20 August, 2012

Crisis of State and Nation: South Asian States Between National Building and Fragmentation

Crisis of State and Nation: South Asian States Between National Building and Fragmentation

By- John P. Neelsen and Dipak Malik (eds)

The widespread notion and pursuit of a post-independence development strategy in South Asia centred around the state, and essentially following the model of the industrialized
countries, has obviously come to end. Similarly, the belief that economic growth together with a socially biased interventionist government would cement national cohesion, contribute to nation-building and, by the same token, strengthen democratic institutions, has been belied. Social inequality has everywhere been aggravated, as  has social conflict. While a general process of political mobilization has set in, not least traditionally rather marginalized groups have become empowered. At the same time, the signs of crises multiply as exemplified in the Maoist movement in Nepal, the civil war in Sri Lanka, the struggle for self-determination in Northeastern India, or the corruption, violence and alienation in government and politics. While they manifest themselves first of all in the political sphere concerning the representativity and functioning of democracy, and not least the roll of political parties, they may go deeper indicating a systemic crisis touching upon the foundations of the socio-political order itself, as most evident in the case of Pakistan. Far from offering solutions, neoliberalism and Western-style democracy appear to be rather part of the problem. As a result, concepts of a modified Nehruvian state or Gandhian visions have gained hew currency.

With crisis of nation and state as principal common focus, the present volume unites thematic regional overviews with case studies on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Nepal. The thirteen contributions by specialists on South Asia from Europe, and Australia, Japan and the region itself approach the common topic from the specific angle of their discipline, namely political science, sociology, ethnology, history and economics. This pluridisci-plinarity combined with case studies opens up new insights as well as new perspectives for further research.

John P. Neelsen, Professor of Sociology, Tübingen University, Germany. His major publications deal with South Asia, esp. India and Sri Lanka, class formation, and political economy, international relations and Human Rights.

He serves on the scientific board of the World Centre for Peace, Freedom and Human Rights, Verdun, France, of the RosaLuxemburg Foundation, Berlin, Germany, of ATTAC/Germany, and of the International Research Foundation for Development, Mass., USA, which he regularly represents at the UN, Geneva.

Dipak Malik, Professor, Department of Commerce, Banaras Hindu University, and Director, Gandhian Institute of Studies, Varanasi.

ISBN  81-7304-731-6    2007   432p.   Rs.995/ pounds 50

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