Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Old Old War

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/old-old-war/2/

It is easy to understand RK Vij’s article  (December 6) as a defensive attempt to keep high the morale of the CRPF. After all, while Maoist cadre are surrendering in larger numbers, there are also high attrition rates among the CRPF. In 2013 India Today reported that 13,658 CRPF personnel left their jobs between 2009 and 2012 tired of their jungle postings, the malaria and the working conditions among other things. While this may not be a large percentage of the force as a whole, and there are plenty more waiting to be recruited in these jobless times, it does indicate a weariness with this endless pointless war. Spectacles of the corpses of jawans being loaded onto garbage trucks or blood spattered boots and uniforms lying in rubbish dumps can hardly induce much enthusiasm. If anyone is violating the ‘human rights’ of the jawans, it is the government.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The language of Hindutva


HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s commitment to the Constitution is absolutely commendable. We are supposed to understand that the decision to stop the teaching of German in Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) schools has nothing to do with the influence exercised by the Sanskrit Shikshak Sangh to replace the third optional language taught to children in school with Sanskrit and everything to do with the Constitution.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Civil Wars in South Asia

Civil Wars in South Asia: State, Sovereignty, Development

edited by Aparna Sundar and Nandini Sundar

Sage 2014.


South Asia has become the site of major civil or internal wars, with both domestic and global consequences. The conflict in Kashmir, for example, continues to make headlines, while those in the Northeast and central India simmer, though relatively unnoticed. There appears to be no clear resolution to the civil war and occupation in Afghanistan, even as Nepal and Sri
Lanka work out their very different post-war settlements. In Bangladesh, the war of 1971 remains a political fault line, as the events around the War Crimes Tribunal show.

This volume demonstrates the importance of South Asia as a region to deepening the study of civil wars and armed conflicts and, simultaneously, illustrates how civil wars open up questions of sovereignty, citizenship and state contours. By engaging these broader theoretical debates, in a field largely dominated by security studies and comparative politics, it contributes to the study of civil wars, political sociology, anthropology and political theory.

This volume is one of the few books that is genuinely and equally representative of scholarship across South Asia, contributing not just to the study of civil wars, but also to the study of South Asia as a region.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgements
Introduction: Sovereignty, Development and Civil War Aparna Sundar and Nandini Sundar
Contextualizing Civil Wars in South Asia Nandini Sundar
Sri Lanka: Military Fiscalism and the Politics of Market Reform at a Time of
Civil War
Rajesh Venugopal
The Transnational Political Economy of Civil War in Afghanistan Alessandro Monsutti
Aid and Violence: Development, Insurgency and and Social Transformation
in Nepal
Antonio Donini and Jeevan Raj Sharma
Civil War or Genocide? Britain and the Secession of East Pakistan in1971 A Dirk Moses
The Rise of Jihadi Militancy in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas Haris Gazdar, Yasser Kureshi and Asad
Sayeed
Routine Emergencies: India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act Sanjib Baruah
Local Agitations in a Globalized Context: A Case Study of Shopian and
Bomai Gowhar Fazili
Articulating Grievance in Southeast Myanmar Stephen Campbell
Index

Saturday, September 6, 2014

No surprises here: Modi's Naxalite policy

One area in which the Modi government’s first 100 days has brought absolutely no surprises is the policy on Naxalites. Everything is as predicted, from increased militarization to the vitiation of environmental protections.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Felling the Straw Man

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/felling-the-straw-man/

Having grown up on stories of Bunker Roy’s admirable work in Tilonia, I was distressed to read his article, “The Barefoot Government”. If this inconsistent, empirically flawed argument is any example of the kind of thinking he wants our educational system to encourage, there is something ‘dreadfully wrong’ with his proposed reforms.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mimetic Sovereignties, precarious citizenship: state effects in a looking glass world




Just published in the Journal of Peasant Studies


This article explores the way in which the Indian state and the incipient Maoist state in central India mimic while repudiating each other.  As against theories of sovereignty which see it either as authored from below (contract theory) or scripted from above (domination), or irrelevant to the extent that subject and state are co-constituted by regimes of power (cf. Foucault), I argue that in civil war, the display and practical exercise of statehood and sovereignty is critical. However, this is primarily aimed not at putative citizens but at the enemy. I look at the way in which the Indian state impersonates guerilla tactics in order to fight the Maoists, and the way in which the Maoists mimic state practices of governmentality. Each side identifies its own ‘citizens’ through uniforms, lists of people killed, and inscribes its ‘territory’ with memorials to its martyrs.  For the presumed citizens of these mimetic states, however, it is precisely these markers of identity and legibility which make them more vulnerable. Membership of parallel regimes holds out both promise and precarity.