, persuasive, and highly readable.’ – Neeladri Bhattacharya

‘Provides a new perspective on the history of violence and the silence that shrouds blood
justice.’ – Gogu Shyamala

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Aparna Vaidik

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